Freshmen kicked off the new semester in Sanders Theatre Sunday night at "ReFRESHMENt," a new event encouraging the Class of 2018 to reflect on their fall semester and to be motivated for the spring term.
The presentation, which was was organized by the First-Year Social Committee, the Undergraduate Council, and the Freshman Dean’s Office, included entertainment featuring students and faculty speakers. According to Dean of Freshmen Thomas A. Dingman ’67, it will become a new annual tradition.
“[We want] to heighten their sense of belonging and their sense of being a part of the Class of 2018,” Dingman said. “We want them to think about their purpose for being in college and what they’re going to do to make this transformative journey really productive.”
Dingman said “students love ritual” and that this seemed like a fitting new tradition with which to begin the second semester.
In addition to Dingman, speakers at the event included Dean of College Rakesh Khurana, biology professor of practice Robert A. Lue, and Michael C. Ranen, the dean for freshmen in Ivy Yard.
“Your life doesn’t change once; it changes again and again and again,” Lue said, encouraging students to continue into the spring semester with a “rising tide of passion.”
Khurana reminded students to craft their own experience at Harvard during the next seven semesters.
“There is no one best way to do Harvard,” Khurana said. “The students who do the best and get the most out of college are the ones who make authentic choices to themselves. They don’t let someone else write their Harvard story for them.”
The event also featured several freshmen, who provided entertainment ranging from poetry to magic tricks. Aisha Bhoori '18, who presented a spoken word poem with Simone E. A. Abegunrin '18, said she hoped the poem addressed the shared experience from the fall semester and goals for the spring semester.
“[We wanted to discuss] that it’s less about the arbitrary ‘A,’ and more about trying to find yourself and expanding yourself,” Bhoori said, “and taking all these strands and piecing together an identity.”
The event was followed by a reception in Annenberg Hall.
Khurana left the class with a final remark about pursuing the diverse people and opportunities available to them during their time here.
“If we as a community are different from what exists in the world, an alternative future opens up,” he said. “We have all of the ingredients here.”
—Staff writer Annie E. Schugart can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @AnnieSchugart.