For Benjamin Chang, rowing a pumpkin across the Charles River wasn’t about fame (although 15 minutes of that came, too). It was about money.
The intrepid voyage in a hollowed-out gourd was a fundraiser for Harvard OpenBio, a burgeoning student-run laboratory aimed at democratizing biology.
Chang is a Harvard senior and co-president of OpenBio, which gives undergraduates the chance to participate in community synthetic biology projects without needing formal lab experience. The initiative is a passion project among Chang, co-president Izzy Goodchild-Michelman, director of engagement Audrey Gunawan, and several others who are “united by our belief in the power of biology to create positive change,” according to their website.