Undergraduates at the College spread far and wide during the summer months, and as the number of computer science concentrators continues to grow, a group of students aims to foster relationships for those signing onto internships in the San Francisco area, where both large companies and start-ups attract students.
Spearheaded by Tomas A. Reimers ’17, Gregory M. Foster ’17, Nicholas J. Mahlangu ’16, Roger M. Zurawicki ’16, and Aran Khanna ’16, most of whom are part of the board for student organization Hack Harvard, "Summer Camp," as the group calls it, originated from a perceived lack of Harvard community among undergraduate interns in San Francisco.
Reimers, who previously interned at Yelp, said that while the company itself had a well-established intern program, there were far fewer opportunities to meet Harvard students in the Bay Area.
“I would go to events for various tech companies over the summer and would discover that there were other students who I didn’t know were in the city,” Reimers said. “I wondered why we hadn’t all met up.”
According to the program’s student leaders, the group hopes to partner with several tech companies for networking events, but they will place greater focus on giving students the opportunity to form their own social connections with fellow Harvard undergraduates.
“There are always tons of things going on in San Francisco, like street fairs and free concerts, that will be much more attractive to go to if people know other students that are willing to go with them,” Foster said.
In particular, the group intends to aid College students in the process of finding housing. Reimers said that searching for housing across the country can be daunting. He added that he experienced this first-hand prior to his San Francisco-based internship, and a last-minute switch led to him rooming with Foster.
“Knowing about the various neighborhoods in the city and finding other people to live with is very important when trying to find housing,” Reimers said.
The "Summer Camp" leaders noted that they already received more than 50 responses to a questionnaire they distributed over email lists to locate undergraduates relevant for the program. From these responses, they are in the process of developing a roommate search tool, according to Mahlangu.
While the group may expand the program to other colleges in future summers, for now it is focused on helping Harvard students build connections with each other and alumni in the area, Foster said.
“There’s a whole Harvard network that we’re hoping students can plug into through this program,” Foster said.
—Staff writer Michael S. Avi-Yonah can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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