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Andrew Chesebro, Harvard Department of Athletics

For 168 years, dating back to 1844 when the first boat club was organized, Harvard has shown both leadership and competitive excellence in Division I athletics. This summer Harvard has added one more chapter to its storied athletics history, as 10 current and former student-athletes and coaches represent their respective countries at the 2012 London Olympic Games.

For some it’s business as usual. Caryn Davies ’05 is competing in her third Olympic Games and won her third medal (first Gold!) as a member of Team USA’s Women’s Eight (that’s crew for those of you unfamiliar with the sport). For others, including 19-year old Temi Fagbenle ’15 who is playing for Great Britain’s women’s basketball team, it’s a brand-new experience that cannot be duplicated.

 Caryn Davies ’05 (third from right) won a Gold medal competing for Team USA Women’s Eight

Caryn Davies ’05 (third from right) won a Gold medal competing for Team USA Women’s Eight

Then there are those of us behind-the-scenes in the Murr Center, working each day to better the student-athlete experience for Harvard’s more than 1,200 varsity student-athletes. We get to watch in amazement as these incredible individuals, many of whom we’ve grown close with over the years, compete on sport’s biggest stage against the best athletes in the world. And not only are they competing against the best, they’re beating the best!

 Temi Fagbenle ’15 competed for Great Britain’s women’s basketball team

Temi Fagbenle ’15 competed for Great Britain’s women’s basketball team

Did you know that Harvard has sent 223 current or former student-athletes to the Olympics and has been represented at every modern Olympic Games? Also, did you know that Harvard has won 104 total medals (including four this year!), a total greater than the medal count for countries such as Brazil, Mexico and New Zealand?Heck, if Harvard were its own country at the 2012 Summer Games, its four medals at the time of my writing this would have the Crimson tied for 29th in the world! Think about that.And think about this. Next fall, when you sit down to begin the first class of your college career, you may not only be sitting beside the future President of the United States, you may be sitting beside a future Olympic Champion.

Just further proof that Harvard is the living embodiment of “Leadership and Competitive Excellence in Division I Athletics.”

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Nathan Fry, Associate Director of Athletics and Freshman Proctor

These days, when people hear “Harvard Athletics” the first thing that pops into their minds is probably “Linsanity.” And, although we love Jeremy Lin as much as Spike Lee does, we are also proud of the fact that nearly 75% of our undergraduate population participates in organized athletics activity on our campus. Harvard offers 41 varsity sports – most in the NCAA – and features nearly 1,200 varsity student-athletes. But there are great opportunities for students to get involved regardless of their skill level.

Freshmen dorms compete for the Yard Bucket – the freshman intramural championship – each year in sports ranging from soccer, to table tennis, to basketball, to foosball, to flag football, to a spelling bee. Shout out to Apley Court, where I live as a freshman proctor, who won the Yard Bucket in 2011 for the first time in our dorm’s history!

And in the Houses, you’ll be able to compete for the Straus Cup, which is awarded to the top intramural program for upperclassmen. You’ll find robust intramural opportunities in the Houses too, including ice hockey, fencing, basketball, volleyball, ultimate Frisbee, innertube water polo, and more!

Apley Court won the yard Bucket in 2011

Apley Court won the yard Bucket in 2011

Our department has seen a sharp increase in competitive and non-competitive club opportunities as well. Our club program now features 60 club teams, with a fascinating mix of offerings: from ballroom dance, to kung fu. From fishing, to shooting. From curling, to tough mudder. Figure skating to spikeball! We have over 1900 participants in our club sport programs. Chances are, if you are interested in a club sport, we have it. And if we don’t, we’ll help you start one!

Our recreation facilities offer a wealth of opportunities to “get in a sweat”. Our most popular facility for undergraduates is the Malkin Athletic Center (MAC), which has 70 pieces of cardio equipment, an indoor pool, free weights, basketball courts, and many group exercise and personal training programs. But beyond the MAC, we have several hidden gems (or is it hidden gyms?) throughout campus, including Hemenway Gymnasium by the Law School, the QRAC (across the street from the Quad Houses), and Beren Tennis Center, which boasts 18 outdoor tennis courts. Learn to sail at the Sailing Center, or learn to row at beautiful Weld Boathouse.

The Department of Athletics believes in the philosophy of sound body, sound mind. Regular physical activity and exercise is an important part of a daily routine. Whether you aspire to a competitive Division I athletic experience, or if you simply prefer to take a light jog on a treadmill, the Department of Athletics will serve you well. Visit to find out more!

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Hey Everyone!

Congratulations to all those who got into Harvard this year! You all worked extremely hard and now have the opportunity to visit colleges and decide which college environment fits you best.

For this blog entry I wanted to share a video I have been working on for the last couple of months. In the video, I give my perspective of what Harvard is really like. I hope you all enjoy it.

Here is a link to the VIDEO!


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Hi everyone!  I haven’t written in a few weeks because I’ve been hard at work for something for you guys, and I can’t wait to show you.  So stay tuned!  In the meantime, now that we’re several weeks into the semester, here are some of the cool things that happened when I got back to campus.

While my second term at Harvard officially started in early February, I’ve been on campus since middle of January. The tennis team has been in full practice swing since January 15th in order to get ready for our spring season.  Since classes didn’t start until January 23rd, the Friends of Harvard Tennis Committee had been kind enough to set-up a lot of events after our practices.

First, the freshmen tennis class had the privilege of having lunch with the Dean of Freshmen, Tom Dingman. We ate at Grafton Street Restaurant and had a great time. Also, there were several alumni events later in the week. At these alumni events, former members of the Harvard Tennis Teams came and talked about their life experiences after graduating from college. It was extremely interesting to hear the kind of jobs they have now and how their experiences as student athletes at Harvard helped shape their journey in the real world. While all of the events were really helpful, the most memorable event was the Harvard Tennis Spring Kick-off Banquet, which was held at the Harvard Club in Boston.  Here, Alex Seaver and Debbie Goldfine (both Co-Chairs of Friends of Harvard Tennis), hosted a remarkable event which included guest speakers, captains’ presentations, and a spectacular dinner.


Freshmen Men's Tennis Class of 2015 having lunch with Dean Dingman



Harvard Men's Tennis Team at the Harvard Club of Boston


The last week of January, classes officially began. This semester, I’m taking Statistics 104, Science of the Physical Universe, Economics 10, and Sociology 43. Compared to last semester, these classes are structured a little differently, as I tried to branch out and pick topics that I haven’t had to chance to explore yet.  Of all my classes this semester, I’m really interested in Sociology 43, as the class has real life applications and the readings are extremely riveting. In addition to classes starting, I had my nineteenth birthday last week.  A group of friends and I went out to a local restaurant, Border Cafe, to celebrate.


Celebrating my 19th birthday at Border Cafe




Sterling, Kerry, and I are having a high school reunion dinner in Harvard Square.


In late January, the Men’s Tennis team hosted their first dual matches of the season. We hosted Drake, DePaul, and Denver University. In each one of the matches, the team plays three doubles matches and six singles matches. That Friday, we played Denver, and then we played a double header on Saturday against Drake and DePaul. Our team played extremely well throughout out the weekend, and we were able to win all three dual matches, respectively, 4-0, 4-1, 4-0.


Coach Fish conducting a team meeting before our match


That’s it for this post, thanks for reading. Next, I’ll be posting something special, so be sure to keep an eye out for my next blog!

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Normally, I have pretty good weekends. Sometimes it rains, which I like (but not whilst parading around Cambridge); sometimes I have a huge exam at 8:30 AM on Monday (cough cough…LPSA); and frequently there are fun fiestas to be attended. However, this was the best weekend I have had in a long time. Why, you may ask? Read on!


Thursday Night:

We didn’t have school on Friday, due to Veteran’s Day. So, I didn’t have to wake up for my 9 AM class!  (Fun fact: you may think waking up at 8 is fantastic in high school, as I did, but in college it seems that nobody goes to bed until 3 and everyone wakes up at 10 and I am cursed. Though most people [my roommates] do follow that schedule [as I do on Tues/Thurs mornings], I am pretty lucky to wake up at 9 so I’ll stop whining.) Also, it was FACULTY DINNER, which is an incredible experience. Da ‘Berg is officially transformed into The Great Hall and HUDS prepares an extravagant meal to impress our profs, TAs, proctors, and the like. Although I like Annenberg a lot, I hold no deep feelings of love for it except for during Faculty Dinner! My lab partner and I invited our lab TF, Greg, and dressed to impress before gorging ourselves on mushroom ravioli, some meat thing (is it obvious that I’m a vegetarian?), roasted root veggies, and cake. Carrot cake, chocolate raspberry cake, cheese cake…. Yummmm. Knowing the food would never again be this exquisite, I ate way too much and stumbled out of Memorial Hall with a rather large stomach. It was worth it, by the way.

After that, I went to the IRC semiformal with my roommate, Rachel, as her plus-one. She is some spiffy chair for H-MUN (Harvard Model United Nations), whereas I know nothing about this political smorgasbord. Luckily, we mostly danced. After going to the penthouse of the Cambridge Hyatt (here’s a lovely image) via taxi, we danced the night away until the wee hours of the morning. (Actually, I ended up splitting a cab with some people and leaving at 10:30, in preparation for Friday.) When I thought it couldn’t get any better, along came Friday.


Friday in the Lighter Hours

After parting ways with my cozy, cozy bed at 10:30 on Friday morning, I suddenly remembered that my AWESOME band (The Nostalgics) was scheduled to record our Holiday album from noon to six that day. Really, my email alerted me about this, in addition to telling me about a sweet deal at B. Good, this incredible burger joint near the Holyoke Center. UC Restaurants offers great savings on restaurants on some Fridays, so I went down and got 20% off of my mango shake and West-side veggie burger. After eating my second great meal of the weekend with three of my bandmates, I walked to the Quad and entered my favorite building on campus, the SOCH. (I’m not really sure if it’s my favorite building, but it’s very underused and underrepresented, so I have adopted it.) Some fancy event was happening, which is a rarity at this unfrequented 50,000 square feet of space, so we went up to the PentHouse where the recording studio is. Due to a recording malfunction, our recording session soon morphed into a practice session, with some fantastic originals coming together, as well as “All I Want For Christmas,” everyone’s favorite x-mas song. After figuring out some rippin’ horn lines and baller vocal backgrounds, we felt satisfied and packed up to go. Sadly, we got locked into the Emergency Stairwell, which we did not know was alarmed until we were inside. However, one guitarist had left early and saved us from a sure death, and we celebrated life at Pfoho dining hall, eating another fantastic meal, though I soon learned this was not good Chinese food. Expecting to not eat again, my chipmunk-storage complex switched on and I filled up on tofu and mini-corn. Little did I know, this was not the end of my Asian experience.


Friday Night

On the shuttle back to the yard, one of my band-mates asked me to go to Chinatown with him in celebration of a friend’s birthday. Although I was full and had little desire to eat, the draw of novelty appealed to me, so I immediately accepted. After taking the T to Park Street, we made our way to Hot Pot Buffet, whose two floors were, to our dismay, completely full. The walk was in vain, I feared. However, my friend was a lot more innovative, and decided we’d go to the Harvard Club of Boston. It’s really lovely, I soon found out, and is full of history, much like its namesake. In the Library, there’s a gorgeous pool table and loads of reunion books, dating back to 1900. My grandfather, whom I never had the chance to meet, went to Harvard for undergraduate and medical school (I think). I quickly (slowly) calculated his year of graduation, found the 10th anniversary book, and read about his life. My mom was just two years old when he wrote the report! This discovery really threw me for a turn, and I was flooded with thanks; perhaps a little premature, but we’re all really lucky to be studying here, and to be part of this history that, for me, binds me to my unknown ancestors.


Saturday Day

After again having a tearful departure from my bed, I set out on another lovely escapade. I walked down to Blodgett pool, which is across the river, and took pictures of our men’s swimming and diving team for the Crimson. My freshman class really shone, with Michael Mosca setting a school record in diving in his first meet and the freshman swimmers securing 1st place for Harvard. Here’s a photo:


Then, what did I do? More photo!!!! (FUN) I claimed a really amazing pitch (story) for FM, which is the Crimson’s magazine. What is this amazing pitch? Is the suspense killing you? Well, I will ruin the surprise– I GOT TO TAKE PICTURES OF GUACAMOLE!! Yes, that is right, I spent my entire afternoon sampling and photographing the delicious mush. More good food! My writer and I went to Chipotle, Qdoba, Boloco, Felipe’s, and Border Cafe. The last two were by far the best, which is good, because they are local restaurants, unlike the 3 other chains. Here’s a picture:

¡Guacamole Olé!




Saturday Night:

I continued in the spirit of photography as the sun set, presenting my photo essay to other compers (comp=competitor, but it’s no longer competitive, just an anachronism) at The Crimson.

Then, I sprinted to Holden Chapel, which is a beautiful and tiny space hidden in the Yard. The Speak Out Loud club was hosting a Poetry Slam, which is basically a spoken-word competition. (Think rap battle minus the hip-hop tracks, plus scores.) Eleven poets slammed their AMAZING poems, and I was lucky enough to compete against them. The place was totally humming with energy, as the crowd really participates in poetry through pounding their feet, clapping, and encouraging the poets as they perform. The first round, we slammed a 3 minute poem each, and mine was a story about a cabin I love in Vermont. The next round was the lightning round, where we’d slam a 1 minute poem, and I slammed about my love for poetry. Our scores were added up, and the top 8 moved on to the final round after a brief intermission. My jaw dropped as I found out I’d moved on; I thought those incredible poets had me beat for sure. We had another 3 minutes to get the highest score we could (which is a 30); the top 5 scoring poets became Harvard’s Poetry Slam Team! I slammed about coffee (as a metaphor for something else), and LOVED it, because the packed audience was awesome. At the end, we all lined up and five names were read. I’ll be competing in April at CUPSI along with my four other team-mates! More updates on this soon, and if you want to know more about poetry slams, here’s a great link. (To hear some awesome slam, here’s another.)

I went out and celebrated with my friends afterwards, and caught up on all my work on Sunday.


This weekend, I’m not going to Harvard-Yale; instead, I’m going to visit my grandparents and have a pre-Thanksgiving with them! Then, I’m covering the Tail of the Charles (men’s crew invitational) on Saturday, so I’m really excited to see what this new weekend brings!


All the best,



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This past week has been very interesting and exciting.  At the beginning of the week, I attended the STAHR Telescope Training Class.  STAHR is an undergraduate organization, which stands for Student Astronomers at Harvard-Radcliffe. The STAHR club meets in an observatory located at the top of the Science Center, one of Harvard’s main buildings for science classes and labs for undergraduates.  During the class, we received hands-on practice using a telescope and were taught how to use star maps to locate constellations in the night sky. The telescope we used is called the Loomis-Michael Telescope, and it’s quite large!  On this particular night, Jupiter was visible, and we were able to see the color scheme of the planet, as well as four of its moons.

An officer handling the Loomis-Michael Telescope in the observatory.

In addition to the STAHR club meeting, I attended the chess club meeting this week. The chess club traveled to Stamford, Connecticut to compete at a regional prize money tournament. This week, they had an informational meeting where they went over different strategies. Chess club meetings are a low time commitment, usually lasting only an hour or two. After the formal training part of the meeting, we paired up and played several games of chess.

Photo from the Chess Club

This past weekend, the Harvard Tennis Team competed at an invitational event at William and Mary. At the invitational event, four teams competed- William and Mary, University of Maryland BC, George Washington University, and Harvard.

The first team practice at the William and Mary Tennis Center

Each day, our team played another team in the “college format,” which includes 6 singles matches and 3 doubles matches.  On the first day, we faced University of Maryland BC and swept the singles and doubles matches. Then, we played George Washington University and won 4 out of the 6 singles matches and 2 out of the 3 doubles matches. After the matches on the second day, the team had a team dinner in honor of junior Josh Tchan’s birthday. We headed to an Italian restaurant and had a wonderful time. The food was amazing, and it was a great team bonding event.

Tennis Team celebrating Josh Tchan's 20th Birthday.

On the last day, we played William and Mary and won 5 out of the 6 singles matches and all 3 doubles matches. Overall, it was a great tournament to end our fall season. With the fall season over, the number of workouts have decreased. The team will resume official practices in January, and in the meantime, I’ll enjoy the downtime!

Harvard's Doubles Teams competing against William and Mary

After the tournament, the team took a tour of William and Mary’s campus. It was a beautiful day, and the campus was really nice.  We took some photos in front of statues (like tourists do on Harvard’s campus!) and visited some of the shops nearby.

Tennis Team touring William and Mary's campus.

After touring the campus, the team headed to the airport and flew back to Boston. While it was a great trip, I am very happy to back in Boston within the comforts of Harvard’s campus.



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This past weekend, I spent my time away from Harvard in Ithaca, New York. The Harvard  Men’s Tennis Team headed to Cornell to play the Regional Championships. All eight schools in the Ivy League were represented, as well as several other schools such as Marist, St. Johns, and Buffalo. In this tournament,  each school was allowed between one and six players depending on the team’s ranking and the players’ individual rankings. Harvard had six singles players and three doubles entered in the 128 draw field.

Our team left Harvard around 2 o’clock last Thursday to head down to the tournament. Our trip down to Ithaca was very scenic, as we got further away from Boston and into the more rural areas of New York.   The team bonded over card games and other activities during the 6 hour drive to Ithaca.  We ended up reaching Cornell around 8, and we practiced at the Reis Tennis Center for an hour before checking into the hotel and going to bed.

Friday was the first day of the tournament, and Harvard had a perfect day in singles with all participants advancing and two out of the three doubles team advancing as well. In my match, I played an international player from the University at Buffalo. In the first set, I got off to a good start, and had the lead throughout the first set.  My opponent started to gain momentum near the end of the set, but I was able to win the first set 7-6, winning 7-4 in the tiebreaker. In the second and third set, he played much more aggressively, winning the second set 4-6, and in the third set, he was up 4-3. After a talk with my coaches, at the changeover, I came out with a new, aggressive game plan, and I was able to win the last three games closing out the match 7-6 (4), 4-6, 6-4. The match lasted nearly four hours!  Afterward, I went back to the hotel to rest and get ready for the next match on the following day.

Coach Fish giving me advice at a changeover.

On Saturday, I was scheduled to play the #1 player from Yale. He was a junior and had been named Ivy League Player of the Year as a freshmen. It was a really tough match, and I fell in straight sets.  My opponent played a very clean match, and it was a great learning experience. For the rest of the day, I cheered on teammates and started homework that was due later that week. We were planning to leave  Sunday, but ended up traveling on Monday.

After the tournament, I spent the week catching up on schoolwork. This past week, I also did something I have never done before. I had the opportunity to play a Grandmaster in a game of chess. A Grandmaster is the highest honor a chess player can receive. Larry Christiansen the Grandmaster played on the U.S. Olympiad Team nine times and has a 2,585 rating (one of the highest in the world).

Larry Christiansen and I

He played a simul with 20 players, meaning that he played twenty players at once. He would make his move and move from board to board. My game lasted for about 40 moves, but he ended up getting a piece advantage and was able to control the rest of the match. The fact that I was able to play a chess Grandmaster was truly remarkable. There aren’t many places in the world where I would have been able to do this.

Larry Christiansen is about to move in the chess game.

That was the end of my week. This weekend, the Harvard Men’s Tennis Team will compete in the Harvard Halloween Invitational, and I will also be attending  celebrations in honor of Diwali, the Indian festival of lights, on Sunday. I’ll write again next Saturday, and in the meantime, have a great week!

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Rachel Brown, Psychology Concentrator in Adams House, Class of 2012

Sitting in my summer office in the Holyoke Center and overlooking Harvard Square, I can’t help but observe the energetic activity of all of the people outside. I think about what the Square looks like during different parts of the year—in the fall when the students cross Mass Ave in their commutes from the River Houses to the classrooms just a few minutes before (or after) the hour, in the winter when the density of people significantly decreases, mirroring the decrease in temperature, and in the spring when all-too-eager students wear shorts on sunny days despite the not-quite-warm enough weather. However, I will have to wait to see that again because it is summer now, and Harvard Square is packed with summer school students, tourists, and the year round residents, all seeming to share two common affinities: the new two-storied Starbucks and the new Pink Berry—both perfect for warm summer days.  During the summer, I have found the atmosphere at Harvard to be entirely different than that of the school year, and so I have decided to reflect on two of those differences.

First Day of Work for my Harvard Internship

The first and most noticeable difference is the change in my lifestyle as I exchange my textbooks for business casual pumps and shift gears from Harvard student to Harvard employee. I am working at the Advising Programs Office which oversees programs geared toward advising sophomores and incoming freshmen. During the summer, we are preparing for the arrival of the freshmen by assembling course suggestion guides, coordinating the faculty advisers and matching freshmen with upperclassmen peer advisers. During the school year, 5:00 pm usually marks the half way point in my day as I am finishing up softball practice, eating dinner and settling in for a night of school work, but 5:00 pm during the summer means the end of the work day and the start of a relaxing and fun evening. From September-May, most weekends are filled with school related events including attending athletic events, competing for my softball team and doing homework, but during the summer, I’ve found very different ways to stay busy. So far, I have visited my roommate’s house in Maine, seen the Chihuly exhibit at the Museum of Fine Arts, shopped at the Haymarket Farmer’s Market, visited Revere Beach for the Annual Sand Sculpting Competition and seen several other parts of Boston. So yes, weekends still fly by way too fast, but I’ve traded in my football foam finger for a Charlie card to explore the city.


Weekend Trip to Maine with Friends

Another significant difference involves my athletic commitments. In addition to working Monday through Friday from 9:00-5:00 in the APO, I am also training for the Varsity Softball team to prepare for my senior season. Four mornings a week, I join the “Summer Dawgs” group in the Palmer Dixon Strength and Conditioning Center for agility training, conditioning and lifting. The group contains athletes from various teams, all committed to excelling on our respective fields/courts/rinks/etc. It is hard not being in the physical presence of my teammates not only for some weight room enthusiasm but also for the camaraderie that naturally builds up during the year, but our e-mail chains help to keep us motivated and connected despite our temporary separation. For the summer, I turn to this new group of Harvard athletes to inspire me to work hard, and if there is one thing I’ve learned, it is that I, a softball pitcher, will never beat a women’s hockey player in a race.

Trip to Boston Public Gardens with my Roommates

Harvard Square is different during the summer—it is missing most of the student population that resides here for 9 months of the year, but it hasn’t lost its energy. For those that are still here during the summer, we get to experience Harvard in a new way, perhaps in professional settings or perhaps by transitioning away from our typical student lifestyle and enjoying different adventures that Cambridge and Boston have to offer. I am looking forward to carrying these new experiences and my new outlook into my senior year, but until then I will try to survive the heat and humidity as I anxiously await the return of the upperclassmen and the arrival of the bright-eyed freshmen, eager to start the next phase of their lives.

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