removed Christmas trees from their holiday cups. Because this event is on par with the massive changes concerning the overhaul of the gen-ed program at Harvard and the renaming of the new SEAS school, it’s important to ask the questions: is this a catastrophe? Improvement? Not a big deal? Flyby investigated Harvard freshmen’s opinions on this pressing and important change to find out:
Akash Wasal ‘19 felt “mostly apathy with a twinge of support.” He felt that it was a good move that Starbucks was explicitly reaching out to other religions by removing the Christmas tree from the cups, but that it wouldn’t have been bad if they had decided to keep the tree because Christmas has become secularized.
Regarding Starbucks’ move, Irene Saksom ‘19 said, “I think it’s completely justified,” voicing similar opinions to Wasal ‘19 in regarding Christmas as a secularized holiday. Saksom also believed that there was no reason for Starbucks to celebrate one category of people or religion over others.
Although she considers herself a Starbucks frequenter, Jessica Li ‘19 was not very aware of the change in the cup when I brought up the subject. “A lot of trends are moving that way,” she said, describing Starbucks as following the “nondenominational trend.” Although she had no strong opinion on the change, she said she could see both sides of the issue. She imagined that one side would say that the removal of the tree was “excessive.” What were the operational costs in changing the design? But on the other hand, Li believed that this move demonstrates that Starbucks is more accepting of different religions and cultures.
It appears that Harvard students feel surprisingly neutral and even somewhat supportive of the change. Indeed, as the debate rages on throughout the rest of the country, we may comfort ourselves with the fact that, adorned with a Christmas tree or not, there is still coffee in our cups.