Crimson staff writer
Dear FM, This week, I am a little ashamed to admit, I entered my gym bro era. If you see me stomping down the Cabot tunnels wearing bulky headphones and a tank top, I’m sorry. To the dismay of many people in my life, I have suddenly found myself wholly devoted to the pursuit of gains. I don’t know when the gains will come — or when I’ll snap out of it. But I do know this: in the meantime, there’s a new issue to read. IYG kicks us off with a top-notch cover story on the uncertain future of diversity and inclusion at Harvard. Amid nationwide controversy over allegations of antisemitism on university campuses, Harvard’s DEI efforts have come under fire from conservative activists. But this attack was brewing long before Oct. 7, and now many within the University are also calling for reform. How will Harvard respond? It is a fascinating and vital story: if you want to understand the ideological battle over Harvard’s values and campus culture, this is a must-read. Editing this piece, I have been in awe of the clarity and nuance of IYG’s writing, the ocean-floor depth of her reporting, and the unbelievable amount of work she has put in over the last month. Next up, JL gets a golf cart tour of the Arnold Arboretum from its director, Professor Ned Friedman, and asks him (almost) 15 Questions about his love of plants, evolution before Darwin, and “botanizing.” SSL visits the Abigail Adams Institute, which is trying to resurrect a more “traditional” vision of the humanities. VWR takes a trek up to Cabot House and talks to the student managers of the recently-reopened Quad Bikes about fixing tires and sustainable transit. And doubling back for this week’s endpaper, SSL reveals her defining personality trait: a penchant for asking to pet strangers’ dogs. Some thanks are in order: to GRW for sticking out a multi-day scroofing process and to IYG for not going over the semicolon budget. Thank you to SET, LPE, and the design execs for putting together a magnificent short-notice glossy, to LLL and BHP for holding down the Multi fort, and to MJH, CY, and EJS for making sure nobody runs into brick walls. Thank you to our lovely FM execs, to our new compers for bringing great pitches to writer’s meeting, to YAK and JL for making EAL meetings so entertaining, and to KT, for weathering storms and always, always helping. FMLove, HD & KT
Dear FM, This week was the week of love. Mushy gushy Valentine’s Day love? Sure. Gal/bro/non-gender-specific-friends-lentines love? Hit me. But most of all, this was the week of love for hometowns, nonstandard units of length, and unhinged answers on the Datamatch survey. First-time scrut writers and news reporter extraordinaires MAH and AJM brought to the cover of this issue their labor of love: a long-awaited scrut on Jewish students’ and organizations’ challenges navigating the politicization of antisemitism and their identities following Oct. 7. It is a deeply important and well-reported piece, full of interviews with students with a range of backgrounds, experiences, and perspectives. It is interrogative yet respectful, compelling and sharp, targeting questions about defining antisemitism and the political tensions within and between groups that our existing coverage has long danced around. Words cannot emphasize how amazing this piece is — MAH and AJM, I am completely blown away by both of you. The rest of this issue, too, is full of labors of love, from the silly to the serious — and everything in between! For this week’s 15Q, DRZ speaks to biological anthropologist Daniel E. Lieberman about exercise and evolution, barefoot running, and his paper on why pregnant people don’t just “tip over.” YAK, ever on her relationships/sex/conservatism(?) beat, speaks to the matchmakers advertising clients in personals in the Harvard Magazine. After attending an event on historians’ and scientists’ efforts to identify the enslaved individuals buried in the Catoctin Furnace Cemetery, AI investigates the role of gene sequencing in tracing African American history. CJK speaks to Lee S. Smith ’69, managing editor of his class’s Harvard Yearbook, about photojournalism and documenting the Black political activism of his time. On a lighter note, OGP and AEP talked to Oliver R. Smoot about how there came to be markings on the Harvard Bridge measuring it in terms of his height. Prolific JKW, carrier of FM, strikes again with a levity on a perfectly horrific Datamatch date between Pisa Schitt and Steve Vulguy. And finally, tying our issue to a close, SZS writes a beautiful homage to her hometown, Chico, CA, which she learned to love when she finally left it. Thank you SET, LPE, and design execs for amazing graphics always and for helping with glossy planning. Thank you to LLL and BHP, our beloved FM-multi execs, for helping us with getting photos — I know it can be tough! Thank you to MJH, EJS, and CY, the holy trinity of damage control. Thank you to all FM execs, especially YAK for diligent scroofing, and JL and YAK for keeping FM a well-oiled machine. And of course, thank you to HD for your support this week, your speedy proofing, and your quick thinking — what would I do without you? FMLove, HD & KT
Dear FM, This weekend, it has felt like winter might already be over. But the new year of Fifteen Minutes is only just beginning, and we are brimming with joy to be bringing you its first issue. In this week’s cover story, AEP and first-time scrut writer CNS investigate the high school creative writing competition circuit. Contests like YoungArts and the Scholastic Awards offer students a chance to showcase their literary talent and can open pathways to prestigious colleges, but they can also incentivize students to commodify their identity or write about painful experiences. The jury’s still out on the competitions, but you don’t need a judge to tell you how hard our two brilliant reporters worked to put together such a sharp story — I’m so proud of them. Leading us into the issue is a trio of 15Qs: JL chats with the newly-minted Nobel Prize winner Claudia Goldin about economics and Barbie; JKW talks to HLS professor Jeannie Suk Gersen, who has incisive answers on everything from free speech to fast fashion; and ESK receives insights and book recommendations from Sarah Richardson, a historian who founded an interdisciplinary gender science lab. This rest of this issue takes us far from home — in time, in place, and in magnitude. JKW uncovers the strange history of Harvard’s 17th-century ferry monopoly and the Supreme Court case it eventually inspired. MAT reflects on what fossil fuels and their precarious future mean to his community in Texas’s Permian Basin, which produces most of the country’s oil and gas. Finally, in a delicate and beautiful endpaper, EMK questions her relationship to science, poetry, and approximation. Thank you to SET, LPE, JJG, AYL — and everyone else from Multi and Design who held our hands through this issue — and to our trio of guiding lights: MJH, EJS, and CY. Thank you to our execs, especially SEW for extremely efficient scrut-proofing, to our new Editors-At-Large YAK and JL for top-tier themes on their pitch emails, and of course to my co-chair KT for being on top of everything, always. A special thank you to IYG and AHL, for tutorials that make adminning feel like Mario Kart, for banana slug plushies, and for making sure we were as prepared for this role as possible. We can only hope to be as steadfast and strong for this coming year as you were in your leadership. And what a year we have ahead of us. FMLove, HD & KT
Dear Reader, This semester has gone by all too fast. Just as the year seems to have started, the end of the semester is upon us. But for this year’s seniors, the semester’s end is just the first of many lasts, the primer to many goodbyes. But before they leave, FM has profiled 15 of those graduating seniors. To select them, we asked students to nominate seniors for different superlative categories, just like your old high school yearbook. In this issue, we profiled the Class of 2024’s Most Likely to be President, Most Whimsical, Biggest Risk-taker, and Most Chill, among others. Read on to see how these seniors both fit and transcend their categories and to learn about all the cool things they’ve gotten up to in their four years in college — one senior competed on American Idol, another spent a summer cataloging a papuan language, and yet another is researching how the post-industrial Western diet has changed humans’ gut microbiota and overall health. Harvard kids, am I right? Read HWD’s 15Q with Yevgenia Albats, the editor-in-chief and CEO of the Russian publication The New Times. Don’t forget to check out PC’s comic on pregaming and SWF’s amazing crossword, the last one of the year (!), and try to find the easter egg for each profiled senior. Also check out our “Parting Shots” to read our reflections from our outgoing and incoming mastheads. Ending the issue are endpapers from CJC and BLK, the 150th’s president and managing editor. In her endpaper, CJC writes about what it means to lead The Crimson, and how all that takes on new stakes and new meaning during times of crisis. BLK reflects on the ways that his father has shaped him. Unlike our dear seniors, we are not graduating at the end of this year, but at the end of this semester we are saying a goodbye of our own and stepping down as the chairs of Fifteen Minutes. We’d be remiss to sign off without sharing a few words of gratitude. Thank you to SS, SCS, MHS, MQ, JH, JJG, and SET for maestro magic. Your photos and designs never cease to amaze, it’s truly been a joy to work with you. Special thanks SET for redesigning the glossy, and for your kindness and constant willingness to help — both as a collaborator and as a friend. BLK and MX, thank you so much for grounding us this year. Your wisdom, support, and care made all that we do possible. CJC, thank you for leading this building with such impressive competence and grace, and for truly caring and believing in the work that FM does. To FM’s execs: You have been such a joy to work alongside. Thank you to MGB, poet extraordinaire, and always-composed JL for being such diligent and kind comp directors. Thank you BWF for being such a thoughtful and brilliant inquiry editor, and for keeping me humble. Thank you to JKW for being such a caring introspection editor, and for bringing your humor to every meeting. Thank you to CJK for being so real and for absolutely slaying social media with SWF, who, while studying Folk and Myth, is a legend herself. Thank you to DRZ for helping plan so many amazing socials, all while pre-med-ing. Thank you to MMFW for constant fun, always giving us perspective, and radical optimism. Thank you to KLM for bringing the sass and for being so reliable. Thank you to SEW for your constant cheer and enthusiasm, and for getting me through Hist Sci 100. Thank you to GRW for lending us your artistic chops, good convos, and for often lending us a helping hand. Thank you to HD for being such a cool CS major number cruncher for us on AET. Your talents are what really enable our magazine to thrive, and for that we cannot thank you enough. MG and KT, what is there I could possibly say to capture what you have been to this magazine this past year? You have been our foundation, taking on additional editing, and proofing, and scrut editing whenever needed and without a single complaint or hesitation. But more than that, you have been such good friends. We’ve dished, we’ve laughed, we’ve cried (or at least very much wanted to), and you have been there at every turn with words of encouragement, good advice, and a hug. Michal, have such a fantastic time in Rome. I cannot wait to hear all about it next fall. Kaitlyn, I am so for your chairdom, it’s gonna be so great. You two have been the best possible EALs, and I will miss our weekly meetings so so so much. To HD, KT, JL, YAK, AEP, JKW, and the rest of next year’s masthead: I can’t imagine a more talented, funny, and kind group of people to hand this magazine off to. It’s going to be so much fun. To SSL, MVE, thank you for teaching us so much, and for your never ending support. This year would not have been possible without you. To staff writers and recently elected compers: Joining FM, and committing to FM, has been by far the most meaningful thing I have done in college. Thank you for all you have given FM already, and know that though The Crimson can be scary and ask a lot, what you give FM you will get back. Finally, and most of all, Amber. I don’t think “thank you” is even adequate to express how deeply grateful I am to have gotten to work alongside you this year. There have been some real high highs and some real low lows, and through it all you have continued to pour your talents into this magazine and helped curate excellent vibes. This magazine is truly so much better for everything you have given it. Thank you for being such a great partner — I have so needed someone to commiserate with. But more than that, I have cherished our FM debriefs post Chinese class, collecting roast material, the life advice, the funny stories, the friendship. I’m going to miss you so much next semester, but have such a great time in Taiwan (and teach me some slang when you get back). Writing this last closeout was bittersweet, y’all. It’s hard to let go of something you’ve put so much time and care into. Leading FM has truly been such a rewarding and formative experience, and I feel so lucky to have gotten to be FM Chair. So thank you so so much, to everyone who has shown their faith and love for FM, it has been such an honor to know all of you. Retirement here we come! IYG & AHL
FM profiled 15 graduating seniors, each assigned to a different superlative categories, just like your old high school yearbook. Read on to see how these seniors both fit and transcend their superlative and to learn about all the cool things they’ve gotten up to — one senior competed on American Idol, another spent a summer cataloging a papuan language, and yet another is researching how the post-industrial Western diet has changed humans’ gut microbiota and overall health. Harvard kids, am I right?
Dear Reader, It’s officially December. Just like that, a full year has gone by. We’ve seen compers become writers, writers become execs, and execs climb to new heights. We’ve published 19 issues, with one last one on the way. But we run on Harvard time, and so it’s hard to believe that all this has happened because there is still so much more to do: finals, formals, and general finalizing. It’s hard to believe that it’s soon coming to an end. In this issue, our penultimate issue, JL and EKS write about Harvard’s history with Indigenous tribes. And boy is it a fraught one. Those involved with Harvard’s founding were some of the most prolific colonizers. For one, many of Harvard’s founders played leading roles in the Pequot Massacre, which resulted in the acquisition of thousands of acres of land for Harvard and the expulsion of the Pequot nation from southern New England. Because of a life-saving donation from a missionary society, Harvard’s charter of 1650 includes a promise to educate Native Americans. Since then, very few Native Americans from the tribes that Harvard has helped oppress have been able to benefit from a Harvard education. After a semester of researching and reporting, JL and EKS bring to light the ways that Harvard’s Indigenous students have fought for representation and education, and the bridges that the University still has yet to build. Guest writer SWZ reflects on the legacy of the late great poet Louise Gluck. AEP and MTB write about the experiences of those who are dual-enrolled in either the Harvard- New England Conservatory program or the Harvard-Berklee Dual Degree program, which many claim have issues with inter-school coordination and communication. HD writes a diligent profile of Harvard dropout Avi Schiffman, who is known for developing a Covid-19 case tracker and a website to help refugees find housing. In the time since, he’s shifted focus and is now building an AI necklace called Tab that acts as a “wearable life coach,” with the intention to “conquer” the world of wearable AI. VX does a deep-dive into Boston’s supper club scene, enjoying crostini and olive oil cake with a serving of human-interest reporting. She talks to the hosts of some of the most popular supper clubs and learns about the motivations for hosting what is, in essence, a small restaurant with little, if any, financial gains. ETS and AXN write about Cash for Your Warhol, a decades-long prank that started with the 2008 global financial crisis. NYS profiles Matta Zheng, a second-year student at the Harvard Divinity School, about their journey to discovering queer studies and performance — including drag — and Buddhist spirituality. NYS also hits us with a poignant inquiry about the toxic intoxicating thrill of hustle culture, grounded in her longtime love for Subway Surfers. MD and LG write about the new rage in Somerville: adopting storm water drains as pets. Some of the best (corniest) drain names: “The Grateful Drain,” “Emotionally Drained,” “You’re So Drain, You Probably Sink This Name Is About You.” SWF and MG (and their editors) crawl the streets of Cambridge to find the best bar vibe (in scarves). In a pair of levities, SJ takes us behind the scenes of the goings-on of the typical literary magazine, and CES writes an advice column in the voice of our very own John Harvard, who has more than a few pearls of wisdom to share with us. In this week’s 15 Questions, SEW talks to Andrew Manuel Crespo about his work on ending mass incarceration, criminal law, and the value of playing high school football. Be sure to check out the crossword tab made by JB, which will be sure to get you in the holiday spirit. RCG closes out this issue with an endpaper about calligraphy, a skill she picked up from her mother, where the physical meets the visual. Many thanks are in order. I will not be able to thank you all. Thank you to SS, SCS, MHS, MQ, JH, JJG, and especially all-star SET for being there for us always and forever to provide beautiful graphics for our stories and (redesigned) glossies this year and for brightening our Tuesdays. You guys put so much work into our little magazine, for which we will always be grateful. Thank you to BLK and MX for the work you do, thankless as it usually is, because without you, everything as we know it would crash and burn. It’s been a year; sleep easy in your retirement knowing that this paper is better thanks to all you’ve done. To our execs: Thank you to the pawpaw-loving-constantly-sunny SWF and our always-witty CK for absolutely killing it with social media and being our map masters, our resident sci-fi writer HD for AET and providing general assistance, our no-days-off comedian JKW and lovely token premed DRZ for always slaying the newsletter, our gentle poet MGB and coolest-in-the-room JL for being amazing comp directors, always-thoughtful KT and JKW for introspectioning, DRZ and our oh-so Jessica Day-esque MG for bringing the ragers, our stalwart-and-unexpected GRW for your keen eye and eagerness to help, bestie BWF for inquiry editing + crossword editing + always going above and beyond, everyone’s favorite exec MMFW for always bringing the vibes, always-serving KLM and beautiful-and-bubbly SEW for bringing joy and getting the hang of execing so quick. You all are the reason this magazine is alive and well — hell, you are this magazine. We know it’s not always easy. Thank you; you bring me so much happiness. MG and KT: What would we do without you? You have single-handedly changed the role of EAL (and chair) to make everything more sustainable with your brilliant scrut-editing, not to mention the many, many extra articles you have edited, proofed and adminned to accommodate for the execs and keep everything running smoothly. I am in awe of you, always, and will miss our weekly meetings deeply. Well, KT, you have many more of those meetings ahead of you. JL and YAK: While you have big shoes to fill, I know you will fill them well, and with style. You’re superstars. KT and HD, I can sleep well at night knowing that you will keep FM what it is and make it even better. I have so much pride and faith in you and am so excited to see what you’ll do this upcoming year. To our new execs: You are the future; I know all of you will do an amazing job. To our newly initiated compers: Congrats! We are so happy to have you! (Thanks AEP and JKW). To the ghosts of days of yore (SSL, MVE, JJG): Thank you for believing in us and teaching us everything. To Io, the love of my life. We have come a long way. The road has been, at times, treacherous, but it’s easier having a steadfast soldier like you by my side. I can say with confidence that we have given our all to our humble magazine and raised it the best we could. We’ve faced many fires, but I feel so very lucky to have been a part of this beautiful club, and especially to do it with you. Again, it’s hard to believe that this is coming to an end, that this will be my last closeout. Io, I know that we joke that we have become this magazine, but I think that it’s true. These past two years of college have been defined by FM, and I know it will continue to shape the rest of my life. I am so honored to have been able to help lead this wonderful publication, and most of all, to know the wonderful people who helped make it happen. FM Love, Amber