When students leave Harvard for the world beyond its gates, they bid goodbye to Georgian brick, the glittering Charles, nights on Mount Auburn Street, Bartley’s Burgers, and more. Thanks to the Harvard Alumni Association, however, they do not bid farewell to social—and often business—bonds with their peers. And now, with the introduction of HarvardX courses restricted to alumni, they can hold on to intellectual connections as well.
EdX, an online learning initiative, offers classroom lectures to a broader Internet community in an effort to increase the spread of knowledge. We have praised edX and HarvardX, the University’s branch of the platform, before. The programs are a step toward ensuring education for those who do not have the time or funds to attend expensive institutions across the country, and so we hope edX continues to grow outside the Harvard community. At the same time, we are pleased to see it grow within. HarvardX for Alumni helps foster social and intellectual connections among graduates, furthering Harvard’s mission of lifelong learning.
Harvard students, whether spending their formative years at the college or expanding their horizons at one of the university’s many graduate schools, surely value the chance to draw closer to their peers through discussing common experiences. Those experiences may come in the form of late nights at final clubs or at Central Square bars. But they also might be afternoons spent huddled in Café Pamplona poring over and hashing out Nietzsche readings for a philosophy class. In fact, faculty director of HarvardX Robert A. Lue has noted that former students “really miss the connection to the courses, the new coursework that is going on, the intellectual life of the university.” HarvardX is a way to unite alumni over academic material and mutual understanding once again.
The Harvard Alumni Association grants Harvardians the ability to reunite casually or professionally with former peers. From smaller local and larger national reunions to business networks teeming with job prospects for newer graduates, chances abound for alumni to make Harvard part of their lives for as long as they wish. HarvardX extends those opportunities beyond the working world and the social sphere.
As we pack our bags after high school and move out of home for the first time, our parents often send us off with seemingly sage advice: “You’re only in college once.” HarvardX helps disprove that statement. We can take college—or some of it, at least—with us.
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