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To Serve Better

Inspired by one of Harvard Yard’s famous gates, “To Serve Better” is a yearlong Harvard Gazette project exploring the connections between members of the Harvard community and neighborhoods across the United States and its territories.

The Dexter Gate, built in 1901, welcomes first-year Harvard students to “Enter to Grow in Wisdom” on its north-facing side, and encourages graduating students to “Depart to Serve Better Thy Country and Thy Kind” on its south-facing side.

This project honors the Gate’s message by celebrating Harvard students, alumni, faculty, and staff who are committed to public purpose and to making a positive difference in communities throughout the country. It will roll out in four phases over the course of the 2019-2020 academic year.

A collage of photos on top of a map of Alabama


Miles home

“There's so much potential in the young people not only in my hometown, but in little bitty towns and rural communities all over the country.”

Collage of image and map of Mississippi and photo of Julian D. Miller


Fertile ground

“It’s not truly success if it doesn’t have this greater sociable benefit for those around you.”

Collage of map and image of North Dakota and photos of Sarah Sadlier


Bringing law to life

“Anytime that you can raise awareness, or address the invisibility of Native American issues in the academy is incredibly impactful.”

Monica Bertagnolli standing in a mountain


Trial run

“We’re trying to make sure that cancer clinical trials can get to every single patient who needs them.”

Thomas Kane and Jennifer Ash talking to each other in the office


Improving improvements

“Education is the single highest leverage place you can devote your energy to if you're trying to improve outcomes for the folks who need those improvements the most.”

Collage of map and image of Rhode Island and photo of Jonathan Stone


Sea change

“I think I can say without hesitation that everyone who works at Save the Bay views it as a privilege — we’re doing something we love.”

A collage with pics of West Virginia, a pic of Benny hiking, all on a map of West Virginia


Raising Voices

“If I'm not surprised while I'm making the story, then I didn't learn anything and probably neither will the people who I'm telling it to.”

Sheila Riggs talks to a man


Root of the problem

“If you do in collaboration — do change with, not to — a community, or profession, or a family, it is a much better product in the end.”

Photo of Shirley Vargas


Here to learn

“We have to make sure that what we're doing is actually in the best interest of students.”

Collage of map and photo of Maine and photo of Betsy Biemann


Growing returns

“We are working every day to build a society and economy that enables everyone to reach their full potential.”

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Collage of map and images of Florida and photo of Charles Waldheim


Future design

“Our right of use laws, our zoning, and our land use policies — all of those things were written for a very different war.”

A collage of picture of Idaho and Rebecca on top of a map of Idaho


Breaking the barrier

“There isn't American history, and then LGBTQ+ history, and then Black history, and then women's history. It's all American history.”

Photo of Matthew Liebmann


Unearthing buried history

“It's like a book that’s sitting out there and weathering over time. We want to read as much of that book as we can before the ink starts running, the pages get ripped out, and it gets lost.”

Eve L. Ewing and Nate Marshall on stage at the second annual Chicago Poetry Block Party


Poetry in motion

“What I have found over and over is [that] if you give people an accessible entry point [to the arts], they’ll take to it with great enthusiasm and great excitement.”

Kalya leaning against a building on campus


Science of success

“We want to get the kids hooked and convince them that they can solve real problems if only they put some effort into this.”

Jason sitting in a wooden room with the sun streaming in


Home improvements

“We need to be much more aggressive and not accept the status quo. Just because that’s how it is now doesn’t mean we have to accept that.”

Karalyn dressed as the little mermaid on stage

Arts call

“Whenever I have the opportunity to cultivate an environment of my own, I try to put community, kindness, and welcoming at the forefront, no matter where, when, or who it is.”

A collage of pictures of Montana, a beaver, and Jordan sitting on a hill with her dog


Learning from the land

“I could spend a whole lifetime doing science [in Montana] and not even scratch the surface of what there is to learn from the land.”

Dan smiling in front of model buildings


Spatial awareness

“What you see in the built environment didn’t fall from the sky; [it's] a product of decisions people made. It’s not natural, and it’s not inevitable.”

Sarah and a Collective member laughing at a table


Change is collective

“No one’s circumstances should be dictated by where they live. I want to see a world in which all young people have access to opportunity.”


Improving the odds

“What if we can reverse engineer ways to create and empower diverse leaders from our community to become the elected officials, the doctors, the teachers, and the lawyers of our community?”

Marnie smiling out a window


Expressing genes

“Our focus is genetics, but we think it could have really wonderful returns for our world, just to know each other better.”

Theresa reading to a group of students


Bluegrass symphony

“At my core is a desire to leave any place better than I found it, including the organization in which I work or the community in which I live.”


Magnolia state blooming

“It’s about creating structures for people to come together and have an input into the laws and rules that govern their lives.”

A collage of pictures, with the staff of With Honor, a capital building, and a map of Carlotte


United front

“There’s an incredible hunger for something different, for pragmatic solutions, for folks who can put country before party.”

Benet speaking at a podium


Seeds of change

“We’re facing big problems — as a community, as a state, as a country, as a world — but the folks who tell you that it’s hopeless are wrong.”

A collage of photos of Izzy working on the farm


Growing home

“I knew I wanted to do something impactful, and not just a project that I thought was important, but [one that] would be addressing an issue that was there.”