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On Bridging a Harvard Education

By The Crimson Editorial Board

For many Harvard students, the objective value of education is often not obvious. As much as we are passionate about what we study, such passions tend to falter against the axioms of financial and professional success. With a profound pre-professional culture, education for many Harvard students is a stepping stone for the next big thing — a prerequisite for landing a summer internship, securing a job offer, or getting into a competitive graduate program.

Similar to the Ed Portal, the Bridge and Tuition Assistance Program programs present a scenario where the value of education is not solely to propel us into a higher tax bracket or obtain a prestigious position. Through the Bridge program, Harvard employees can take ESL classes, citizenship classes, or career development workshops. TAP allows Harvard employees to take courses at participating Harvard schools at a subsidized cost.

We applaud Harvard for such staff-centric programs that make good on Harvard’s promise to educate the citizens and citizen-leaders of our society. As much as this institution has made its name on exclusivity and prestige, we believe that it is often moments like these that make Harvard a true leader in education. These programs reflect the transformative power of education — its ability to improve one’s quality of life and expand one’s prospects and perspectives through the acquisition of new knowledge. Compared to the average Harvard student whose quality of life would likely not drastically change in the absence of a Harvard education, it is safe to say that the acquisition of English for non-native speakers is extremely meaningful and useful.

Beyond maximizing access to education, these programs are a step toward making Harvard more socially integrated. The pursuit of education at Harvard should also be the pursuit of community — to engage and bond with individuals whom you may have never met before but are so fortunate to meet and become closer with here. Students were able to experience this with Dorm Crew, which helped facilitate community-building for students through manual labor. Here, we are heartened to see opportunities for workers to experience being a student at Harvard.

This board has often meditated on the meaning of a Harvard education and what the administration and we students can do to make it better, but here, we wish to highlight the dedicated and often underappreciated workers at Harvard whose hard work allows us to sit down and think critically about these issues in the first place. To our amazing workers: Thank you for all the work you put into making Harvard a home and proper learning environment for so many of us. You are an indispensable part of our campus and community, and we are so glad to see this institution open up some of its educational opportunities to you.

Going forward, we call on Harvard to further invest and expand on these programs. Such programs should be more extensive and cheaper for Harvard employees. If anything, workers should not be charged for these programs. Similar to the CAMHS hotline that was made possible by alumni donations, these programs could benefit immensely from donations made in their contribution and should be more publicized.

To our alumni: The next time you wish to make a donation, please consider the many workers you may or may not have interacted with during your time here that have made your Harvard experience one that compels you to donate, and give back to them.

Although there is a lot to be done to address education inequality at Harvard and beyond, programs such as TAP and the Bridge program are a step in the right direction. Harvard should take as much pride in such initiatives as it does in others. This is the Harvard we are proud of.

This staff editorial solely represents the majority view of The Crimson Editorial Board. It is the product of discussions at regular Editorial Board meetings. In order to ensure the impartiality of our journalism, Crimson editors who choose to opine and vote at these meetings are not involved in the reporting of articles on similar topics.

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