In 2014, in a video interview with The Crimson, then-Undergraduate Council presidential candidate Luke R. Heine ’17 was asked to name his spirit animal.
“I’ve been told I look like a golden retriever, which generally comes through when I run, because I usually have a weird facial gesture or am laughing while I’m running,” Heine said at the time.
After running with Heine by the Charles two years later, I can confirm his answer. With his mop of floppy blond hair, his bobbing gait, and his complete and utter lack of cynicism, there is something undeniably retriever-esque about him. A former cross country runner, Heine uses runs like these as rewards for studying.
“I’ll do a lot of work, and then go on a run to treat myself,” he says.
Heine (hey-nee, not high-nee, though “it’s a lot like jazz; you say it how you like it”) is perhaps best known on campus for his unsuccessful upstart 2014 campaign for Undergraduate Council President, characterized by whimsy and frequent public violations of the UC’s elections regulations. His campaign was fined $15 dollars, for instance, for replacing dining hall bulletins with versions watermarked with his campaign logo.
“Slap us in the cuffs. I’ll serve my time,” Heine said at the time.
Heine’s CV reads a little like the Dos Equis man’s. He has delivered a keynote address in Amsterdam, visited Copenhagen at the behest of his Danish heiress ex-girlfriend, and run the 180 miles to Canada from his native Minnesota, just for the hell of it.
Heine created the Summer Playbook, a website that collects and shares information about where fellow college students are spending their summers. He also created the Harvard College Midwest Club and the Fair Opportunity Project, a free college admissions guide distributed first in the midwest and then nationwide. He has worked for eBay, applied for a patent, and run the Boston Marathon.
Though Heine’s numerous projects may have little in common to the casual observer, he sees a certain coherence.
“When you look back upon it all, it’s clear that there was some sort of similarity in terms of how it was creative, how it’s enterprising,” he says. “I think it goes to one of my favorite quotes, which is a Navajo saying: ‘Life can only be lived forward, and understood backward.’”
In fact, Heine is quite the fan of sayings. And analogies.
Choosing a concentration? It’s “a lot like knowing who you want to marry.... [You] need to go on dates, you need to get your heart broken, you need to break some hearts sometimes.”
Leaving the country for the first time as a high school senior, for a college visit to Singapore? Like “taking a dried coconut and just throwing it on the cement floor.”
Looking back on his time at Harvard? “You’re given this pantry of ingredients. How do you recombine them creatively to create a tasty dish? How do you make something cool out of it?”