This holiday season, we are glad to see the spirit of giving reveal itself in some unexpected places on campus. The Hasty Pudding Theatricals (HPT), for the second year now, has used their renowned performances to raise thousands of dollars from audiences to strengthen the arts curriculum in Cambridge Public Schools—and for that they should be applauded.
This unique form of charity, started last year by the distinguished troupe of gals, guys and guys dressed as gals, is the first ever of its kind by a college student organization to Boston area schools. The hefty sum of money—this year’s gift of $12,000 surpassed last year’s impressive total by a thousand dollars—has been invaluable to the arts departments of the 15 public schools in Cambridge. In addition, HPT students have also taken part in a variety of cultural experiences to raise enthusiasm for the arts among younger students.
The benefits of such gracious donations are enormous. Supporting the arts seems, sadly, to have gone out of fashion, but thankfully, the Pudding has recognized the severity of the need to stimulate artistic expression—even the kind that does not include cross-dressing.
An arts education is crucial for students in any school, yet when budget cuts are needed, arts programs in public schools are always the first to go. It is of course a bittersweet commentary on the state of public education that these donations are even necessary. We hope the Fund for Cultural Enrichment, the money raised by HPT, will not long be the only money available to fund enriching cultural forays.
HPT’s initiative in supporting local arts programs is—even to the most cynical Harvard student—inspiring. The arts do not flourish on their own where there is no support system in place. While many students may only know the Pudding for annually bringing celebrities to campus and sending a handful of students to Bermuda every spring break, the Pudding has taken it upon itself to use its prestigious name and resources to be a genuine force for good in the community. We tip our hats to them.