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Hello readers!

I am currently hanging out in Currier D-hall, procrastinating and blogging in lieu of writing my Ethnography of Food research paper…which is due on Wednesday. (Whoops! Just passed in a p-set, though, so I need a bit of an academic break.) I was on retreat for my a cappella group, The Opportunes, this weekend, and had an incredible time in Walpole at one of our member’s house; we learned three new songs (one being a pop medley) as well as some spicy choreography, so our jam in the end of November should be a great show! This week is going to be relatively relaxing before next week takes over and I have about 5 hours of rehearsal a night (thus earning it the name of ‘Hell Week,’ although we all love singing and being among one another). Eek!


Opportunes on train tracks!



I’ve been a lot busier this semester with non-academic activities, and it’s taken me a while to realize that I really love doing my extracurriculars…more than my academics. Therefore I will be dropping out. Just kidding! I love being in such a vibrant community and mostly have to strike a better balance next semester. My goals, published for all the world to see, are as follows:

  • Decide a concentration [major] that is just rigorous enough to push me [but not over the edge].
  • Take awesome classes next semester, and get good marks!
  • Work at The Harvard Crimson (our newspaper) again and have a sweeeeet time.
  • Don’t tour-guide as much, as it really hurts my voice and I don’t want to endanger my vocal cords 🙁
  • Train to be a FOP leader! (I am applying and would love to lead a bunch of first-years into the wilderness.)
  • Hopefully be on the Speak Out Loud team again, as the competition is at Barnard College this year (and I was so close to going there). We will see after this weekend’s slam on Saturday night.
  • Improve The Nostalgics website and send out the majority of our band on an incredible final semester.
  • Have more time! (Hah, hah, hah.)
So hold me accountable to that, all of you!
Hmm so what’s new in the ‘Vard?  Not very much, as a matter of fact. I’m pretty tired, it got very cold this weekend, and it’s only Monday! I’m ‘shooting’ for Editor at Large of the Multimedia board of The Crimson, which means I have to have a lot of little meetings so that I can convince everyone deliberating on my position that I am the one for the job. I find out pretty soon, too, so that will be good to know.

Ah, the Charles

A few things that I’m nervous/excited about:
  • The Election. I am already biting my nails. I cast my ballot today via overnight mail to Vermont, and will be up all night tomorrow; I am hoping to not be disappointed.
  • The results of this week of Crimson delibs; will I be an executive again?
  • What my paper will become!
  • New sweatshirts for the Opportunes, which should arrive on Friday if all goes well 🙂
  • Declaring my concentration officially.
Ooof, I think that’s enough bullet points for now. I should probably work on this paper….and start all the things  I’m excited about (well, not the election).
Have a lovely election day, my fellow Americans. To those internationals reading this, send us good tidings in such a tumultuous, political time!

Well isn’t this terrifying

Until next week,


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Gene Corbin, Assistant Dean of Harvard College for Public Service

Over 500 students are devoting their summer breaks to serving others and tackling critical social issues through amazing experiences funded by public service organizations at Harvard College.  Such opportunities abound and include:

Additionally, many students apply to the Office of Career Services for fellowships or grants to fund their own public service pursuits – including projects throughout the world made possible by David Rockefeller International Experience Grants.

Although only a drop in the bucket of the good work students are doing this summer, below are three examples:

Tyrell Dixon is a rising Senior from Baltimore.  Thanks to the Center for Public Interest Careers, Tyrell is working at the Legal Aid Society’s Juvenile Justice Department in New York City this summer. Through interacting with clients, shadowing attorneys,  sitting-in on court cases, and forging his own personal relationships with clients and attorneys, Tyrell is experiencing first-hand the way the law impacts individual lives.

Rising Senior Tyrell Dixon

Julia Konrad is a rising Senior from New York City.  She received a Director’s Internship from the Institute of Politics (IOP) to work for the US Department of Education in Secretary Arne Duncan’s Office.  Julia is having an unbelievable summer helping plan many important events – including the 30th Anniversary of  Title IX where she brought people together to celebrate this landmark amendment for gender equality including Secretary Arne Duncan (the slightly taller person next to Julia in the photo).


Meredith Arra is a rising Sophomore from Georgia.  She became involved in public service immediately upon arriving at Harvard College – beginning with the First Year Urban Program.  Meredith is devoting her summer to teaching 6 and 7 year-old youth in the Phillips Brooks House Association’s (PBHA) Chinatown Adventure Camp – one of the 12 camps in PBHA’s Summer Urban Program.  She’s focusing her efforts on healthy living and nutrition to combat obesity.

Teaching at the PBHA Chinatown Adventure Camp

Rising Sophomore Meredith Arra teaching at the PBHA Chinatown Adventure Camp

All of the above programs represent not only a chance to serve others, but also the opportunity to benefit from life-changing relationships and experiences.  Every fall, I have countless conversations with students who have new insights about themselves and what they want to do with their lives – including many students who return motivated to pursue a public interest career.

More information on the opportunities Tyler, Julia, and Meredith pursued, and many more, can be found by clicking the summer opportunities tab at  I, along with the other staff members in our public service organizations, look forward to helping all students at the college pursue these exciting opportunities!

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Sophie Fry, Government Concentrator in Adams House, Class of 2013

It’s always been my dream to spend a summer in DC. Although I’m from London, England, I am fascinated with American Politics. As a government major at Harvard, I have relished the chance to take classes such as ‘American Presidential Elections from 1960 – 2008’ and ‘The Supreme Court and American Politics’. Yet being in DC has exceeded all the expectations I had initially held from watching hours of the West Wing and films such as Dave and The American President.

This summer I am working at the National Democratic Institute (NDI), an organization chaired by Madeline Albright which works on promoting democracy in countries all around the world. With this being a topic at the forefront of everyone’s mind due to the Arab Spring, it has been a fascinating time to be working here. The work I do for NDI is varied, and it really changes day to day, giving the job an exciting edge of the unexpected. I attend regional team meetings and get expert information and updates regarding news from countries in every corner of the globe. Due to the international nature of the work NDI does, I also help organize a lot of travel (if you’re looking for a good hotel in Lithuania, or need to know the best way to drive from Bosnia & Herzegovina to Kosovo, I’m your girl), and many times have put together teams to go perform development work with political parties in countries such as Sierra Leone and Haiti.

Photo with Senator Shaheen

I heard of this opportunity through Harvard’s Institute of Politics, an organization that I devote a lot of time to on campus. During the year, the IOP runs programs dedicated to getting students involved in politics and public service, and brings in some incredible speakers – this last year, I had the chance to meet and hear figures such as

former UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown, former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, and General Odierno speak on campus. On top of this day to day programming, the IOP also runs a fantastic internship program which sets up funded internships in organizations not just across America, but around the world – I have friends working in places such as the UK Houses of Parliament and the World Health Organization in Geneva!

Yet, my political experience in DC isn’t contained solely within my working hours. The Institute of Politics also runs a program called ‘Summer in Washington’, which organizes opportunities for Harvard students down in DC. Some of the coolest things I’ve had the chance to do so far this summer have included: going to see a taping of Meet the Press, featuring 2012 Presidential Candidate Rick Santorum, and the first debate between the chairs of the DNC and RNC, Debbie Wassernan-Schultz and Reince Priebus respectively; having lunch with one of Joe Biden’s foreign policy advisors and speech writer, Jon Finer; and having coffee on the Hill with Senator Shaheen of New Hampshire.

Photo at the NBC Studios on the set of Meet the Press with host David Gregory

DC is a great place to spend summer – there are hundreds of college students in the Capital doing incredibly interesting things, and there is always something going on to keep you busy! Although I only have a few more weeks here at NDI, I know that I will definitely be back in DC in the very near future.



Sarah Esty, senior, pfoho, social studies
former vice president, current student advisory committee member at large.

One morning last spring, my alarm went off at 7:45AM. Happily, I wasn’t getting up for class (I don’t do morning classes – my earliest is normally at 11), and I also wasn’t madly finishing a paper due that afternoon. Instead, I was heading to a breakfast at the Institute of Politics with Michele Pierre-Louis, the former Prime Minister of Haiti. She was a visiting fellow for the week, in town to talk to us in a whirlwind of events from giving speeches in front of large audiences to having small personal conversations with small groups of students. I had heard from friends who had lunch with her earlier in the week (we joke that all IOP events seem to revolve around food) that she is fantastic, so I was very excited. She didn’t disappoint. Our hour-long breakfast rans twenty minutes over because we were all so interested in hearing first hand about the situation on the ground there, and about the major issues Haiti has been facing since long before the earthquake (I was shocked to find out that only 11% of schools in Haiti are public…talk about an education crisis). The most exciting part of the talk was finding out that she was going to be back in the fall for the whole semester as a residential fellow, leading weekly discussions and bringing in interesting guests to talk to us.

            One of the best parts of Harvard is that events like this are an everyday occurrence at the Institute of Politics. The IOP brings in heads of state, political figures, journalists, and experts from all over the world and the political spectrum for everything from major speeches to intimate discussions – it’s a normal day at the IOP when you get to hear Felipe Calderón or Michael Steele speak, or have dinner with David Plouffe. I’m still sad I wasn’t at Harvard yet when Stephen Colbert came in 2007. And the IOP isn’t just a place where you can go to hear cool people to talk or get a political internship (though I had a fantastic experience at the one the IOP helped me get with the Political Department of the DCCC last summer); it is also a home for students interested in politics and public service. A few days later, a group of us cooked brunch for the whole IOP, and bonded over politics, fruit salad, and chocolate French toast (I wasn’t kidding about the food thing). The IOP is a truly unique feature of Harvard, and is an amazing resource and community for everyone with an interest in politics – from the kid who can name all the Vice Presidents and Secretaries of State in reverse order (yes, one of my friends can do this) to someone who knows almost nothing about politics but wants to find out more.