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Harvard Undergraduate Association Talks Operation Turkey, Fall Budget at Weekly Meeting

As part of an HUA mascot initiative, turkeys — which have long roamed Harvard Square — could become a regular sight on Harvard's sidelines.
As part of an HUA mascot initiative, turkeys — which have long roamed Harvard Square — could become a regular sight on Harvard's sidelines. By Julian J. Giordano
By Jonah C. Karafiol, Crimson Staff Writer

The Harvard Undergraduate Association announced plans to move forward with an unofficial turkey mascot at the body’s weekly meeting Sunday evening at Smith Campus Center.

The project, known as Operation Turkey, aims to boost school spirit by bringing a turkey mascot to sporting events. Though the College’s official mascot is “John Harvard the Pilgrim” and its athletic teams compete as the “Harvard Crimson,” last year, the body allocated $1,000 toward a pilot of the turkey mascot.

“We have the Crimson brand, we have the Crimson color, but you can’t really get behind a color,” Social Life Officer Jonathan Haileselassie ’26 said at the meeting.

As part of the planning process, project representatives have consulted with the creator of the Boston Red Sox mascot, “Wally the Green Monster.” HUA members also passed around various fabric samples for the turkey suit to meeting attendees.

Further considerations involve cleaning the mascot costume and training future generations of mascot performers, according to Austin D. Kaufman ’25, one of the students spearheading Operation Turkey.

“The infrastructure is super important, and we want to make sure that that’s in place so that this project can keep going for years and years and years,” Kaufman said.

The HUA unanimously approved $1,200 to fund the mascot’s costume. Students will be able to vote on the mascot’s name in the HUA’s first referendum, which will take place at the end of October.

During the vote, students will have the opportunity to weigh in on reforms to the HUA’s financial procedure and sustainability goals.

The HUA Finance Team also provided an update on the HUA’s budget at the meeting. In all, the HUA has a budget of $261,250 for the fall semester, according to HUA Co-Treasurer Corbin C. Lubianski ’24.

The Finance Team received more than $25,000 in funding requests for October and allocated $6,000 of the team’s budget towards these requests. The HUA allocated more than $215,000 toward fall 2023 semesterly requests.

At Sunday’s meeting, the Social Life Team also announced their Picture Perfect event, which will provide students with free high-quality headshots taken outside of Widener Library.

“Harvard students are doing professional programs, fellowships, summer programs, stuff like that that they need headshots for,” Haileselassie said. “A lot of times, that takes a lot of planning and a lot of scheduling, and it could also be a money barrier for a lot of students.

“We just want to make sure that those barriers are torn down,” he added.

The HUA also announced forums on residential accommodations and mental health, in partnership with the Harvard Undergraduate Disability Justice Club.

The Residential Accommodations Forum, which will take place during the week of Nov. 5, will allow students to discuss problems around living accommodations faced by students with disabilities with representatives from the Disability Access Office, Dean of Students Office, and other administrative bodies.

The Mental Health Forum will take place during the week of Nov. 19 and will enable conversations on medical extensions and leaves of absence.

The forum will include representatives from the DAO, Counseling and Mental Health Service, the Harvard University Police Department, and Harvard University Health Services. It will focus on supporting students who require additional academic accommodations due to disabilities.

–Jonah C. Karafiol can be reached at Follow him on X @jonahkarafiol.

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