April 10, 2016

Meanwhile, In The Ivies

Today I would like to take my quarterly break from Total Blog Silence to talk about this story from The Harvard Crimson: Berries Sour Debate Over UC Funding
On Sunday, Freshman Class Committee Treasurer Scott Xiao ’19 introduced legislation to appropriate $850 to Harvard University Dining Services for a “Berry Brain Break” on Tuesday, as part of this week’s Freshman Health Project. The legislation proposed funding an assortment of strawberries, blackberries, blueberries, and raspberries to feed about 400 students.

“Our constituents say they want to see berries at our enhanced brain break,” Xiao said.
I'm sorry, a "Brain Break"? Way to bury the lede. The headline for this whole story should really be "Harvard students find way to make even snacking sound fucking lame."

But apparently not all on the Undergraduate Council were convinced that spending two thirds of one credit hour of undergraduate tuition on some berries was such a good idea.
Oak Yard representative Olu Oisaghie ’19 called such an allotment “irresponsible.”

Leverett House representative Jullian A. Duran ’18 said “there are definitely other foods that are healthy that don’t cost $850.”

“This didn’t feel like the best appropriation of money,” Oak Yard representative Nicholas D. Boucher ’19 said at the meeting, explaining his opposition to the berry bill when the Freshman Class Committee debated it.
To be honest, I feel like the real headline here should be: "Harvard doesn't already serve berries to students." Like, really? What kind of place can charge $63,000 per year per student and then turn around with a straight face and say "ooooooh, berries? IDK, seems kind of pricey." At $15,000 per student in room and board each year, they should have berries pouring from faucets all over campus on demand.
Some representatives pointed to survey results that indicated that berries were popular among freshmen and argued that the committee still had close to $2,000 in its budget remaining for the rest of the school year.

Others, however, were not sold on the alleged popularity of berries.

“I hear people talking about how a lot of their constituents are so excited to have berries at brain break. I’m not sure we have the same constituents,” Oisaghie said.

Speaking of making even snacking sound lame, how about we wrap up this debate with pretty much the nerdiest Harvard kid quote we can find?
Winthrop House representative Vimal S. Konduri ’17, a Crimson news editor, said that “technically, there are berries at every brain break, because botanically, bananas are berries.”
*slow clap*

Anyway, spoiler alert, the student council ultimately voted in favour of the berry spending bill, only to have the School of Public Health step in and offer to pick up the tab anyway. And in the event:
Hundreds of freshmen crowded Annenberg Hall to enjoy an assortment of strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries during Tuesday’s Brain Break, but some...
...were left with just sour grapes.

“There were a bunch of people who took two bowls so that they could get as many berries as they could,” Catherine Y. Zhang ’19 said. “I’m pretty sure there were some people who brought tupperware.” [...] Though the event was scheduled to last from 9:15 p.m. to 11:15 p.m., all the berries had been consumed by 9:40. [...]

“I wish there was a more sustainable solution for students to get berries as opposed to one day for one hour,” Deepika S. Kurup ’19 said.
I mean, seriously, how expensive can it possibly be to buy a couple of punnets of strawberries every now and then? You'd think these kids had never seen a piece of fruit before.

Finally, the interview scoop that every journalist reporting on a story like this dreams of getting:
Katie C. BERRY ’19 was one of many students who arrived after all of the berries had disappeared, and said she was “devastated.”

“I was looking forward to having some berries, but there was nothing for me," Berry said.
I take it back. This is really what I'd call...

...berrying the lede.