Faust Creates Infrastructure Committee

Adivsory committee will help create spaces for cultural and social activities

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Natalie I. Mazur

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The University will convene an advisory committee charged with recommending changes to Harvard’s physical infrastructure in Cambridge, University President Drew G. Faust announced yesterday.

Citing “the need for additional spaces for cultural, recreational, and social activities for the Harvard community,” Faust instructed the committee to plan beyond recent campus construction such as the Lamont Library Café and the Cambridge Queen’s Head Pub.

Her charge to the committee gave no budgetary details or suggestions for specific projects, but committee co-chair Lizabeth Cohen—who will also take over as chair of the History Department when she returns from Oxford this summer—wrote in an e-mail last night that the focus will be “imagining creative possibilities, not anticipating [financial] limitations.”

After the committee makes its final recommendations in early fall 2009, Cohen said that funds to implement the plans will come from the central administration and dedicated fundraising.

“President Faust and Mass Hall are extremely committed to this project,” she wrote, “so the committee’s job is to come up with dynamic ideas, not to worry about paying for them.”

Cohen and the other co-chair, Graduate School of Design Dean Mohsen Mostafavi, agreed that the committee will discuss a broad range of ideas to improve social spaces on campus for Harvard’s students, faculty, and staff. But the committee would most likely recommend measures to improve the use of current facilities, not the construction of new buildings such as a student center.

“Whatever additions we would make, we have to be fully cognizant that the campus is a particular place that has gone through transitions,” Mostafavi said. “But we have to make sure that any transformation is in keeping with the quality and character of the campus as it has evolved over the years.”

The 22-member committee will include four central administrators and representatives of three of Harvard’s Cambridge-based schools—the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, Harvard Law School, and Harvard Design School.

Two undergraduates and two graduate students will also be named to the committee in consultation with their respective student councils, according to the announcement.

Undergraduate Council (UC) President Matthew L. Sundquist ’09 praised the committee’s formation, saying the chairs had approached the UC to find potential members from both the river and the Quad. “We plan to do a thorough search process and put the best possible students on the committee,” he wrote in an e-mailed statement.

—Staff writer Clifford M. Marks can be reached at cmarks@fas.harvard.edu.

—Staff writer Nathan C. Strauss can be reached at strauss@fas.harvard.edu.