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UC’s ‘We Care Week’ Looks to Relieve End-of-Semester Stress

Students enjoy free massages in the Straus Common Room as a part of the Undergraduate Council ‘We Care Week.’
Students enjoy free massages in the Straus Common Room as a part of the Undergraduate Council ‘We Care Week.’ By Ellis J. Yeo
By Andrew J. Zucker, Crimson Staff Writer

To ease the stress of impending final papers and exams, Harvard College freshmen can now enjoy a petting zoo, massages, and free yoga classes as part of the Undergraduate Council’s “We Care Week” for the Class of 2020.

We Care Week, hosted by the Council’s Freshman Class Committee, includes four days of programming from April 17 to April 20 around Harvard Yard.

According to Elm Yard representative Grace S. Pan ’20, the week is meant to provide freshmen the opportunity to reflect on their first year at the College.

“We want to give the freshmen class an opportunity to take a breather, take a step back and just kind of engage in some self-reflection,” she said.

For Elm Yard representative Salma Abdelrahman ’20, the week’s events bring a welcome respite from a busy schedule. She said she hopes We Care Week gives others the time “to take care of ourselves, take care of people that we don’t necessarily think about too often.”

This year marks the fourth installment of the Freshman Class Committee’s weeklong initiative. But this year, the week was given a new name, shifting from previous “Freshman Health Weeks.” Freshman Class Committee chair Catherine L. Zhang ’19 said the committee decided to continue the tradition due to its large budget.

“We decided that that is something we wanted to do this year, since we still have a lot of our remaining budget left,” Zhang said.

This year’s We Care Week looks to educate first-year students on issues like mental and physical health, as well as to foster class-wide camaraderie. In addition to the yoga, massages, and petting zoo, the UC will also hold a film screening to raise awareness about suicide prevention.

Abdelrahman said she found the theme fitting, adding that the end of the semester is typically a difficult period for students.

“We’re really bringing awareness to issues that affect students on this campus and really destigmatizing a conversation about mental health, because it is something that is important again considering how stressful this period is for a lot of people,” she said.

Pan said she will judge the success of We Care Week by the number of students who feel as though they can “get something from these events.”

“I think we measure success just by the way we see the reactions of our freshmen class to these events,” she said.

—Staff writer Andrew J. Zucker can be reached at andrew.zucker@thecrimson.com. Follow him on Twitter @AndrewJZucker.

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CollegeUndergraduate CouncilStudent Life