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Berry Bonanza

Including bananas, "botanically speaking"

UPDATED: April 11, 2016, 1:32 a.m.

Last week, America’s wealthiest university found itself wondering what it should do with its money, as the Undergraduate Council debated at length whether it should spend $850 of the Freshman Class Committee’s $10,000 budget on a berry-themed study break. And the UC moved in step with the lot of “constituents” craving berries of the rasp-, straw-, black-, and blue-varieties specifically (though we’ve been informed bananas are berries too, “botanically speaking”), passing the proposal for the event, which drew a crowd of hundreds last Tuesday.

Although all this berry banter does indeed seem silly—if not a pun-opportunity just ripe for the picking—it’s worthwhile to consider an issue that makes its way onto the UC agenda. In this scenario, the UC’s consideration of the Berry Brain Break is, in all seriousness, more fruitful than anything.

Given that the $10,000 given to the Freshman Class Committee is set aside with the intent of being spent over the course of one year on freshmen programming, it is a fund designed for the occasional splurge.

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Not to mention, the idea of funding a fresh, seasonal fruit-themed brain break is one worth preserving and maybe even replicating. Instead of randomly handing out fruit to freshmen in Annenberg one night a year, why not make a whole meal out of the concept? Such a study break could be planned in tandem with members of Harvard’s Food Literacy Project and potentially plant seeds of interest in the program among freshmen.

It’s important that this programming spawned the heated debate it did. Indeed, $850 is a considerable sum regardless of who sets it aside and for what purpose they intend it. It is heartening to see that Harvard’s freshmen policymakers took the time to poll their peers regarding what food they wanted to see at a study break, represent them zealously in meetings, and take their spending decisions seriously.

Ultimately, a professor at the School of Public Health heard about the parley and offered for his department to cover the costs. But in the future, the Freshman Class Committee could look to direct their funds in similarly creative ways, perhaps towards local growers during the brief window when berry season overlaps with the school year. Such a plan would not only give freshmen fresh fruit, but also reinvest in the larger community. Although, seeing as though the Berry Brain Break has already been brought to fruition, this is nothing more than constructive food for thought.

This editorial has been changed to reflect the following clarification:

CLARIFICATION: April 11

This editorial has been updated to clarify the role of the Freshman Class Committee's budget, which is designed to serve the needs of the class in general and is not just for the purpose of entertainment.

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