Making new friends is one of the hallmarks of the college experience and for Fatima Bishtawi ’17, hitting it off with freshman year roommate Amanda Mozea ’17 was key. But it wasn’t quite enough.

Inspired by her brother with special needs, Bishtawi had worked with Unified Sports throughout high school, and at the start of her freshman year at Harvard she connected with the Best Buddies program, which connected her to Andrew Peyron. And inspired by Bishtawi, Mozea followed. Now, Bishtawi and Peyron and Mozea and buddy Amy Richmond meet two to three times a month.

“Amanda and I usually hang out with our buddies together, and Andrew and Amy both love going to the dining hall so we usually just bring them over to Pforzheimer’s dining hall for brunch or dinner,” said Bishtawi. “Other times we hang out at their house [a group home on Concord Avenue] and talk. Sometimes we go to the Coop, which is a store they both love!”

“Amy is a coffee aficionado and fanatic. She loves Harvard gear more than any Cambridge resident that I’ve ever met,” said Mozea. One of Richmond’s first questions when she meets a new person, she said, is “Do you like coffee?” And no matter what the answer, “She will still love you unconditionally.”

For the two juniors, the quartet’s outings are a reprieve from the stresses of academics and an opportunity to refocus and reconnect with what — and who — is important.

“Things become simpler when I’m with Amy,” said Mozea. “If I’m upset because I didn’t do as well as I wanted on a test or on a paper she always asks me, ‘Did you fail?’ And when I tell her that I in fact passed, she says, ‘Then that’s OK.’ And she’s right. It’s OK. Amy gives me a perspective that I lose when I’m surrounded by people who are constantly trying to do more and achieve more and be better. I really value that — and her hugs.”


1 Pforzheimer roommates Amanda Mozea ’17 and Fatima Bishtawi ’17 and their “best buddies” Amy Richmond and Andrew Peyron meet regularly. As Mozea approaches, she sees Richmond waiting at the back door of her Concord Avenue group home.
2 Amanda Mozea and Amy Richmond are very close — they’ve been “buddies” since Amanda arrived at Harvard as a freshman in 2014.
3 Amanda Mozea and Amy Richmond head to one of Richmond’s favorite brunch locales, the Pforzheimer dining hall.
4 Amanda Mozea’s roommate Fatima Bishtawi is “best buddies” with one of Amy Richmond’s housemates, Andrew Peyron (left).
5 At the PfoHo D-hall, the buddies stock up on waffles and salad, fruit, and desserts.
6 Fatima Bishtawi helps Amy Richmond find soy milk for her coffee.
7 Friends including blockmate Eni Dervishi ’17 (center) stop by the buddies’ table. The fun starts when Fatima Bishtawi mentions that Amanda Mozea has a boyfriend. Amy Richmond is slightly peeved and wants to know if she’s the last one to know.
8 To lighten the mood, Amanda Mozea brings her boyfriend, Deng-Tung Wang ’17, over from the other side of the dining hall and introduces him to Amy Richmond.
9 After her boyfriend leaves, Amy Richmond interrogates her buddy: “Why didn’t I know sooner? Who knew before me?”
10 Amanda Mozea gets a kick out of Amy Richmond’s cross-examination.
11 Fatima Bishtawi and Andrew Peyron talk about vacation plans.
12 After brunch, Andrew Peyron and Amy Richmond check their phones for messages.
13 Amanda Mozea takes Amy Richmond’s hand to cross Garden Street as they head back to the group home.
14 On the way, the four buddies stop to look through free books on the side of the street.
15 Almost home, they make plans for their next visit.