Club Helps Texans Adjust to Harvard Life

They're not all cowhands and they don't all live on the Rio Grande. But many of Harvard's Texan students share one trait: they're very fond of their state. And now, they have an outlet for their pride.

The Texas Club of Harvard, founded last year, attempts to create stronger links between Texas and the state's Harvard population. Made up of approximately 80 of the 270 Texan students at Harvard, the club aims to provide support during what could otherwise be a difficult transition for first-years and upperclass students alike.

"It was like moving to whole other country," recalls Acting President Joy Y. Chen '96 of her first year away from Houston. "I don't think you can really understand Texas until you have been there."

Climate differences are just the tip of the iceberg, say Texan students. There are also other less obvious differences between the two regions.

San Antonio native David G. Galindo '97 finds that Harvard differs from his home state in ethnic makeup. "There, the population is mostly Hispanic," he says. "Coming here, there's much more diversity of people."


And, he says, there's greater diversity of vocabulary.

"Here, they say `wicked' and `awesome.' At home we maybe say `cool' and we mix in a lot of Spanish words," says Galindo, who also admits to occasionally saying "y'all."

Massachusetts residents dress differently fromthe more formal Texans, students say. "Here, it'svery much the L.L. Bean, grungy, hiker kind oflook. In Texas, you dress up more," says Chen, whohas just recently begun to wear flannelshirts--which are not appropriate for Texas'warmer climate.

Ideology is also a considerable difference.

Brandon Shackelford '97 says he findsMassachusetts to be more liberal than Texassocially as well as politically.

"At home, men open doors for women," he says."Here, they don't do it as much, partly out offear, I think."

And although Texans will admit that somestereotypes have a basis in fact, "not everybodyin Texas has a cowboy hat and rides a horse,"Shackelford says.

"People like to think Texas is very backwards,"Chen says. "Some of it is true. At our dances,they played country songs, too. They had anorganization called the Future Farmers of America.But Houston is a metropolitan city and it's verydiverse."

In addition to activities such as barbecues andtailgate parties, the club is planning to publisha newsletter reporting Texas work opportunitiesfor Harvard students.

In the spring, the club hopes to hold acountry-western dance for the entire student body.

The club hopes to transcend its image of beingpurely social.

Chen says her goal as co-president is to"establish legitimacy for the club in people'sminds."

But, of the 50 states in the Union, why shouldTexas have its own club?

"Texas is just bigger and better," Shackelfordsays. "Texas is the best.

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