Dear FM, This week, I am a little ashamed to admit, I entered my gym bro era. If you see me stomping down the Cabot tunnels wearing bulky headphones and a tank top, I’m sorry. To the dismay of many people in my life, I have suddenly found myself wholly devoted to the pursuit of gains. I don’t know when the gains will come — or when I’ll snap out of it. But I do know this: in the meantime, there’s a new issue to read. IYG kicks us off with a top-notch cover story on the uncertain future of diversity and inclusion at Harvard. Amid nationwide controversy over allegations of antisemitism on university campuses, Harvard’s DEI efforts have come under fire from conservative activists. But this attack was brewing long before Oct. 7, and now many within the University are also calling for reform. How will Harvard respond? It is a fascinating and vital story: if you want to understand the ideological battle over Harvard’s values and campus culture, this is a must-read. Editing this piece, I have been in awe of the clarity and nuance of IYG’s writing, the ocean-floor depth of her reporting, and the unbelievable amount of work she has put in over the last month. Next up, JL gets a golf cart tour of the Arnold Arboretum from its director, Professor Ned Friedman, and asks him (almost) 15 Questions about his love of plants, evolution before Darwin, and “botanizing.” SSL visits the Abigail Adams Institute, which is trying to resurrect a more “traditional” vision of the humanities. VWR takes a trek up to Cabot House and talks to the student managers of the recently-reopened Quad Bikes about fixing tires and sustainable transit. And doubling back for this week’s endpaper, SSL reveals her defining personality trait: a penchant for asking to pet strangers’ dogs. Some thanks are in order: to GRW for sticking out a multi-day scroofing process and to IYG for not going over the semicolon budget. Thank you to SET, LPE, and the design execs for putting together a magnificent short-notice glossy, to LLL and BHP for holding down the Multi fort, and to MJH, CY, and EJS for making sure nobody runs into brick walls. Thank you to our lovely FM execs, to our new compers for bringing great pitches to writer’s meeting, to YAK and JL for making EAL meetings so entertaining, and to KT, for weathering storms and always, always helping. FMLove, HD & KT
While political tensions are pervasive to many, and dictate the actions of some, many Jewish students have remained united by the recognition of a common identity with some of those they disagree with, and an aspiration for mutual understanding.
Dear FM, This week was the week of love. Mushy gushy Valentine’s Day love? Sure. Gal/bro/non-gender-specific-friends-lentines love? Hit me. But most of all, this was the week of love for hometowns, nonstandard units of length, and unhinged answers on the Datamatch survey. First-time scrut writers and news reporter extraordinaires MAH and AJM brought to the cover of this issue their labor of love: a long-awaited scrut on Jewish students’ and organizations’ challenges navigating the politicization of antisemitism and their identities following Oct. 7. It is a deeply important and well-reported piece, full of interviews with students with a range of backgrounds, experiences, and perspectives. It is interrogative yet respectful, compelling and sharp, targeting questions about defining antisemitism and the political tensions within and between groups that our existing coverage has long danced around. Words cannot emphasize how amazing this piece is — MAH and AJM, I am completely blown away by both of you. The rest of this issue, too, is full of labors of love, from the silly to the serious — and everything in between! For this week’s 15Q, DRZ speaks to biological anthropologist Daniel E. Lieberman about exercise and evolution, barefoot running, and his paper on why pregnant people don’t just “tip over.” YAK, ever on her relationships/sex/conservatism(?) beat, speaks to the matchmakers advertising clients in personals in the Harvard Magazine. After attending an event on historians’ and scientists’ efforts to identify the enslaved individuals buried in the Catoctin Furnace Cemetery, AI investigates the role of gene sequencing in tracing African American history. CJK speaks to Lee S. Smith ’69, managing editor of his class’s Harvard Yearbook, about photojournalism and documenting the Black political activism of his time. On a lighter note, OGP and AEP talked to Oliver R. Smoot about how there came to be markings on the Harvard Bridge measuring it in terms of his height. Prolific JKW, carrier of FM, strikes again with a levity on a perfectly horrific Datamatch date between Pisa Schitt and Steve Vulguy. And finally, tying our issue to a close, SZS writes a beautiful homage to her hometown, Chico, CA, which she learned to love when she finally left it. Thank you SET, LPE, and design execs for amazing graphics always and for helping with glossy planning. Thank you to LLL and BHP, our beloved FM-multi execs, for helping us with getting photos — I know it can be tough! Thank you to MJH, EJS, and CY, the holy trinity of damage control. Thank you to all FM execs, especially YAK for diligent scroofing, and JL and YAK for keeping FM a well-oiled machine. And of course, thank you to HD for your support this week, your speedy proofing, and your quick thinking — what would I do without you? FMLove, HD & KT
Creative writing contests aim to promote self expression and foster a new generation of artists. But does turning creative writing into a competition for admissions erode its artistic purpose?
Dear FM, This weekend, it has felt like winter might already be over. But the new year of Fifteen Minutes is only just beginning, and we are brimming with joy to be bringing you its first issue. In this week’s cover story, AEP and first-time scrut writer CNS investigate the high school creative writing competition circuit. Contests like YoungArts and the Scholastic Awards offer students a chance to showcase their literary talent and can open pathways to prestigious colleges, but they can also incentivize students to commodify their identity or write about painful experiences. The jury’s still out on the competitions, but you don’t need a judge to tell you how hard our two brilliant reporters worked to put together such a sharp story — I’m so proud of them. Leading us into the issue is a trio of 15Qs: JL chats with the newly-minted Nobel Prize winner Claudia Goldin about economics and Barbie; JKW talks to HLS professor Jeannie Suk Gersen, who has incisive answers on everything from free speech to fast fashion; and ESK receives insights and book recommendations from Sarah Richardson, a historian who founded an interdisciplinary gender science lab. This rest of this issue takes us far from home — in time, in place, and in magnitude. JKW uncovers the strange history of Harvard’s 17th-century ferry monopoly and the Supreme Court case it eventually inspired. MAT reflects on what fossil fuels and their precarious future mean to his community in Texas’s Permian Basin, which produces most of the country’s oil and gas. Finally, in a delicate and beautiful endpaper, EMK questions her relationship to science, poetry, and approximation. Thank you to SET, LPE, JJG, AYL — and everyone else from Multi and Design who held our hands through this issue — and to our trio of guiding lights: MJH, EJS, and CY. Thank you to our execs, especially SEW for extremely efficient scrut-proofing, to our new Editors-At-Large YAK and JL for top-tier themes on their pitch emails, and of course to my co-chair KT for being on top of everything, always. A special thank you to IYG and AHL, for tutorials that make adminning feel like Mario Kart, for banana slug plushies, and for making sure we were as prepared for this role as possible. We can only hope to be as steadfast and strong for this coming year as you were in your leadership. And what a year we have ahead of us. FMLove, HD & KT
By propelling winners to elite colleges and empowering them to pursue writing, these competitions can change the course of students’ lives. But the pressure to win can also stunt young writers’ growth and complicate their relationship with their craft and themselves.