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Freshmen Jam Annenberg for Berry Study Break

By Narayan T. Sundararajan and Brian P. Yu, Crimson Staff Writers

Hundreds of freshmen crowded Annenberg Hall to enjoy an assortment of strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries during Tuesday’s Brain Break, but some were left with just sour grapes.

The event, part of this week’s Freshman Health Project, was originally the result of a contentious vote on Sunday by the UC to spend $850 to fund the berries. After learning of the proposal, a nutrition professor at the School of Public Health volunteered to have his department sponsor the event.

Ivy Yard Representative Scott Xiao ’19 said the event proved particularly popular, with students lining across Annenberg Hall to consume the fresh fruit. Students arrived before the event began, and quickly gathered around the berry station as soon as the doors opened.

“There were a bunch of people who took two bowls so that they could get as many berries as they could,” Catherine Y. Zhang ’19 said. “I’m pretty sure there were some people who brought tupperware.”

For some, however, the brain break was a fruitless endeavor. According to Xiao, though the event was scheduled to last from 9:15 p.m. to 11:15 p.m., all the berries had been consumed by 9:40.

Katie C. Berry ’19 was one of many students who arrived after all of the berries had disappeared, and said she was “devastated.”

“I was looking forward to having some berries, but there was nothing for me,” Berry said.

Overall, many students said they were pleased with the brain break, and the berries in particular.

“I think Berry Brain Break was a great bonding experience, and brought some laughs to a stressful midterm environment,” Zhang said.

Still, others said they wished healthier food options were available more frequently.

“I wish there was a more sustainable solution for students to get berries as opposed to one day for one hour,” Deepika S. Kurup ’19 said.

Several UC representatives expressed surprise over the event’s popularity, given that initially, many Council members worried the decision to fund the brain break would be controversial.

Oak Yard Representative Nicholas D. Boucher ’19 voted against the legislation to fund the berries during the UC’s Sunday general meeting, but said that he changed his mind about the value of the event.

“I now think I voted wrongly,” Boucher said. “That brain break was probably one of our most attended events.”

Pforzheimer House Representative Neel Mehta ’18, who also voted against the legislation, said that although he was pleased by the event’s success, he felt that the money spent could have been used better.

“I still wonder if we could have done it with some cheaper methods than berries,” Mehta said.

The committee is currently exploring possible ways to spend the $850 that they saved due to the grant from the School of Public Health. According to Elm Yard Representative Evan M. Bonsall ’19, members of the committee have considered funding game consoles in freshman dorm buildings.

—Staff writer Brian P. Yu can be reached at brian.yu@thecrimson.com. Follow him on Twitter @brianyu28.

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