Tim R. Hwang ’08, despite boasting a one-two punch of Harvard’s most popular concentrations—government, with a secondary field in economics—is a campus figure without parallel. Every Harvard class has its ultra-popular John F. Kennedy ’40 and its budding mogul Steven A. Ballmer ’77, but a man who tapes a giant poster of an eye in his Canaday common room window and threatens passersby via bullhorn with pseudo-totalitarian sayings is in a league of his own.
“Two of the very first things he did were tell me that he had an army of cut-out penguins, and send me a copy of his newly-created manifesto,” said Hwang’s freshman roommate, Michael E. Birnbaum ’08. “I spent the rest of my summer before freshman year terrified.” Hwang and Birnbaum are still roommates in Eliot House, where Hwang keeps Harvard on its toes in more ways than one—most recently, in last year’s bid for presidency of the UC with a “Kill the UC” platform.
Hwang and his running mate, Alexander S. Wong ‘08, met as freshmen. “You go grab a coffee with him, and next thing you know you’re vice-assistant director in one of his think tanks,” Wong said. The campaign was unsuccessful, but the campus political scene sorely missed the Hwang/Wong spirit in this year’s lopsided race.
Hwang, who also advocates for freer intellectual property policies as part of campus organization)Harvard Free Culture and plans this year to research the workings of UFOologists, is currently putting his formidable skills to work in creating—what else?—ROFLCon. “It’s essentially an attempt to bring a bunch of Internet celebrities to come to Harvard to talk about fame (and infamy) online,” Hwang says of the event, which he hopes will bring LOL-mongers like the creators of icanhascheezburger.com and Homestar Runner to Harvard this spring. “In the very least, I found out that buying a flamethrower is fairly expensive, so there’s still some room to be legendary. Stay tuned.” We’ll be sure to.