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A Salute to Diversity

By Taryn I. Kurcz, Crimson Staff Writer

I was using shimmery gold duct tape to hang the senior events calendar on my wall when I almost tripped over Craig, the 60-cubic-foot inflatable blue whale my roommate mysteriously brought home one night.

After kicking him in the tail to move him out of my way, I realized the absurdity of the extra large blow-up animal living on the floor of my common room for the better part of two months. Admittedly, owning Craig for so long is a little strange. But at the same time, it makes sense in the ridiculous narrative my roommates and I have created over the last few years.

Craig fits into our weird shared history: from his original adoption to his widely lauded appearance at another roommate’s final home water polo game, not to mention the fact that it took an entire episode of The Amazing Race to blow him up.

And as I look around my common room, I realize Craig isn’t the only piece of strangeness we’ve latched on to. As the year has progressed, the white space of our room has grown smaller and smaller as a sometimes disturbing, always memorable hodgepodge of stuff has taken over our walls.

Is it even okay to have a tacky, bedazzled, six-foot-long “You Look Gorgeous” sign on the wall right when you walk in the door? Or an enlarged laminated photo of men’s basketball player Keith Wright’s head (also duct taped) posted next to the window? What about the white board tallying beer pong victories? Or the blown-up image of the four of us looking like fools at our last 21st birthday?

The answer is that it’s more than okay—it’s encouraged. Every single decoration in my common room tells a unique story that creates a timeline of what has happened over the past two semesters. The weirdness of each individual item—and especially of the conglomeration of the entire room—is something that should be celebrated.

If anything, the stories behind the eclectic accumulation of the stuff in my common room—from the pin-the-nose-on-the-pumpkin still on our wall from Halloween to the name tag permanently ingrained on our floor since our HBO-themed party—has only made my Harvard experience more memorable and special.

What’s even more meaningful is that I’ve realized the entire random, outlandish plethora of accumulated room adornment is just like the sports board at The Crimson.

Individually, we seem like we should each be our own entity. We have people who write in hopes of turning it into a career and people who do it just as a hobby; we have varsity athletes and people who still push with two hands when shooting a basketball.

We have extremely varied majors, campus houses, and social scenes. I am confident that I would not have met two-thirds of the members of the sports board—let alone be so close to so many of them—had I not joined it myself.

But when we all come together, we create something. Despite being from all sorts of backgrounds and having a wide range of personalities, we band together because we share the same unifying interests.

And just as I would never change the absurd décor in my room, I would never want to alter the makeup of the sports board. It’s not just a bunch of stereotypical nerds or jocks or anything in between; it’s a family of individual people who have come together to produce some phenomenal content over the years.

Even if post-college life looks down upon using metallic duct tape as a wall decoration or having a larger-than-life-sized head of a college basketball player hanging next to the window, the celebration of individualism and weirdness that those things represent—like the sports board does—is something that I hope to hold on to forever.

—Staff writer Taryn I. Kurcz can be reached at

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