The recently approved Southern Students Association is looking to bring cornbread along with other Southern food, hospitality and traditions to the Harvard Community.
"We really want to bring a southern sense of family and southern sense of community onto the Harvard campus," said Julie L. Coates '14, Southern Students Association president and a Savannah Georgian with an easy smile and an accent to melt your heart. "We want to celebrate a Southern American culture that is not really talked about or celebrated."
"I think that Southerners, more than a lot of students, face a culture shock when they come to Harvard," Coates said. "There are lots of little things: slang is different and dating works differently. I know I could've used a group like this when I was a freshman."
Coates said that the club, which is currently made up of about 50% Southern students, is planning events not only to celebrate culture but also to educate the student population.
"A lot of Harvard students are ignorant about southern culture, and we want to help dispel negative stereotypes," Coates said. "We want to show that we are a diverse population." Towards that aim, Coates said one of the major events under development is a discussion of religion in the Bible Belt.
Yet most of the events currently planned by the board of the SSA are slated to be "purely fun."
"We want people to be excited about our events so we're keeping them as social as possible," Coates said, citing plans for a "Country Cookin' Banquet" and a Southerner of the year award (rumor has it, Paula Dean is the leading candidate).
This week, the association is having their second event of the semester: a gathering for the Alabama-LSU football game accompanied by a Southern breakfast-for-dinner consisting of grits and bacon and biscuits and gravy among other delights. All the cooking will be done by students using their mothers' recipes.
"We're really excited, not just about this event but about the whole year. We really just want everyone to come out and have a good time," Croates said.