In any event, the great thing about this story is that it makes unavoidably clear one simple truth: the Harvard administration is not willing to invest the kind of time and money into student life that would be necessary to really make this place fun. (more in expanded post)
The Presidents Office doesnt have to be accountable to students because they dont need to draw people inthey have the Harvard name, he says. To effect change, he cites his experience with Senior Gift Plus: Create a petition, educate people, arouse some anger over the situation, get the press involved, and Harvard will realize it can no longer afford to marginalize undergraduates when it comes to events like Springfest.
Longbrake says that the Presidents Office is very interested in supporting undergraduate social life, but he did not say whether the office would increase funds to Springfests after-party in future years.
But if Mahan is right, the Office wont address the need until students make it clear that a need exists. After all, Longbrake contends that Harvards Springfest is just as fun as Yales.
Hard as they may try, the UC alone cant incite the kind of cultural change necessary to make Harvards Springfest look like Penns, Yales, or Browns. That would take more than just another $20,000 or a permanent liquor license. Maybe the Presidents Office isnt so wrong to emphasize communitythey just have the wrong community in mind.
Now, I’m not interesting in Harvard being “fun” just so we can all revel in our wealth and opportunities. There’s a much more substantive reality: a college community where students don’t get together to enjoy themselves, to meet each other and to relax is not a community at all. In the day in and day out of Harvard, it is rare that we have a chance to appreciate our lives and appreciate each other. THAT is why that administration should care, because community is part of what defines our experience at this school, and therefore our persons for the rest of our lives.