Harvard Students Break from Cold with '#HarvardOasis'

As hundreds of students filed through the revolving doors of the Science Center Sunday afternoon, they were greeted by a familiar space transformed into a tropical haven, surrounded by the sights and sounds of simply warmer times.

Students face long lines to enjoy food items like macaroni and cheese and hot dogs in the Science Center during #HarvardOasis. The event, held on Sunday afternoon, including a screening of Finding Nemo, a performance from a student band, and ping pong tables.

From tiki bars to shuffleboard to cotton candy machines, "#HarvardOasis" was an all-out effort, funded by an anonymous donation, to tackle the cabin fever that has blanketed the morale of students just as the snow has blanketed campus over the last several weeks.

The event was hosted by a joint team of organizations including the Undergraduate Council, the College Events Board, the Office of Student Life, and the Office of the Dean of the College and initiated in a short timeframe, with lead organizers having just two weeks to help plan and execute the event.

“This is really the definition of collaboration between student organizations on campus,” said Dhruv P. Goyal ’16, vice president of the UC. “This is good energy that we want to carry on in the future.”


The party was fully funded by an anonymous donor, who Associate Dean of Student Life David R. Friedrich would only describe as a “generous friend of the College.” Friedrich said the earmarked gift was made directly in response to articles in The Crimson and the Harvard Gazette on the winter dampening moods.

“It’s great to see everyone coming together to this open, inclusive, fun event,” UC President Ava Nasrollahzadeh ’16 said.

OSL Student Life Fellow Emily S. Rutter ’13, who is also a former Crimson sports editor, and Friedrich both declined to comment on the cost of the event, but according to Daniel V. Banks ’17—student initiatives chair on the UC and one of the event's lead organizers—a price tag of $15,000 for the party would be a “significant underestimation.”

Banks said it was especially challenging to figure out how to publicize this event, given that it was requested by the anonymous donor that the details of the party be withheld until the day before the party. Despite this, more than 600 people signed up for the event on Facebook and Banks estimated that in all, roughly 1,500 students attended.

“It would be great if we can make this something we can do every year,” said Ramtin Talebi ’18, a member of the CEB. “If [the donor] has the funds to do this in the first place I would imagine [the donor] would have the funds to do it next year as well.”

—Staff writer William C. Skinner can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @wskinner.


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