Tired Of The Square? Try Central, Brighton, Downtown...
The editorial “Unhappy Harvard” (Apr. 5) points to the social dissatisfaction facing Harvard undergraduates. Even some of the faculty, remembering our own long-ago college experiences, are surprised by the poverty of partying on this campus. Yet it is unfair to claim that “Cambridge lacks a social scene for students below or just above the legal drinking age—namely undergrads,” and it is downright peculiar not to mention Boston as a possible destination for socializing and fun.
It is true that Harvard Square is now completely gentrified and bland, but Central Square has many venues that MIT and other area students frequent, as do Davis and Union squares in Somerville. Brighton, the area adjacent Boston College, is home to various basement clubs that host cutting-edge bands and other performances. MIT students organize raves and other parties at warehouses in the Fenway. Jamaica Plain has many cafes and bars that cater to the young. Undergraduates at many other area schools seem to have no trouble finding opportunities to act their age and pursue happiness.
Creating a student pub on campus is probably a good idea, and other intramural fixes are possible. But there again Harvard students would mingle mostly with each other, as in the creepy Final Clubs, and the possibilities for non-elitist, non-competitive fun will probably leave much to be desired. Maybe Harvard students are unhappy because they spend too much time at home, that is, at Harvard? Go out into the world, or at least to Boston, and your college experience will be richer, although you might not remember as much of it the next day.
April 6, 2005
The writer is an assistant professor in the Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations department.