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Sophomores Organize Class Concentration Declaration Event

By Hannah Natanson, Contributing Writer

Two sophomore Undergraduate Council representatives have organized an event for their peers to celebrate their new plans of study on Friday evening in Annenberg Hall.

The concentration declaration event, dubbed “Be There. Be Declared,” is the brainchild of Berkeley Brown ’18 and Madeleine H. Stern ’18, who came up with the idea at the end of their freshman year, when both were co-chairs of the First-Year Social Committee.

“At our last event, freshman formal, people kept walking up to us and saying how sad they were that this was the last time we would be together as a class until senior year,” Stern said. “We both thought about it and we realized we also felt sad.”

To address that situation, Stern said she and Brown talked with the Office of Student Life and the Advising Programs Office over the summer.

The two planned to form a sophomore class social committee but decided that they needed to build up to it, Stern said. A Paperless Post invitation about the event sent to sophomores indicated that it was from the “Class of 2018 Social Committee,” but no such social committee has been officially recognized. Stern said the name of the account meant to encourage sophomores to think about class community, even if a formal sophomore class-wide social committee does not yet exist.

As a first step towards that goal, Stern and Brown decided to host a class-wide sophomore concentration declaration event. At a UC general meeting last month, the Council voted to allocate $1,000 to the sophomore concentration declaration event. Brown and Stern also received funding from the Advising Programs Office, the Harvard Alumni Association, and the Office of the Dean of the College.

The doors to Annenberg will open at 9 p.m. Dean of Freshmen Thomas A. Dingman ’67 will deliver a welcome speech at the event, and organizers will also screen a video featuring upperclassman and alumni perspectives on the concentration process. Stern also said it will feature guest appearances by alumni celebrities, but organizers have yet to identify them.

The event will serve waffles and desserts, and students who attend will receive a free T-shirt.

“It’s really just a chance for people to de-stress and realize that everyone has been going through what they’re going through,” Stern said. “Like the fact that you’re stressed out, you can’t get my.harvard to work, it’s not just you, it’s universal.”

Brown said the event is an opportunity for current sophomores to enter into their individual concentration communities while simultaneously remembering that they are members of a larger community—the Class of 2018.

“[Even though] you’ve accumulated all these other identities at Harvard having to do with your House, having to do with the clubs that you’re in, you remain part of your class…and that’s a huge part of who you are here,” Stern said. “I would consider this event a success if people got back in touch with their class identity and realized that that support is going to be there for them throughout the Harvard experience.”

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