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Harvard Government concentrator turned food entrepreneur Arturo Elizondo ’14 is campaigning for a spot on the Board of Overseers, the University’s second-highest governing body.
One of five candidates endorsed by the Coalition for a Diverse Harvard, an alumni advocacy group that aims to promote diversity and equity at the University, Elizondo is a first-time candidate focused on bringing a wider range of voices into the ranks of Harvard’s administration.
Elizondo is co-founder and CEO of The EVERY Company, a food technology startup dedicated to shifting menus toward sustainable, animal-free protein. A former Lowell House resident, Elizondo helped to create the Harvard Latinx Student Association and volunteered at the Harvard Square Homeless Shelter during his years as an undergraduate.
Elizondo pointed to climate change, artificial intelligence, and student mental health as the most pressing challenges facing Harvard in the coming years.
Citing an undergraduate experience that inspired him to believe he could “change the world,” Elizondo said if he wins a seat on the Board of Overseers, he hopes to give students the “confidence to take this leap of faith.”
“I’m incredibly privileged and lucky to have had the education that I had, to have the resources I had to do it, and I want everyone to feel that way,” he said.
Elizondo said his campaign’s focus on student well-being and mental health stems from a personal understanding of the challenges that come with attending Harvard.
“I lost a friend to suicide while I was at Harvard. I lost a housemate to suicide,” he said. “We need to do everything we can to not have that story repeat itself.”
“I think that Harvard can be a really incredible place but also a really tough place to thrive,” he added. “I’d love to see Harvard continue building on the tools that it has so that everyone can thrive in this kind of environment, no matter where we come from.”
After graduating from the College, Elizondo interned for Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor. By then, his focus was already shifting to biotechnology, food, and entrepreneurship.
Elizondo was named the National Hispanic Institute’s Person of the Year in 2019 and recognized in the Forbes “30 Under 30” list at the age of 27, alongside several other awards honoring his entrepreneurial work.
If elected, Elizondo said he would commit to transparency around Harvard’s governing boards “as much as I’m allowed to.”
Still, Elizondo said he believes individuals have a “limited” ability to change the governing system and hopes to instead provide a “perspective from alumni and from people outside the ivory tower.”
“Ultimately, these are my views,” he said. “At the very least, I want to ensure that that voice is in the room so that when the administration is making decisions, that there’s a seat at that table, that there’s a voice in that room.”
Elizondo stressed the importance of maintaining Harvard’s role on the international stage.
“Our world is changing so quickly, and we can’t afford to be on the sidelines,” he said.
“I want Harvard to become a beacon of hope — be that example of what institutions can do to lead,” he added.
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