Crimson staff writer
Dear Reader, Things are settling into a weird kind of normal. We on the mag are in places we never would have imagined we’d be a few weeks ago. But we’re figuring out how to keep going — how to meet and edit when we can’t gather physically, how to care for each other when we’re not on the same campus, how to report when we’re separated by hundreds of miles from the stories we’re trying to tell. We hope you’ve been able to figure out how to keep going, too. This week, we’ve brought you the scoop on the effect that COVID-19 has had on Harvard and Cambridge: JZL investigated the closing of Somerville Hospital’s Emergency Department in the face of a mounting global medical emergency. OGP and TS talked to professors about how they’re keeping students excited and engaged over Zoom. AKEC reported on what life is like for the few students who have remained on Harvard’s campus. ANW explored how the instructors of Economics 10 are changing their curriculum to reflect the unprecedented economic circumstances of the moment. And BFC talked to a Harvard scientist working research to find a coronavirus vaccine. We have some pieces if you want to get your mind off of coronavirus, too: HRTW and MFXE profiled Favia Dubyk ’08, a doctor and boulderer working to break down barriers to access to the outdoors for people of color. RC brainstormed ways for you to spend time with your newly long-distance significant other. And MGK penned a stunning endpaper for this week, about what “home” means as a military kid who moved frequently throughout her childhood and as a college student who recently had to move off campus. Our cover story this week is by my inimitable co-chair AWDA, who wrote about the role final clubs play in the competition for space in Harvard Square. Many final clubs receive tax exemptions because of their status as social clubs, granting them an advantage over small businesses and real estate firms alike in this competition. AWDA has reported on the dynamic that results with compassion, patience, precision, and unflagging diligence. Wherever in the world you are, we hope there is safety and warmth and something resembling normalcy. We don’t know where the world will be in a week — but know that we’ll be here. Yours until then, NHP
Dearest Reader, In past issues, we’ve taken to filling this space with updates about the weather in Cambridge. Given the circumstances, though, that seems irrelevant and extraneous, perhaps even frivolous. But apparently there have been some sunny days this past week: Spring is on its way to Harvard Square, and we’ll treasure its arrival from afar. Wherever in the world you may be, we hope this issue of FM finds you healthy, safe, and adjusting to what seems to be the new normal — and please do pardon our frivolity. Much has changed quite fast. We, like so many others, were shocked by the University’s March 10 announcement moving classes online and ordering students to leave campus. As a magazine staffed entirely by undergraduates, FM’s operations, coverage, and production will inevitably have to change in these coming weeks. We pride ourselves on being not merely an outlet for some of the best journalism on Harvard’s campus but also a space where young writers can hone their voices amidst the guidance and encouragement of their peers and friends. Likewise, we know that many of our writers count on the income they receive for their work, especially now that so many campus jobs have disappeared. To uphold these standards, FM will continue its weekly production for the remainder of the semester, shifting our publication entirely online and expanding the scope of our coverage beyond Cambridge. We did not expect nor did we invite the challenge COVID-19 will pose to our magazine; nonetheless, we will try our hardest to keep doing what we do best in the face of it. Now perhaps more than ever, we believe it of particular importance to add a third dimension to our understanding of the news — to humanize the characters behind the facts and figures, to shed light on the threads neglected in daily coverage, to dive deep into the issues given superficial treatment in everyday discourse. With your support, we will continue to attempt to deliver this coverage — for the Harvard community and, now, for all of our communities. This week, SSL and MVE anchor our issue with a scrutiny on the history and future of Boston’s Chinatown. They report on how the physical space Chinatown occupies has become imbued with significance, allowing its influence to reach far beyond both its past and its physical borders. Gentrification threatens to uproot the foundations of the neighborhood — but longtime residents, business owners, and activists are fighting back. But that’s not all: GWO uncovers the unsavory history of the Harvard Law School Library’s Casperson Room, EDP profiles the first black woman to lead the Harvard Medical School’s student council, SSI explores the summer conference many high school students see as a path to Harvard College, and VEP makes her FM debut detailing the video game at the center of an international controversy now stored in a Harvard library. In the second installment of his column on gay male culture on and off campus, PGW writes an essay on violence and pornography, and AFRD closes out the issue with an endpaper on her experience living through a terrorist attack in Barcelona. Welcome, dear reader, to the Quarantine Edition of Fifteen Minutes Magazine. We hope you stick around for a while. Yours, Andrew W.D. Aoyama and Nina H. Pasquini Magazine Chairs of the 147th Guard Vivekae M. Kim Magazine Editor-at-Large of the 147th Guard Jane Z. Li, Maya H. McDougall, Malaika K. Tapper, Matteo N. Wong, Olivia G. Oldham, and Scott P. Mahon Associate Magazine Editors of the 147th Guard
Dearest Reader, When MKT first noticed Campus Reform's coverage of Harvard, she was surprised by its tenor, its tone: Many of the articles the conservative media outlet published centered on aspects of university life that her peers found, well, mostly normal. For this week's cover story, she dives into the alternate media reality sustained by Fox News and Campus Reform, exploring how and why it diverges from the reality most Harvard students know. And when those two realities come into conflict, rarely is it pretty. But that's not all you'll find in this issue: RLL profiles Changie Yuri, who is self-publishing a book of prose/poetry. SGL writes about the Harvard student who brought his mom to school with him — permanently. SDBB describes a musical instrument powered by fermenting vegetables. JZL gets to know Miss Chinatown USA. SSI explores a new payment method making its way through all your favorite Harvard Square shops. NBF demos what may well be the most expensive Gen Ed ever. KL visits the Boston Hassle Flea Market and takes in its "hardscrabble glory." Assuming you aren't "uncultured or a boomer," you'll love HTW's profile of viral Harvard TikTokker Joshua Chiang. And RC and SSL finish out the issue with two beautifully rendered endpapers. Read on, dear reader; we hope you love what you find! Yours, AWDA
Dearest Reader, The weather this week was fairly standard for February, we think. Cold. In 2008, Eben Alexander, a former associate professor at Harvard Medical School, entered a coma that would change his life forever. Unconscious for seven days, Alexander claims that he visited heaven, and in the years since, he has become a spiritualist author and speaker. For this week's cover story, JEI and REJC profile Alexander with empathy and nuance, exploring how he fits into the complicated space between religion and science. But that's not all: This week's issue has bikes, polls, potions, noses, beasts, and dim sum. What more could you want for a chilly weekend like this? Yours, AWDA + NHP
Dear Reader, It is mid-February, which means love is in the air. No matter your Valentine's Day plans, make sure to take some time to read FM's 2020 "Contemporary Romance" feature. RLL explores her love of the beloved food chain Waffle House. AKEC writes about the challenge of showing and accepting gestures of physical affection. And I grapple with my younger sister growing up. We also have a great mix of hard-hitting reporting and humorous takes to keep you entertained before your (romantic) evening. SSL spends an afternoon honing her thrusts and parries at a sword fighting workshop for women. MVE witnesses some incredible staff art at the Smith Campus Center. I profile Suraj Yengde, an inspiring Dalit intellectual and activist. And APK answers a question that has long stumped FM writers: What are sports? In our cover story for this week, MHM and GWO write about the history and the future of the artifacts of the Harvard Peabody Museum, parsing the museum's responsibility to repatriate and exhibit objects whose presence in their collection is inextricable from colonialism. We end with KKC's lovely endpaper, which turns the scrumptious process of gnawing on chicken feet into a thoughtful investigation of the difficulties of pinpointing "Chinese-America." Curious? Dare I say, titillated? Begin a life-long affair with FM, and read on! MNW
Is "most interesting" a subjective title? Of course. Are these 15 seniors still very interesting? Certainly! We sent our writers to hang out with them in their favorite places on campus and glean a bit of wisdom from them before they graduate. Now, we hope you'll take time to get to know them too.