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DSO Looks Ahead to Virtual Visitas, On-Campus Outdoor Programming

Layla Seaver '24 uses a laptop in Harvard Yard last month. On March 1, the University switched the campus status to Level 4: Lime, relaxing some of the public health restrictions faced by on-campus students.
Layla Seaver '24 uses a laptop in Harvard Yard last month. On March 1, the University switched the campus status to Level 4: Lime, relaxing some of the public health restrictions faced by on-campus students. By Santiago A. Saldivar
By Hannah J. Martinez and Sixiao Yu, Crimson Staff Writers

Administrators at the Dean of Students Office discussed their planning for a virtual iteration of the College’s admitted students’ weekend — Visitas — and potential College-sponsored outdoor activities in an interview last week.

Typically, Visitas spans across a weekend in April and welcomes hundreds of admitted students to stay on campus, attend events held by on-campus organizations, and learn about student life at Harvard.

Last year, the College canceled Visitas due to concerns of the Covid-19 pandemic and replaced it with Virtual Visitas, a series of online events and programming that took place over the month of April. This year, the remote version of Visitas is slated to take place from April 17 to April 23.

Dean of Students Katherine G. O’Dair said the DSO is “so excited” to welcome admitted students at Visitas.

“We are so excited for the opportunity to welcome the class of 2025 and to really encourage them to come here to this wonderful place,” O’Dair said.

Associate Dean of Students Lauren E. Brandt ’01 said that the DSO, in collaboration with the Admissions Office and First-Year Experience Office, is brainstorming ways to deliver “information about what Harvard looks like” to prospective students.

“Traditionally, Visitas is the time when the Admissions Office and the FYE and the DSO work very closely together,” Brandt said. “So there’s been a lot of conversations going on about how best to provide the potential to the Class of 2025, with the information about what Harvard looks like, both in terms of the opportunities that it offers and also just the experience of being a Harvard College student.”

Kate T. Colleran, assistant dean of Student Engagement and Leadership, added that the virtual Visitas will feature several student organizations as usual.

“The student orgs have just been really excited to recruit in this virtual space because it is their chance to meet the students,” Colleran said. “There will be a Virtual Involvement Fair and then individual student org events throughout the week.”

Some events, including the Virtual Involvement Fair, will be hosted on the College’s Hub platform, Colleran said.

Separate from Visitas, DSO administrators said there is a possibility for some outdoor programming for students living in residence this semester after the College’s shift to “Level 4: Lime” of its campus reopening plan on March 1.

“We’ve got an outdoor program we’re putting on before the end of classes at the end of April. It’s called Lucidity,” Colleran explained. “It’s basically this really cool outdoor reflective light show that you walk through. We’ll have it set up in the Yard.”

The event will be exclusive to students on campus with an option for off-campus students to participate virtually, Colleran added.

“There’s been a yoga class that we partnered with the Athletics Office to take place in the Yard,” Brandt said. “There’s a couple smaller, House-based activities that are being planned.”

“We have started to plan a few things but we’re always looking for ways to kind of hear about what people are looking for,” Brandt added.

—Staff writer Hannah J. Martinez can be reached at hannah.martinez@thecrimson.com. Follow her on Twitter @martinezhannahj.

—Staff writer Sixiao Yu can be reached at sixiao.yu@thecrimson.com.

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House LifeStudent LifeAcademicsAdmissionsPrefroshVisitas