Programs for Winter Activities Week Take Shape

Plans for formal programming for this year’s inaugural Optional Winter Activities Week—which runs from Jan. 16 until the beginning of spring semester—have begun to take shape, with both student-initiated and University-sponsored events confirmed for the period.

The University is organizing a pilot series of art-intensive programs for OWAW, with offerings in theater, dance, creative writing, design, music, and comedy, according to Lori E. Gross, associate provost of arts and culture.

“The art intensives...offer students the opportunity to have hands-on arts-making experiences that are not available during the fall or spring semesters,” Gross wrote in an e-mail.

For example, the dance workshop will be led by a choreographer from the American Repertory Theater and will focus on personal narratives in dance, said Office of the Arts Dance Director Elizabeth Bergmann.

The OWAW arts intensives are part of University President Drew G. Faust’s arts-making initiative and will be financed with University funding specifically dedicated to supporting arts events. All students will be able to apply to participate in the programming without cost, according to Gross.


“We hope that they will be successful and will be continued in future years,” Gross wrote about the programs.

Aside from the arts offerings, the majority of the programming available during OWAW is expected to be organized by students.

Students do not need to apply for approval to be on campus during the week before classes begin, as OWAW is open to all undergraduates. But Office of International Programs Assistant Director Erin E. Goodman, who is coordinating winter break activities for the College, said she encourages students and student groups interested in hosting programming to submit their proposal through the College’s winter break portal.

“We would like to hear about as many events as possible, because we want to be informed about what kinds of activities students would like to have,” Goodman said.

“Just like last year, there will be a review process of what happened during this winter break,” said College spokesman Jeff Neal. “To the extent that students show a desire to participate during events [during OWAW], that will inform planning for the future.”

The portal opened earlier this month, and yesterday administrators approved the first activity—volunteering at the Harvard Square Homeless Shelter through the Phillips Brooks House Association, according to Goodman. Approved events will be listed on the College’s official events calendar.

In addition, students holding events can request assistance finding space for their events from the Office of Student Life, according to Goodman.

Applications for events during OWAW must be submitted by Dec. 3 to be reviewed by the College and posted on the official online portal.

—Staff writer Melody Y. Hu can be reached at

—Staff writer Eric P. Newcomer can be reached at


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