Dear FM, This spring marks the end of a year-long homecoming, the return to campus we so eagerly awaited. Two years ago, we were slouching listlessly in our childhood bedrooms, falling asleep in Zoom lectures and watching sourdough rise. By now, though, we’ve cycled through an entire, relatively-normal school year, from the joyful flurry of fall to the frenetic pace of spring, and now, almost, to the year’s denouement and the renewal of summer. To celebrate this year of movement, the theme of our end-of-year issue is momentum: the strength or force gained by motion or by a series of events. Think acceleration, impetus, speed. Gears grinding, wheels turning, traction gained. Social movements and cultural tides. Getting back into old grooves and forging new ones. Where we came from and where we’re headed. TS starts us off with a scoop on Cambridge’s plan to build over 20 miles of new protected bike lanes, and how the plan has brushed up against small businesses’ need for parking space. JFA takes us around town to Toke N Paint, an event where participants smoke weed and make art, and explores how Black entrepreneurs are breaking into the cannabis business. MJH covers the unionization efforts that are picking up steam at coffee shops in the area, from Pavement to Darwin’s. HL has two pieces in this issue — first, a profile of a freshman who teaches fitness classes at the Mac and the Hemenway — and has been a certified instructor since the ripe old age of 14. Second, a scoop on HUDS accommodations for students who celebrated Ramadan. KIB takes us along to Harvard’s Institute for Learning in Retirement, where age does nothing to slow down students’ love of learning. Next up is a bevy of brilliant introspections. A few of them are about motion, or speeding up; JKW recalls a biking accident from her childhood and how it taught her about the value of family and the passage of time. ITM draws similarities between her 5am rowing practices and close reading exercises in her English classes, in a poignant piece about mindfulness and the body. BYC chronicles the return of spring to Harvard’s campus in his photo essay, from daffodils blooming along the Charles to students playing spikeball in the Yard. The next few are about slowing down and reflecting, even when that’s an act of resistance. EDP takes us along for a nostalgic drive along Sunset Boulevard, and writes about how a solitary summer in LA changed her relationship with memory and herself. MX writes an important meta-introspection about The Crimson’s culture of overwork and the toll it’s taken on Crimeds past and present. MMFW talks to Jaime Drucker, who works at Harvard Hillel, about Shabbat and the purpose of rest amid a hectic life. MG writes a letter to her freshman year, long-awaited and now coming to a close, about the ways it fulfilled, exceeded, and changed her expectations. We’ve got a couple bonus endpapers, too — EAG reflects on speaking Amharic and how her changing fluency has affected the connection she feels to her Ethiopian heritage. BBWF writes about an emotional catharsis stemming from an unlikely catalyst — a YouTube video about a lobster being rescued from the supermarket — and how it changed their understanding of identity and grief. The inimitable TMB anchors this issue with our last scrutiny of the year, in which she lifts the veil on the full range of mental health resources on campus. From calling CAMHS to visiting Room 13, she takes a critical look to see what’s working and what’s not, and ultimately imagines a more universal mosaic of care, one that might help us all chart new paths and help our friends do the same. And finally, no good issue of FM is complete without some advice for our favorite confused freshman, Josh. This time around, he happens to be stuck in a rut (poor guy). Luckily, some of our execs were generous enough to provide their sage advice on how to pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and — wait for it — regain some momentum. As we head off for sun-soaked mornings and lazy afternoons, we hope you’ll keep up the momentum, all the energy and optimism that came with traditions resumed and friendships renewed. But we encourage you to interrogate it, too — to reflect on how far you’ve come and examine the journey ahead. To pause, to breathe, to rest. As for me, now that I finally have a moment of respite, I’m feeling immensely grateful for this community and proud of everything we’ve accomplished this semester. We’ve put out 10 issues, full of beautiful writing that’s made me laugh, cry, and everything in between — and always makes me see this campus and its goings-on through a new lens. That’s no small feat. A non-exhaustive list of thank-yous: To all of our staff writers, for innovative pitches each week, for creative icebreakers, and for having the heart and passion to write for this magazine, week after week. To our compers, for breathing new life into this magazine, and for assuring us that its future is brighter than ever. To our execs, for lively discussions and thoughtful editing. To JFA and KL, for administrative help and Twitter wizardry, pitch emails that never fail to bring a smile to my face, and Monday night walks back from 14p past midnight. To MMFW and SWF for making the inaugural Fringe Prom a smashing success, and for caring so much about making this community inclusive and fun. To HRTW and MX, for leading the comp class with poise and wit — you hold the future of this magazine in your hands. To our wonderful design and photo execs, MHS, SS, MH, and JH, for being so patient and generous with your time and for putting up with our nit-picky edits — the final glossy is truly a testament to your dedication and help. To JGG, for innumerable hours spent proofing our pieces at unreasonable times of day (yes, day), for thoughtful edits and kind words; thank you for believing in our little magazine, and thank you for everything you do to keep the free press alive and well on this campus. And to SSL, my trusty co-chair who cares a ridiculous amount about this magazine, who never complains even when she has every right to, who is selfless and witty and whip–smart and a damn good editor. Thank you for a semester of growth and grit and friendship; I have learned so much from you, and I am endlessly grateful to be your friend. And now, SSL and I are going to take a long summer’s nap. Enjoy Issue X, pick up a glossy to procrastinate your studying or to take on the plane/train/bus ride home, and most importantly, HAGS. FM love, MVE & SSL
Dear Reader, Welcome to Issue IX, the last regular issue of our magazine this semester and the heftiest one to date! Without further ado, here’s the scrut you’ve been clamoring for all semester: Michael Cheng and the death of the Undergraduate Council. Like any good political drama, it features mic drops, mudslinging, meetings that could’ve been emails, and emails that shouldn’t have been at all. JSH and AHL rose to the challenge of turning a semester’s worth of petty and irritating events into a sharp, nuanced, thoroughly entertaining story. Now that the Council has been dissolved, we citizens are left to pick up the pieces — luckily, in her levity, LEH offered some suggestions for which assets to snatch. And if you join the fight to save Shopping Week, you’ll have the chance to check out GENED 42069: How to Get Lit, taught by Professor Swae Lee and TFed by SM. Meanwhile, SD and JL started their own political movement to #StopRemy, the orange ecological menace that’s invading Harvard Yard. But KLM presented a convincing case for some extra pest control — how else are we going to rid our campus of those vicious rats? SCS spent the past several weeks diving head-first into the controversy surrounding Israel Trek. RF and BBWF reported on the student activists calling for Harvard to reinstate its mask mandate, and JL and DRZ went to great lengths to find the seeds of truth in a probiotic company’s lofty claims. Continuing our favorite pastime of investigating Gothic phenomena in Adams House, KIB and CEG unraveled an ancient scroll hidden inside a Westmorly doorknob. And EDP and JKW headed over to cover ASS — the Adams Seance Society, that is. MMN also revisited the past, blending reporting, retrospection, and introspection into rich and complicated conversations with three Black alums from the Harvard Class of 1969. Our writers found community in some surprising places this week — HPD at his first Passover Seder, SEW at Tasty Basty and then outside of it, JKF amongst her much shorter but no less dedicated fellow scavengers on a hunt for mythical creatures at the Harvard Museum of Natural History. They found themselves in the community, too — KLS took us around town to Cambridge’s 14 community gardens and the people who work to nurture them. DRZ led us down Route 128, the freeway along which a new insurance company is attempting to make community-based healthcare more accessible. CEG and EAG report on a new guaranteed income program and the difference it’s making for low-income, single-caretaker families in Cambridge. HTL brought us all the way to Istanbul in a lovely reflection on her spring break travels. And the prolific CEG shared a courageous, touching endpaper that puts words to the pain that accompanies her stutter. In my last closeout of the semester, I’d like to extend some sappy thank yous to: SSI, who is generous and dedicated beyond belief (no CQ needed). KL and JFA, who really, rEALly covered our ASSes today — our adminning severe stress, that is. JH, SS, MH, and MHS, who make this mag look damn good. JGG, who’s the last to leave the building, the first to step up to bat, and, no matter the hour, unfailingly honest, selfless, and kind. And MVE, who pours so much freaking heart into this magazine every single day; who lends more talent and grace than any of us deserve; who’s never further than a panicked text, a late-night voice message, or the width of Grant St. away when I need it — endlessly grateful to have you as my co-chair and friend. And, of course, to all our writers, who fill our hearts right back up. With love, SSL & MVE
Dear FM, Spring has sprung! At least, that’s what they tell us; the seasons don’t change here beneath the fluorescent lights of the FM office. For all you out there, soaking up the sun, baring your ankles, frolicking in the Harvard Yard grass that mysteriously appeared overnight — this one’s for you. Welcome to Issue 8. First up, a whole host of compelling Conversations pieces. From KLS and KIM, a profile on Julie Fiveash, the first person hired as Harvard’s Librarian for American Indigenous Studies. SWF talks to Lindsay Sandwald, a Divinity School student who wears many hats, from leading the HDS Surf Club to offering weekly sermons on her Patreon. JL and DRZ catch up with Swati Goel ‘25, who realized her long-held goal of competing on the CBS show “Survivor” (spoiler alert: she survived). Finally, IYG writes a truly stellar profile of Avi Loeb, the controversial Harvard astrophysicist who fancies himself a modern Galileo, and has started the Galileo Project to investigate signs of extraterrestrial life. AG and HTL teach us about the controversial origins of Holi, the Hindu festival also known as the Festival of Colors. KT introduces us to yet another dating app, one that relies on human matchmakers over algorithms — with Looop (no, the third “o” is not a typo), users can nominate and play matchmaker to their single friends. JKW and FJB take us along to “Out for Blood: Feminine Hygiene to Menstrual Equity,” a new exhibition at the Schlesinger that explores the history of menstrual products and activism. KNF excavates the history of Harvard Yard’s foliage — once studded with elm trees and adorned with ivy, now an Ivy League sans ivy — and makes us nostalgic for the canopy of old. MN takes us back to the ‘90s, when a legal theory called Critical Legal Studies (sound familiar?) caused a schism among Harvard Law School faculty, and prompted impassioned student activism on campus — a precursor to today’s debates over Critical Race Theory. And NBF makes a triumphant return to write this week’s endpaper, a rumination on her Zoom background — a modern-day window into the soul. On a lighter note, a trio of levities to cleanse your palate. SAL investigates the internal pressures of the cutthroat Harvard Yard squirrel community. Just in time for Visitas, JL gives us a handy guide to showing your pre-frosh the real Harvard — and she’s not bitter at all, thank you very much. Finally, SM says what we’ve all been thinking post-mask-mandate-drop: why is everyone so ugly? Many thank-yous for this one: to all our writers and execs, for energy and compassion. To our design and multimedia execs for humor and drive. To MX, for really, really good proofing. To HNL and REJC for hard work and late nights that will not go unrecognized. To JGG for level-headedness despite some tough calls. Of course, to SSL, my partner-in-crime, for patience and sacrifice and for listening to my voice-message rants — we’re almost there. Read the issue! And pick up a copy of last week’s glossy if you haven’t already. Until next time, MVE & SSL
A fireplace in Adams House has racist caricatures sculpted into its pillars. Without a word, administrators boarded them up to divert attention away. Three years on, they have yet to formally, publicly acknowledge these sculptures or their literal cover-up.
Dear Reader, At this point in the semester, reality is starting to blur. Late nights bleed into early mornings, the diluted d-hall coffee does little to bust our brain fog, and we shuffle around campus, heads down, barely aware of our surroundings. We’re past the gloom of March but not yet in the warmth of May (aka April), in that misty, liminal space post-spring break but pre-reading period. It’s the perfect atmosphere, we think, for a real-life mystery. In this issue’s scrutiny, SJL uncovers the dark truth about a century-old fireplace in Adams House: it has racist caricatures sculpted into its pillars. House administrators boarded up them without a word to divert students’ attention away, and three years later, they have yet to formally, publicly acknowledge these sculptures or their cover-up. In many ways, this story gets at the very hearth of Harvard, from the smoke and mirrors around its bureaucracy to the silence that shrouds its history to the racism quite literally built into its foundation. In another triumph over artistic censorship, HRTW debuts the first-ever levity that he pitched and JGG approved — yes, really! — which describes his valiant efforts to protect the Quad community from the Cantabrigian hooligans trespassing on their lawn (including, but not limited to, middle-aged white women playing golf). As usual this week, our inquisitive reporters asked some tough questions around campus and beyond. SCS talked to some students and faculty who say that the Harvard community’s strong demonstration of support for Ukraine, in contrast with its inaction during similar crises in non-white and non-Christian countries, reflects a racial double standard. KKC inquired into the complex calculus that FGLI students face when deciding whether to take time off from school. SAL asked a series of well-traveled women about the risks and rewards of solo globetrotting. MG and JKW interviewed a new club that’s working to counter the exclusivity of Harvard’s creative writing scene. KIB and FJB visited Make & Mend, a secondhand craft supply store in Somerville where thrifting is an art of its own. SBF and AG profiled Kenneth Gloss, an antique book dealer and the proprietor of Brattle Street Book Shop (whose surname alone qualifies him to be an FM ambassador, tbh). Our writers also uncovered the answers to some lighter but no less urgent questions, such as: How do I land a date using ~science~? (EDP) Where did the turkeys in Harvard Yard originally come from? (SD and KNF) What the heck is curling?? (HPD and KLM) Who in their right mind would buy an NFT from a TikToker??? (JKF and WSH) Finally, in her second (!) endpaper of the semester, KT holds up a magnifying glass to her seemingly mundane job at the Lamont front desk to find the quiet joy and meaning within her work, the “big small ways” in which she can make an impact. That said, I’m also very grateful for the people who helped out in big big ways this week. Thank you to KL for top-notch scrut proofing. To SSI and TCK for endpaper excellence. To Multimedia, especially BYC, for the squirrel photos (seriously, I cannot emphasize enough how gorgeous the squirrel photos are). To Design, especially MH for disrupting a suite of sleeping girls in Hurlbut for a really good cause, and SS for eventually awaking to said disruption. To JGG for Friday night heroism. And to my running mate MVE for limping across the finish line with me this week — the Fifteenminutes Undergraduate Newspaper wouldn’t be nearly as FUN without you. :’) Sincerely, SSL & MVE
In comparison to historical waves of activism at Harvard, today’s campus culture surrounding abortion-related issues is relatively quiet — leaving a vacuum all the more striking in the face of looming national threats to abortion access.