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Hey! Do You Have a Minute? It’s Me, Your Best Friend!

Four UC presidential tickets debate and answer questions on platforms, past accomplishments, and plans for the Council if elected.
Four UC presidential tickets debate and answer questions on platforms, past accomplishments, and plans for the Council if elected. By Zorigoo Tugsbayar
By Shireen Younus, Crimson Opinion Writer
Shireen Younus ’20, a Crimson Editorial Comp Director, is a Government concentrator living in Pforzheimer House. Her column appears on alternate Fridays.

Hey! How are you?! It’s been so long since I’ve seen you! Why didn’t we ever end up grabbing that meal? Tell me, how have you been? Oh, I totally feel you, midterm season is brutal.

Wait! Before you head out, do you mind if I ask you something?

Awesome! So, I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but I’m very passionate about making Harvard a better place, and recently I’ve been thinking about taking that to the next level. In fact, I’ve decided to make the ultimate sacrifice a student leader in the Harvard community can make. Yes, I already spend tons of hours each week (at least two!) devoting myself to the student body of Harvard College, but now I’m ready to commit myself even further.

I know what you’re thinking. I already do so much, how could I do even more? You’ve seen me posting on Facebook about how hard it is to perform the emotional labor that comes with being a student activist. (Hosting one or two town halls about pressing campus issues really takes so much out of you!) And I constantly talk about the change that I have single-handedly implemented here at the College (change that of course was the result of only my own hard work, not that of students and administrators who had these goals for decades prior to my arrival at Harvard.)

But I know I can do more — so here I am. I’m running for president.

I’m doing this for you — I care about you so much, and you have no idea how much I want to help you, and how much I want to advocate for you, and how much I want to change your life. I promise this is not about my resume — why would I want that?

(Also, was it your birthday last week? I saw your Insta post; you looked gorgeous as always!)

You and I both know that Harvard needs to change. But you should also know that I am the person who will bring that change. Yes, countless students have come before me advocating for reform, like improving social life and mental health care. Yes, none of them were able to achieve their visions. And yes, I’m going to be different — If you want to know why, just check my website and let yourself be seduced by the music video and cute infographics on there! And while you’re at it, why don’t you also sign the petition I started to bring back Harvard Time? (Because once the administration knows what students want, they will definitely give it to us.)

Oh! You’re wondering whether I will advocate for reversing the final club sanctions? That’s a tricky question. Of course I want all students to feel welcome on campus and have a social space here. I mean I really want all students, regardless of gender or socioeconomic status, to feel like Harvard is a home for them, you know? And I hope we can build Harvard to be a place where no one feels excluded, but also a place where people can associate with whoever they want. Does that answer your question?

To build off of that, my goal is to represent the entire student body. That’s why I’ve been doing so much outreach to minority student groups and cultural organizations — to include everyone, not to collect votes. Of course, I don’t always actually support the policies these groups ask me to support, but that’s just politics, it’s not personal. Because I’m representing everyone, that does mean that sometimes I can’t advocate for every group’s specific needs. But don’t worry! Just because I’m not voting the way I’m telling you I’m voting doesn’t mean I won’t fulfill all my campaign promises once you elect me.

I know you might be thinking that I’m the same old candidate who shows up every year begging for your vote. I know that’s annoying. But I’m different. You know me. I mean, we’ve never had more than a basic, superficial conversation every few months or so, and I might not know what your concentration is, or where you’re from, or even your last name — but never mind all that. Every time I see you I scream and hug you and act like I’m your best friend, and that has to count for something, right? We’ve been close like that since Opening Days, and of course that’s never had anything to do with my plans to run for this position. It’s all about you! You’re super important to me, so your vote would just mean so, so much to me.

Okay, I know you have to go, but let me say just one last thing. I’ve heard there are crazy rumors going around about me and my vice-president. Elections can get rough, but honestly it makes me so sad that some people try to play dirty to win. I mean, all I want is for the best person to win, and I don’t even understand how anyone could do that, but —

But listen, listen! — I think you should know that even though the other candidates act like they’re so clean, their entire campaign has actually been really messed up. I don’t want to spread gossip or anything, but I have it on good authority they’ve been breaking the campaigning rules. I’ve even heard that they’re forcing people to vote for them! Again, I don’t want to spread any rumors, I’m staying above all that, but I think you should know. Just so you can make an informed decision, right?

Alright, then — thank you so much for hearing me out! I really do hope you’re on board. I’m honestly just so passionate about this campaign and about doing all I can for Harvard — and for you, of course! Really, that line on my resume and the spiel I’ve already prepared to give recruiters and graduate school admissions is just the cherry on top. Really, I don’t think about any of that at all.

And let’s grab that meal sometime!

Shireen Younus ’20, a Crimson Editorial Comp Director, is a Government concentrator living in Pforzheimer House. Her column appears on alternate Fridays.

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