The blog of The Harvard Crimson

A Quick and Easy Guide to the UC Election

Undergraduate Council Voting Season is upon us! If you’re feeling overwhelmed by the plethora of posters that have suddenly appeared on every possible surface, or you are still trying to digest what happened at Crimson Crossfire, have no fear: we’ve got you covered. Keep reading for an overview of the tickets and their platforms. Remember that the outcome of this election lies with you. So vote! But do it before noon this Thursday, November 20, or it won’t count.

It's The Last Full Week Of Classes (Yes, Really)

Attention: we are in the midst of the last full week of classes of this semester. No, really. I have proof. With Thanksgiving and reading period to look forward to, just one week lies between you and having Harvard’s permission to do what you have spent the semester doing anyway — not attending the entire week’s worth of classes.

This final week brings some bittersweet last opportunities, and here’s how to make the most of them.

Attend all of your classes
Need motivation? Harvard may have just installed a video camera at your specific seat to monitor how often you and you alone show up to class.

Admit that you have a crush on your TF 
Maybe you shouldn’t admit it to your TF, but it’s about time that you admitted it to yourself.

Go to office hours
Pros: you might learn something, and you might even make new friends. Cons: you probably won’t learn anything, and you definitely won’t make any friends. Reality check: go for the recommendation letter. It will help you get a job in consulting one day.

Do your assigned readings
Just kidding. Don’t do your assigned readings. You’ve gotten this far in the semester without cracking open a single book, so why start now?

Happy class-attending, Harvard!

Yalies Are Terrified of Sam Clark

Leading up to last year’s Harvard-Yale football game, campus comedy group On Harvard Time surprised Yale with a wildly successful YouTube prank appropriately titled “Harvard Tours Yale.” For the video, Samuel B. Clark ’15 traveled to New Haven with OHT, posed as a Yale student, and gave tours to unwitting tourists. (Key phrase: “Gothic architecture.”) The video went viral, hitting Business Insider, the Huffington Post, and Forbes. And it was pretty damn funny.

It’ll be hard to live up to that feat, but this year, OHT is already attracting attention, even before they’ve uploaded their annual video. According to a preview they’ve posted to their YouTube channel, they traveled to New Haven again—this time, to advocate divestment from sports, according to the Yale Daily News.

And apparently, vigilante Yalies were not so unsuspecting. The YDN claims that OHT’s cover was “blown”; their student body president reportedly approached the group “on behalf of the Yale student body.” We’re not sure when Yalies became so scared of poser Harvard students, but we like it. 

Thanksgiving, Steve Ballmer, and 'U': UC Campaign Ad Gems

Undergraduate Council presidential campaign season has very much arrived, and with it comes a deluge of campaign posters and publicity stunts. Flyby picked out some of the gems—whether they’re the most ridiculous or the most predictable—and collected them for you here.

1. Happy Yang ’16 and Faith A. Jackson ’16: “Be Happy and Have Faith”

Ah, the name pun. Working names into slogans seems very middle-school-election, but we have to admit that Yang and Jackson’s names are pretty well suited to campaigning.

2. Meghamsh Kanuparthy ’16 and Ema H. Horvath ’16: #ThanksgivingFirst

Kanuparthy and Horvath’s campaign ads are telling Harvard to “Leave Thanksgiving alone.” Two questions: Is Thanksgiving in trouble? Are they trying to save it? We need answers.

3. Ava Nasrollahzadeh ’16 and Dhruv P. Goyal ’16: “The UC begins with U”

Here, we see the classic UC and “you” pun—the two other tickets above make a similar play in their own campaign ads. This ad lacks in originality, but it does add a pretty sick design.

4. Luke R. Heine ’17 and Stephen A. Turban ’17: the kiddie pool photo with Steven A. Ballmer ’77

Heine and Turban round out the list with an ad that’s as bizarre as it sounds. In the ad, the pair sit partially clothed in a kiddie pool with the former Microsoft CEO standing over them. We’re not really sure what this means, but it works.

Hold the (Red) Phone! How to Use Your Hotline

While Harvard stopped providing its students with build-your-own bomb shelters and an inescapable sense of dread decades ago, at least one Cold War relic has stuck around: the red phone. These crimson clunkers, lovingly placed in each room by Dorm Crew at the start of the year, go tragically underused. Luckily, we’ve come up with a few ways to warm up to your hotline.

1. Cockroach bludgeon. Pest problem? Smash away, but be careful: like a matador’s cape, waving the red phone around too much may further aggravate your roaches.

2. Double-sided spoon. Forgot to Annenburgle some silverware to go with those Frosted Mini Spooners? Your iPhone can't hold cereal like this.

3. An avant-garde accessory. It’s a real conversation piece.

4. Souvenir. Seniors, the red phone makes a great memento of your time at Harvard! Plus, you can pick up the line from anywhere in the world and hear HUPD demanding that you return it immediately.

5. Shower mic. Put down that bottle of shampoo, grab your red phone receiver, and belt out "Pocket Full of Sunshine" like you're at TD Garden and not in a three-square-foot stall. Note: do not plug the red phone in. 

6. Emergency health care. Sick between the hours of 10:00 p.m. and 8:00 a.m.? Give triage a try – the red phone can get you (exactly none of) the help you need.

Wanted: 'Secretary' for Final Club Initiation

One Harvard sophomore is apparently having trouble juggling all-important final club initiations with other commitments. The anonymous student, who self-identifies as “a sophomore punching a Harvard final club,” has posted an ad on Craigslist soliciting a “secretary” to “deal with all my administrative work.”

“Anything from responding to basic emails, picking up dry cleaning, confirming appointments and turning in homework could be asked,” the ad requests. Reasonable, you might suggest: Wearing a yellow sweatshirt all week surely renders you unable to collect your laundry.

And this overwhelmed neophyte isn’t requesting help for nothing. Compensation, according to the ad, will be by hourly wage, provided that you submit your resume, any other “relevant material,” and sign a non-disclosure agreement “in order to maintain privacy.”

We wonder why this sophomore would want to keep this cry for help private. We’ve seen bolder calls on Craigslist, after all.

The Less Than One Percent

You may not have even known they existed, or maybe you assumed you had never met them because they just lived in the Union Dorms last year, but each year, Harvard admits twelve transfer students into the college and sticks them into some of the upperclassmen houses.

Who would want to re-hash the freshman horrors of “Is the Quad part of MIT” and “Where is Northwest Labs”? Flyby decided to sit down with some of these socially savvy transplants to pick their brains.

“It can be very hard, especially here, said Eddie J. Love ’15, who transferred to Harvard after completing two years at the Air Force Academy. “Blocking groups…happen in your freshman year. You kind of pick the group you want to be with for the rest of your time, as a freshman.”

Ana Carell ’17, said that being a transfer student forces you to become socially competent. “You guys have so many acronyms. It’s ridiculous!” Carrell said after being here for nearly two months.

Transfers get an orientation, a t-shirt, a T-PAF (which sounds more like biological jargon than a transfer peer advisor), and a bunch of other people who will ask if everything’s A-okay. But, the adjustment varies for each person. “There are certain things that administration can’t do, like creating the relationships,” said Moriya Blumenfeld ’16.

Without that grace period of ice-cream coerced icebreakers, integrating into Harvard was “kind of traumatic.” Usually, transfer students are coupled and plopped into one of the upperclassman houses. In a cataclysmic collision of all things horrible, Blumenfeld was put into Winthrop, alone.

Meep…Be my friend? But transfers don’t end up alone forever:

Blumenfeld “pulled an Annenberg” and sat next to some strangers in the Throp D-hall who turned into her best friends. She was even adopted into a blocking group! Lance B. Katigbak ’16 who transferred in as a second semester sophomore last fall from the University of the Philippines found his family amongst HPAIR, and he even started his own organization on campus. Love is now captain of the rugby team and found such great friends that he transferred from Dunster to the Quad to live with them his senior year.

Somehow, it just all seems to sort out, to a point at which you would never know the transfers had started their undergraduate stories elsewhere.

So, if they had to do it all again, would they avoid the stress and just come directly here?

Some transfers say they wouldn’t change a thing. Coming from the Air Force Academy, Love had the opportunity to travel to England and go skydiving—granted he was occasionally sent into the wilderness and given the instruction: survive. He remarked, “Having that personal discipline and that ability to structure for myself allowed me to take advantage of all the freedom [at Harvard] and use it in a good way."

Scandal: UC Election Edition

After weeks of twiddling their thumbs and amusing themselves with passing and petty political happenings like the national midterm elections, Harvard students finally have the chance to engage something that matters: the Undergraduate Council presidential race.

When it comes to real change on campus, students look in awe to the omnipotent Council, which spent the past year heroically extorting a quarter million dollars in club funding from the University and sending out lots of emails with GIFs in them. (One of these things happened.)

Okay, so maybe the UC doesn’t always deliver. But what it lacks in substance it makes up for in scandal. We imagine Olivia Pope has too busy a schedule to help out these Cantabrigian clients, so we took it upon ourselves to break the drama down for you.

FBpot Dome

The race began with a bang—but also with what was a false start. Candidates Ava Nasrollahzadeh ’16  and Dhruv P. Goyal ’16 and Happy Yang ’16 and Faith A. Jackson ’16 jumped the gun when they rushed to Facebook to upload photos in the hopes their good jokes and better looks would charm voters into signing their candidacy petitions. Turns out they weren’t allowed to share their faces with the online world until a later date, when campaigning had officially commenced. After learning of their own mistake, Nasrollahzadeh and Goyal blew the whistle on Yang and Jackson for the same offense.

Maybe this display of governmental transparency stomped out the political fire before it spread—the UC Election Commission banned the candidates from campaigning for three days, but it doesn’t look like an trial of any sort is in the cards. Or maybe premature “likes” just don’t pack the same punch in the judiciary’s eyes as large cash gifts.

The Landrywinsky Affair

After this bang, one ticket exited the race with a whimper. Following a conversation with Goyal, candidates Michael J. Landry ’16 and Connor M. Harris ’16 abandoned their ambitions for office. Landry cited “Dhruv talking to us and not wanting us to screw up the vote” as a reason for dropping out, though Goyal has called the meeting “purely informational” and Landry and Harris have noted they consider Goyal a friend and do not see themselves as having been “forced out” of the election.

But just because a decision is consensual doesn’t mean it’s right. Is there an improper relationship here? We all know the right answer.

Watermarkgate

Much like Harvard basketball, UC election drama never stops. And so another day brought with it another scandal. Early Tuesday morning, sophomore ticket Luke R. Heine ’17 and Stephen A. Turban ’17 replaced bulletins in every House dining hall except Leverett and Kirkland with watermarked copies. Their dastardly plot beganSaturday when they snatched the original bulletins to scan and doctor. Heine and Turban will face a whopping $15 in fines. We know of no plans for their resignation.

Watch out, Harvard, because according to Election Commission Chair Matthew C. Estes ’18, these boys are “out of control.” And watch out again, because who knows what else besides watermarked advertisements of masters’ open houses Heine and Turban installed in our sacred meal spaces? Someone is always watching.

Mark Zuckerberg Is Feeling Thankful

It’s now obvious why Mark E. Zuckerberg '06 stole The Facebook. He did it so that 500 million people could watch his Public Display of Affection toward his 'friend', Priscilla Chan '07.

“I met an amazing girl on this day exactly 11 years ago,” he posted to his Facebook, while he presumably sat next to her. Didn’t you learn anything from Taylor Swift’s new music video? This is millennial romance. (We used the word millennial, finally! What a millennial dream).

We can only imagine what the Winklevii’s tribute to each other might have looked like: pictures of them at the boathouse, in the PC bike room, and posing in a lake.

Mark, it’s never too late to come back and take a class on video editing. Section sizes might be getting smaller. Innovation!

7 Things Easier Than Filling Out a Plan of Study

Sophomores are finally breathing a sigh of relief now they have officially declared their concentrations and have completed their Plan of Study. This endeavour not only means that students must choose a course of study that will affect the rest of their college career and ultimately their life, but also that they must navigate the most confusing website ever in order to do so.

Filling out the notoriously clunky worksheet, which even comes with its own video tutorial, is one of the great struggles of a Harvard student. Here are seven things that are easier, more intuitive, and less time consuming to do than filling out the Plan of Study.

1. Keeping a dorm room clean
 It may be hard with all the running around Harvard students do, but doing laundry, organizing your room and common room, and taking out the trash is kind of manageable (kind of).

2. Catching the Harvard Square Turkey
 This is much easier said than done: wild turkeys are not very friendly. And who knows what diseases they carry!  

3. Running a marathon
Months of preparation for 26.2 miles of happiness, and only four hours of pain! At least you get to look at the entertaining signs to cheer you on.

4. Finding Atlantis
 No, not the Bahamian getaway, the fabled underwater island. If it helps, it's rumored to be somewhere in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean.

5. Getting Kanye West to smile
Is it physically possible for him to smile in front of a camera? What is behind that stony glare? Perhaps he’s cooking up his next album and does not want to betray himself via his facial expressions. Maybe he saves all of his smiles for Kim (#allday). 

6. Convincing Jessica Simpson that Chicken of the Sea is, in fact, tuna
She could argue false advertising, but everyone (except her) knows it's tuna.

7. Applying and getting into Yale
Remember the age old saying? The only thing that Yale and Harvard students have in common is that they were both admitted to Yale.

 

Harvard Shutters Stillman: What Next?

In case you missed it, Harvard University Health Services is planning to shutter the Stillman Infirmary, ending its overnight services beginning next semester. Stillman is perhaps better known as the place you’ve had to bring your out-of-control roommate at least once (or maybe the place you’ve woken up a couple Sunday mornings, too). While the university is in the business of closing seemingly essential services in order to improve efficiency, here are some other things they might do away with:

The Yard
The Yard is everything that is wrong with Harvard—it’s full of old, historical buildings and is constantly swarmed by a mixture of tourists and freshman. It’s really just a glorified shortcut between the Houses and classes. Who needs it?

Lamont
If relocating all of Lamont’s books and other resources is too costly, maybe instead they should just reduce Lamont’s Monday-Thursday hours to 8am to 10pm, and offer overnight phone consultations instead.

The D-halls
If your hunger is that much of an emergency, you can go eat somewhere where you pay for it. But honestly, how much do students really need to eat? Most of them don’t even finish their plates every night, so they must not need food at all.

Students
If there is one threat to university efficiency, it is definitely students. We come here and live in University housing, eat University food, and take up the precious office hours of University professors. If the school really wants to restructure and save some dough, it should really just get rid of students.

The Amnesty Policy
Oh wait, closing Stillman means they’re already halfway there.

Are Taylor Swift and Spotify Never, Ever, Ever Getting Back Together?

Taylor Swift is just as famous for her high-profile heartbreaks as her songs: Joe Jonas, Harry Styles, and Jake Gyllenhaal have all inspired tracks on her last album. But in the wake of releasing her most recent album, 1989, it looks like T-Swift is going through another breakup—with Spotify.

Last Monday, our favorite country-turned-pop superstar pulled all of her music off of the streaming site, ostensibly to not embarrass any “superfan[s]” who want to buy her albums.

Quite frankly, this is tragic. Now what are we supposed to play at our pregames? What will be the new soundtrack to our breakups? If I listen to Taylor Swift when I’m sad, what do I do when I’m sad about not being able to listen to Taylor Swift? 

So listen up, Taylor, we get it. You’ve made your point about the value of music, and you’ve already made plenty of money off of 1989. But we aren’t trying to scam you out of royalties, we just want to be able to dance to “Shake it Off” without giving up $1.29 better spent on half of a Felipe’s burrito, one fifteenth of a handle of Rubinoff, or one two hundredth of Principles of Economics. Please, for the sake of broke college students everywhere, come back to Spotify.

The 9 Types of People You Meet in Annenberg

Annenberg, the good old freshman dining hall, serves as much more than a place to eat. Freshman week, it was a place to make friends (whose names you don’t even remember anymore). Now, it’s a place to spend three hours because you keep running into people and you really don’t want to do start that Expos paper. Annenberg is a microcosm of everything that is freshman year—and it’s a jungle out there. Here is a convenient guide to the types of people you will run into:

Living Larista Loca at Lamont

Whether you need to pull an all-nighter, hammer out a paper, or drown your sorrows in endless caffeine, Lamont baristas (Laristas) are there for you. But nobody knows what their jobs are actually like. Luckily, Flyby went in to investigate.

Barista Jack C. Smith ’15 is a manager at the Lamont Café. According to Smith, there is no typical day at the Lamont Café.

“We only work in four hour shifts,” he said. Depending on which shift he choses to work, the experience is quite different. One of the busiest times is lunchtime, when they sell “all the sushi and sandwiches.” Maybe students’ love for Lamont sushi and sandwiches is saying something about the quality of food in the dining halls.

The café is especially packed “the night before an Ec 10 problem set is due,” said Smith. If there is one thing Harvard students know how to do right, it’s procrastinating. On nights before pset due dates, “the 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. shift is packed.”

Laristas also get some pretty weird customers. “One of our other managers said one guy pointed at the menu, said ‘double espresso’, and threw his credit card at her,” explained Smith. Looks like someone was having a bad day.

They also have had problems with a person stealing food. The Laristas had to “take a picture of him,” and said “watch out for this guy.” Eventually, they had to kick him out of the café. I guess he must’ve drained his BoardPlus buying $20 brunches for his parents at the dining hall.

Others just ask for “really strange drink combinations.” What can I say, I like my hot chocolate with two and a half pumps of caramel syrup, five and three quarters spritzes of whip cream, and exactly 17 mini marshmallows.

“The best order at Lamont is straight up iced coffee,” said Smith. The general population seems to differ because according to Smith, the most popular order is the Chai Latte. The hardest order to make is the Frappuccino. So next time you hit up Lamont to spend your BoardPlus, have mercy on the laristas’ souls and don’t order Frappuccinos.

The Laristas also have some pretty intense barista problems. “We run out of stuff,” or “have too much stuff,” said Smith. This all makes it “difficult to organize” the storage in back. It sounds like a typical college dorm room. You either have four empty walls with a single desk or you have a two-foot layer of rotting food and clothing on the so-called floor. 

Despite the hardships, Jack says “It’s an awesome job,” and that there is a “great community.”  Laristas have it pretty good. And besides, they have Larista parties. 

5 Works You Shouldn’t Miss at the Harvard Art Museums

The Harvard Art Museums open their doors to the general public on Nov. 16, when you’ll have to navigate crowds and elbow other viewers for space to truly enjoy the gems on display. Flyby took the time to scope out the offerings so you know where to start.

1.  “Little Dancer, Aged Fourteen,” Hilaire-Germain-Edgar Degas

Whether you want to rekindle your dreams of being a dancer or want to see firsthand a masterwork from your HAA textbook, stop by “Degas’ Little Dancer, Aged Fourteen.” With her upturned face, confident stance and tulle skirt, this dancer has all the markings of a prima ballerina.

2. “Mosaic Pavement Fragment with a Peahen,” unidentified artist

With Thanksgiving around the corner, frequent sightings of the Harvard Square turkey, and a research project on that turkey in the works, birds are on the brain (not that we’re calling you a birdbrain). This mosaic peahen does not disappoint. Each of the multicolored tesserae (bits of glass or ceramic) forms an intricate pattern, which is only more mesmerizing the longer you linger in front of the piece.

3. “Astor Hotel,” Reginald Marsh

“Hey, you looking at me?” the woman in this Depression-era painting seems to say in a Brooklyn accent. Arms akimbo and cherry-red lips pursed, despite her poverty, she stands ready to make her next move. Marsh’s fresco-like loose brushstrokes and muted color palette, seen here, put him at the forefront of the social realist painters. The painting is a far cry, though, from some of his other work, which features dancers—both are worth checking out.

4. “Woman in the Night,” Joan Miró

For those more interested in abstract art, make sure to check out Harvard’s extensive modern art collection. Treasures include sculptures, mixed media works and paintings, like this whimsical piece by Miró. A surrealist, Miró used curved forms and bright colors to illustrate the twisted body of a woman. We dare you to try this pose at home.

5. “Kneeling Attendant Bodhisattva (from Mogao Cave 328),” unidentified artist

If you want to stir up a debate with your museum companion, the “Bodhisattva” and accompanying paintings from the Magao Caves are for you. The pieces, removed by art historian Langdon Warner from Dunhuang, China, in 1924, raise questions about cultural heritage and art conservation. And what’s better than having intense conversations with the evidence (beautiful evidence!) right in front of your nose? You are, after all, a Harvard student.

6. Bonus: the building itself, designed by architect Renzo Piano 

Older → ← Newer