Rabbit-raisers, imitators, geographers, and their less exotie cousins no longer have to mope around the Yard hoping to find someone to practise on.
Now they sign up for Brooks House work, according to Harry Newman, Jr., President of P.B.H. Over 400 strong, they devote upwards of an hour a week doing social service work or working on the Undergraduate Faculty or Speakers Bureau.
Social service work is by far the most popular Brooks House activity. Mustered by a committee of about fifteen students, volunteers work with underprivileged boys in Greater Boston settlement houses. Scout troops, boys clubs, athletic teams, and discussion groups are the usual thing, though individual hobby groups deal with almost everything.
A few volunteers even sally forth into old men's clubs, where they play checkers and cribbage, and generally act as "rays of sunshine."
Next in popularity is the Speakers Bureau, which provides entertainment of all kinds for settlement house, Church, or hospital groups. As might be imagined, most of the entertainment takes the form of speeches, which are on subjects ranging from current events to oriental culture. Magician shows, skits, and musical entertainments are also included in this department, however.
The third main activity of Brooks House is the Undergraduate Faculty. Started only three years ago as the brain-wave of E. Langdon Burwell '41, it consists of students who tutor local high-school graduates who are unable to go to college. The tutoring is purely informl and usually takes place in the rooms of the Harvard student. Contrary to the expectations of some, the Faculty Committee is flooded by would-be tutors, there being over forty last year.
A second aspect of Brooks House is its executive work, which consists of committees to manage each of the three above-mentioned activities and to perform several added services. The Social Service, Speakers, and Undergraduate Faculty Committees devote themselves primarily to rounding up and assigning their volunteers. They also study problems of community service by means of reports and discussions.
The Freshman Committee is composed of about ten Yardlings chosen after a competition starting about Thanksgiving time. It manages the Freshman intramural sport program, makes a mid-winter study of "some phase of Freshman life," distributes Thanksgiving baskets, runs a dance and gives a Christmas party for underprivileged children.
Intramural Sports Reforms
Two years ago the Committee investigated the means of appointment of Red-book, Smoker, and Jubilee heads and was instrumental in abolishing class officers. Last year it studied and revised the system of Yardling intramural sports and made plans for intramural competition in non-athletic fields.
Other committees also do valuable work. The Summer Jobs Committee studies during the winter opportunities for worthwhile vacation occupation for undergraduates in settlement houses, summer camps, and work camps. Last year it helped recruit workers for the Grafton Center Work Camp, sponsored by American Defense-Harvard Group and Brooks House. Every year it offers financial aid to worthy students interested in constructive projects.
The Library Committee supervises the Textbook Loan Library and a social service library in P.B.H. and organizes the semi-annual old clothes drives. The Foreign Students Committee acts as host to the one hundred and fifty foreign students in the University, with headquarters in the International House.
Information concerning Cambridge boarding houses is secured and compiled by the Information Committee, while the Publications Committee publishes the Freshman Handbook and the P.B.H. News. There are also committees in several of the graduate schools, which mainly plan and stage social events.
Volunteer work of all kinds is open to Yardlings, as well as membership on the Freshman Committee, and recruiting will soon begin. Membership on the other undergraduates committees is open to upperclassmen and to Yardlings during the Spring