Power on this campus comes from publicity.
Just take a look at what used to be a sleepy little group called the Progressive Student Labor Movement (PSLM). Until that group put its publicity effort in overdrive—covering the campus in posters and getting itself covered in the pages of this newspaper—PSLM was just another small political group on campus, fighting for respect.
Maybe the Undergraduate Council should take a lesson.
For all its attempts to do good things for the Harvard student body, the Undergraduate Council sabotages itself by failing to conduct good publicity. People know the council for its role in things like election scandals and a debate on grapes in the dining halls—and not for very much else.
Put simply, the Undergraduate Council has a major PR problem. Although this is something that I have asserted from the time since I was an elected representative on the council, this weekend’s council-sponsored Springfest offers a good illustration.
While it might have been hard for students who live on the River to ignore the sounds of music and games on the Mac Quad, for many students who live in the Radcliffe Quad, the fact that Springfest was even happening came as a surprise. No one who I came in contact with throughout the day on Saturday mentioned the event—not a scientific measure by any standard, but telling nevertheless.
For an event that constitutes one of the council’s most expensive and visible activities each year, Springfest received a shameful amount of advance publicity. There were no posters advertising the event in any of the main areas of Cabot House, nor can I recall seeing a single Springfest poster anywhere else on campus.
To be sure, perhaps I simply overlooked the publicity. But as a former council member, and one-time secretary of the Campus Life Committee, which plans Springfest, I tend to keep my eyes open for council-related events.