Emergency Response to SoCal Harvard Students in Need
As many of you know, most Harvard undergraduates will be unable to study on campus in the upcoming school year. First year students (and some upperclassmen) may physically house on campus in the fall semester and seniors will be returning in the spring, but all other students will be taking classes remotely.
Last month, I reached out to these undergraduates to show our Club’s support and to see if they had specific needs. I received responses from over 50 students, most offering their gratitude for our support, along with an interest in joining the SoCal Harvard alumni community (albeit ahead of schedule). Some students had other requests, like career advice and employment opportunities. A small number expressed genuine financial need.
The few students in the latter category have found themselves unable to afford computer equipment and WiFi; storage space and moving expenses; and even basic housing (especially if their high school home is no longer available or not conducive to quiet study). Although Harvard has provided some economic assistance for students on financial aid, gaps remain. Therefore, we are establishing the Harvard Student Emergency Fund specifically to assist current Harvard College students in need.
Although it is our intention to distribute any funds that we collect for immediate needs caused by the pandemic, we also intend this fund to exist in the longer term as dire student needs existed before COVID-19 and inevitably will exist after as well.
If you would like to make a tax-deductible contribution, please click here.
As I said, many students were also interested in career development, gap year experiences, and, to put it bluntly, work. For those of you who would like to help these students, the Harvard Office of Career Services has two career development programs:
- OCS Firsthand Advisers - Sign up for this advice-giving platform where you can offer students a resume review, a mock interview or just a simple career conversation.
- Crimson Careers - If your organization is hiring, has an internship opportunity, or a short-term project available, OCS maintains this database where alumni can post for free. In response to current conditions, remote and unpaid experiences are also welcome.
In normal times, I know our Harvard community to be generous with advice, time, opportunities, and money. And in these extraordinary times, I know we will be extraordinarily generous.
Patric M. Verrone ’81