Explore Harvard’s Iconic Spaces with 360° Interactive Videos

For me, noth­ing cap­tures those occa­sion­al feel­ings of post-grad­u­ate yearn­ing like “I Wish I Could Go Back to Col­lege,” a N‑quite-SFW track from the Broad­way musi­cal, Avenue Q.

With all due respect, it feels like the five mem­bers of Har­vard Uni­ver­si­ty’s just-grad­u­at­ed Class of 2016 shar­ing their rec­ol­lec­tions in the inter­ac­tive 360° video project, Har­vard Stu­dents Say Farewell, left a few cru­cial details out. (Note: Youtube 360 videos only work in Chrome, Fire­fox, Inter­net Explor­er, or Opera browsers.)

It’s com­plete­ly safe for prospec­tive par­ents, not a keg or con­dom wrap­per in sight. (The project is host­ed on Harvard’s offi­cial Youtube chan­nel.)

Unsur­pris­ing­ly, Har­vard appears to have been the par­tic­i­pants’ uni­ver­sal first choice of col­lege. Hasty Pud­ding per­former, Joshuah Camp­bell, above, a self-described “Black kid from the coun­try,” con­fides that it was the only place he applied to.

He may have arrived won­der­ing how he would fit in, but four years lat­er, his grub­by dorm room is one of the “icon­ic” Har­vard loca­tions view­ers can explore dig­i­tal­ly as he briefly reflects upon his expe­ri­ence.

That’s about as down and dirty as this series gets. The human sub­jects seem to have been select­ed with an eye toward diver­si­ty and humil­i­ty, rather than the clenched Boston Brah­min jaw that once defined the insti­tu­tion.

Mean­while, the libraries, quads, and the­aters through which this new breed of Har­vard men and women wan­der attest to the place’s ongo­ing exclu­siv­i­ty.

Sree­ja Kala­pu­rakkel, above, a mem­ber of the Har­vard South Asian Dance Com­pa­ny, knew what she was get­ting into, as a stu­dent at a respect­ed Boston sec­ondary school. Short­ly after grad­u­a­tion, she sung Har­vard’s prais­es some­what more frankly on her Face­book page:

Each day of my time at Har­vard was filled with every­thing that makes life beau­ti­ful: dark­ness, strug­gle, despair, lone­li­ness, friend­ship, hope, per­se­ver­ance, light. Every expe­ri­ence, every les­son, every friend trans­formed me into some­one more human and gave me some­thing new to fight for.

Har­vard, like every oth­er col­lege in the land, has relaxed its pol­i­cy on end­ing a sen­tence in a prepo­si­tion.

Ana-Maria Con­stan­tin arrived sight unseen from her native Roma­nia to pull us out onto the deck of the Smith­son­ian Astro­phys­i­cal Obser­va­to­ry.

On to the lock­er room! Hock­ey cap­tain Kyle Criscuo­lo joins the Detroit Red Wings, reflect­ing that Har­vard stu­dent ath­letes enjoy no spe­cial treat­ment. In future, the uni­ver­si­ty may want to require them to lis­ten to Will Stephen’s lec­ture, “How to Sound Smart in a TED Talk.” Criscuo­lo sounds sin­cere, but also stiff, as if read­ing from a sheet of paper, or the dig­i­tal equiv­a­lent there­of.

(There­of is an adverb, by the way. Not a prepo­si­tion. I checked.)

Har­vard Art Muse­ums Stu­dent Board mem­ber Rachel Thomp­son paints her­self so meek­ly, I’m tempt­ed to check with her fresh­man year room­mate. Was she real­ly so filled with self doubt? I’ve always assumed Har­vard accep­tance let­ters would puff the recip­i­ent up. Good lord, imag­ine the effect the rejec­tion let­ters must have!

Use a mouse to explore the immer­sive envi­ron­ment on your com­put­er, or the YouTube app to nav­i­gate on a mobile device. Use a vir­tu­al real­i­ty head­set and the Har­vard Crim­son staff’s vocab­u­lary list to enhance the expe­ri­ence even more.

The com­plete playlist is here.

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Har­vard Presents Free Cours­es with the Open Learn­ing Ini­tia­tive

NPR Launch­es Data­base of Best Com­mence­ment Speech­es Ever

The Har­vard Clas­sics: Down­load All 51 Vol­umes as Free eBooks

Ayun Hal­l­i­day is an author, illus­tra­tor, Chief Pri­ma­tol­o­gist of the East Vil­lage Inky zine, and a North­west­ern Uni­ver­si­ty grad. Fol­low her @AyunHalliday

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