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Student Lectures Draw Crowds

Eight undergraduates presented lectures on eight topics ranging from modern-day slavery to Renaissance architecture before an audience that filled the Adams House Pool Theater last Friday.

This second event in the Harvard Student Lecture Series was organized by the Harvard Diggers Society, a group that promotes student expression and ideas. The Society contests what founding member Talia B. Levin ’12 describes as a “culture of intellectual exclusivity” at Harvard.

Alexandra A. Petri ’10 opened the event with a comedic burst, asking the audience to pick the side of a coin to determine whether she would deliver a lecture on fan fiction or salmon, ultimately lapsing into quips about high school prom.

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Kristin N. Rose ’12 delivered a lecture entitled “Feminists Have Better Sex,” touching on issues ranging from contraceptives to the definitions and misconceptions of feminism.

Lange P. Luntao ’12 presented his thoughts on multiracial social communities, sharing about his own half-Asian identity and identifying the event as a space “to get light bulbs set off in our heads.”

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Peter D. Davis ’12, another Diggers founding member, said that the group provides opportunities for students to communicate their different passions in an encouraging environment.

“We knew we were onto something with the concept of finding things that could bring Harvard students together, bring us out of our little segmented, compartmentalized, Harvard subcultures together into a unified intellectual community,” he said.

Davis and Levin were part of a group of friends who gathered this past fall to organize an undergraduate-led lecture series, best described as a student reincarnation of Harvard Thinks Big. Levin emphasized that people of all backgrounds

are welcome to join the Harvard Diggers Society, which has been advertised as a group requiring “NO comp. NO application. NO ticket charge.”

Levin said the Diggers Society started planning the second of the Harvard Student Lecture Series before January Term, envisioning an event that would promote self-definition and spark student dialogue free from “intellectual intimidation.”

After pulling in a larger crowd with their second lecture event last Friday, Davis said he hopes the Diggers Society can become an institution that experiments with events ranging from student lectures to cultural exchanges.

“We’re just interested working together on community-building and expression-enabling projects for Harvard—and having a good time while doing it,” he added.

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