In a typical School year there is no shortage of extracurriculars on campus. Harvard students, faculty, and staff might in a given week attend an evening workshop on how to run for local office, win prize money besting friends and classmates in a game of trivia, join fellow actors in a spirited recitation of Euripides’ “The Bacchae,” gain an insider perspective on current events with one of the world’s leaders in her or his fields, calm down with a gentle flow yoga class, or pump back up with cardio hip-hop.
Now, despite the move online for the remainder of the spring 2020 semester, members of the University community still can engage in Harvard-sponsored resources and events, even if they’re hundreds of miles away from their friends and classmates. In fact, this past week, those who logged into Socialize Remotely, a new online resource for all HarvardKey holders, could quite literally participate interactively in each of the aforementioned activities via Zoom.
The initiative, launched by the Office of the Vice Provost for Advances in Learning (VPAL) and Harvard University Information Technology (HUIT) two weeks ago, now has more than 1,000 users, including about 600 who log in to peruse social offerings each day. Take, for instance, an April 16 evening talk by political philosopher Michael Sandel, which drew an audience of more than 1,000. During his lecture, Sandel called on students from the College, Harvard Medical School, the Design School, and Harvard Business School alike to respond to philosophical questions he posed to his virtual audience on ethics in the time of a pandemic.