On the website of The Jungle Music Club, a live music venue in Somerville, Mass., is a petition written by owner and co-manager Sam J. Epstein. “Let musicians work outside for 1 month before the long winter,” it reads.
The group decided to partner with Asian American and Pacific Islander-owned restaurants to sell stickers of their iconic dishes or drinks, with 75 percent of proceeds going to the business and a charity of its choice — the goal being to both bring restaurants publicity and support community work. And so Sticky Locals was born.
Even though Boston Symphony Hall stands silent today, its music is "coming to life again" in Benjamin Zander's driveway. "Since May, Benjamin Zander’s two-car driveway on Brattle Street has slowly filled with live music; the audience now reaches 200 guests, spread out across the driveway and down the street, all wearing masks."
Before students were sent home in March, CrimsonEMS responsibilities were confined to Harvard’s campus. Members were required to dedicate at least five hours a month volunteering at athletic events, social events, and other school sanctioned activities, ready to step in and aid fellow students at any moment. But at home and away from their campus expectations, some CrimsonEMS members turned their focus toward their own communities.
Amid renewed and perhaps unprecedented demand, the companies that have come to dominate the food delivery industry charge partnered restaurants between 25 percent and 30 percent of profits on every order. John F. Schall, the owner of Harvard Square’s El Jefe’s Taqueria (fondly known as “Jefe’s”), frames the issue simply, “The delivery companies have developed a business model that is absolutely destroying the supply chain that they depend on.”
University presidents and administrators often toss around the idea of the “Harvard experience,” referring to some nebulous, borderline-magical adventure — one that includes far more than academic classes, ranging from clubs to arts to spontaneity with new friends. This year’s freshmen students have to reconceptualize their expectations for what “the Harvard experience” means — remotely-enrolled freshmen most of all.
When Sarah E. Gyorog first heard about Massachusetts’ stay-at-home order, she immediately thought, “but home isn’t safe for everybody.” As the executive director of Transition House, Cambridge’s sole domestic violence shelter, she knew that the order could pose increased risk for survivors.
“You’re scattered all over the country, all over the world. You’re literally taken away from the community that you’re trying to organize in,” says Zoe L. Hopkins ’22, incoming president of the Harvard Organization for Prison Education and Advocacy. “The meaning of community organizing just changes completely.”
The switch to remote learning brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic has challenged all members of the University’s large and diverse student body. But the burden of finishing the school year away from Harvard’s campus weighs more heavily on certain students than others — and often those from first-generation or low-income (FGLI) backgrounds, from rural homes, and from time zones across the globe shoulder a disproportionate load. While the possibility of a fall semester conducted entirely or partially online looms, students must weigh the continuation of their education against the frustrations and fears that accompany college during quarantine.
With some estimates predicting that 40 percent of local businesses will not reopen after the pandemic ends and that another 25 percent will fail within the year, Harvard students may return to a neighborhood that looks radically different from the one they left in mid-March.
Research delays, funding cancellations, and the burden of remote teaching — piled on top of caretaking, financial insecurities, and social-distancing — have put Harvard's graduate students in a precarious position during the pandemic. With the University's response seeming, at times, to equivocate, thousands of students' immediate and long term futures hang in the balance.