In response to health concerns about the spread of COVID-19, Outings and Innings — a service that offers discounted event tickets to Harvard affiliates — will halt sales until further notice.
For the rest of the semester, O&I will share information about virtual programs and online events through its weekly digest and social media platforms. It will also issue refunds for all canceled events, per its website.
O&I offers subsidized tickets to events and venues throughout the greater Boston area via its website, mailing list, and social media. The service sells theater and museum passes as well as tickets to sports games, concerts, movie showings, live performances, and other “hidden gems.”
Originally established in the 1970s, O&I was at first only available for staff, but was extended to students five years ago. After current director Devorah S. Sperling joined the office in 1995, she transitioned the program from predominantly advertising one-off events to promoting more recurrent ones.
“I shifted the focus to more things that were on a continuing basis,” Sperling said in an interview Tuesday.
While COVID-19 threatens to interrupt Sperling’s mission to provide continual access to Boston-based events, the O&I team is still spotlighting virtual resources for students, faculty, staff, and affiliates. To do so, O&I has kept track of the many organizations that have published resources from their archives and made them digitally available to the public free of charge.
Besides posting programs on Twitter and Facebook, O&I is now sending out a weekly digest of online talks, digital exhibits, virtual concerts, and live-streams at zoos and aquariums. Over the last few weeks, it has highlighted a Make-A-Thon hosted by the Boston Children’s Museum, online tours at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, and virtual screenings at the Coolidge Corner Theatre.
“We’re putting out about 3 or 4 tweets a day of different things. We seem to constantly have content to put out there. Everyone is trying to keep our patrons engaged,” Sperling said.
While COVID-19 has forced O&I to cancel in-person offerings, Sperling remains optimistic for the future, particularly about movie ticket sales.
“If we can get out of COVID-19, we have a really good season coming up in the 2021 season. When we reopen, we’d love to see everyone come by and use us,” she said.