Neighborhood Spotlight, Part IV: A Tour Through Central Square

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This is the fourth post in our Neighborhood Spotlight series. To catch up on earlier installments in this series, read Part I, A Love Song to Davis Square, Part II, An Ode to Union Square, and Part III, A Tribute to Harvard Square.

For those of you who consistently hunger for a beautiful view of the Charles, let’s start at the Smoot bridge before we head to Central Square. With the Boston skyline on either side and Cambridge straight ahead, even the crankiest New Englanders find it hard not to enjoy the views on this bridge.

Sunset on the Charles in Cambridge. Photo by Caroline Matas

Sunset on the Charles in Cambridge. Photo by Caroline Matas

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Spring Celebrations: HDS’s Annual Baby Animal Extravaganza

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Last year, a new HDS tradition was born: Celebrating spring and reading week with the cutest procrastination aids around–baby animals! Last week, Animal Craze petting zoo of Winchendon, MA brought some of its newest residents to snuggle our students in the midst of their finals stress. Needless to say, a good time was had by all.

Photos by Aisha Ansano and Caroline Matas

Neighborhood Spotlight, Part III: A Tribute to Harvard Square

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This is the third post in our Neighborhood Spotlight series. To catch up on earlier installments in this series, read Part I, A Love Song to Davis Square and Part II, An Ode to Union Square.

Oh, Harvard Square, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways.

  1. I love that you’re so conveniently located, a place where everyone goes to meet for food, drinks, and merriment. Relatedly, no one has ever told you that you’re too far to visit (cough cough), unlike Davis or Union square.
Harvard Square. Photo by Caroline Matas

Harvard Square. Photo by Caroline Matas

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Neighborhood Spotlight, Part II: An Ode to Union Square

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This is the second post in our Neighborhood Spotlight series. To start at the beginning, read Part I, A Love Song to Davis Square.

I actually live solidly between Union Square and Porter Square, so I’d like to briefly nod to Porter—it’s a great area with a convenient T stop, Christopher’s bar and restaurant (come for the nachos, stay for the fireplace, but be sure to eat a lot of nachos while you’re there), and Newtowne Grille (their PBR pitcher and cheese pizza special is basically the only affordable meal on a student budget in the greater Boston area). There’s also Café Zing, inside Porter Square Books, which is my idea of heaven: a coffee shop IN a bookstore?!

But mostly, when I want to go out, I head to Union Square. Union Square has an eclectic feel. It doesn’t have a T stop, which is part of the appeal—it has more of a neighborhood vibe because most of the people who spend time there actually live in the area. It’s about a 25 minute walk from Union Square proper to HDS, but I promise that it’s worth the trek!

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Neighborhood Spotlight, Part I: A Love Song to Davis Square

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As our newly-enrolled HDS class begins making preparations for their relocation to Cambridge, they might be debating the merits of the various neighborhoods around HDS’s campus, which is situated near the Cambridge/Somerville border. Over the next week, various current students will weigh in regarding why their neighborhood is the best of the bunch. We hope this will give our new students a better sense of what each Cambridge/Somerville neighborhood has to offer as they find a new place to live!

If you are reading this, congratulations, because you are now one step closer to living in the best neighborhood in Greater Boston.

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HDS Course Spotlight: Three Students’ Semester Favorites

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As the spring semester draws to a close, three HDS students discuss their favorite courses of the semester.

Erika Carlsen, 3rd year MDiv:

My favorite class this semester so far has been Exercising Leadership: The Politics of Change, offered at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government (HKS). In this class, we’ve learned about the difference between exercising leadership and authority, understanding the different ways in which group dynamics can affect our ability to effect change in a given system, and strategies for mobilizing groups to face difficult topics head-on. In addition to our weekly class, we also meet in a small group each week where one individual is responsible for presenting on a leadership failure she or he experienced, after which s/he petitions the wisdom of the group to help her/him address the blind spots that might have led to that failure. It’s a dynamic class filled with students from HKS, the Harvard Graduate School of Education, the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, and some cross registrants from the MIT Sloan School of Management. This diverse mix of students lends itself to one of the most interesting and engaging learning environments I’ve found at Harvard thus far.
Rod Owens blog picRod Owens, 1st year MDiv:

This semester I am taking a course called Sexualities and Gender in the African Diaspora offered by Dr. Jennifer Leath, a visiting professor. It is a course that explores our construction of sexuality and gender within communities of African descendants and how we can challenge these constructions within the context of religious expression. I am also a member of a reading group called Racial Justice in Relief where the practice of racial justice is examined in the work of several writers, including Ida B. Wells, Bayard Rustin, Howard Thurman, Dorothy Day, etc. The reading group is also taught by Dr. Leath and is an extension of dialogues connected to liberatory models of education and transcending suffering of difference.

Screen Shot 2015-04-11 at 1.25.37 AMChris Alburger, 3rd year MDiv:

My favorite class this semester is Administration and Leadership, with professors Emily Click and Laura Tuach. Emily Click has us journal about leadership questions every week, write a personal mission statement, and do debates and role plays. Everything is treated as an experiment and growth opportunity. We’re encouraged to bring our whole selves to the classroom, take an honest look at ourselves, be vulnerable with one another, and make our own unique contributions. Last week, Laura Tuach started section by having us get out our journals and asked: “What is your sense of overall driving purpose? What have you been put on earth to do? What brings you irrepressible joy?”

“I Could Belong Here”: Open House and Deciding on a Graduate School

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As you deliberate on your plans for the upcoming academic year, you might be curious about how our current students decided to commit to HDS. Below, second year MTS student Cody Musselman reflects on how her experience at our Admitted Students Open House confirmed that she would thrive here at HDS.

Photo by Caroline Matas

Photo by Caroline Matas

In the spring of 2013, I arrived in Boston for the Admitted Students Open House at Harvard Divinity School. I was nervous and still unsure about whether or not I should attend in the fall. I was fortunate to have other offers and to be in the position of finding the best fit for my ambitions, interests, lifestyle, and personality. It was a wonderful, yet overwhelming position to be in. Visiting the schools in person, I had decided, was the best way to determine the proper fit.

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Congratulations to the HDS Incoming Class of 2015!

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Photo by Caroline Matas

Photo by Caroline Matas

Decisions have already been released online, but we like to keep things old-school: Look out for a hard copy of your letter of admission in the mail next week, along with plenty of new information about housing, summer programs, and more! We can’t wait to welcome you to our school.

HDS Course Spotlight: Christian Ethics and Modern Society

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As I entered my second semester as an MDiv student at HDS, I looked forward to branching out and taking courses that were cross-listed with other Harvard schools and composed of students from different parts of Harvard University. My favorite course so far this semester has been one such course: Christian Ethics and Modern Society with Dr. Charles Lockwood. The diversity of my class represents everything I like best about being a Harvard student. In addition to coming from all different parts of the University–from Harvard College to Harvard Divinity School to alumni working as fellows at the University–my class comprises students of various faith traditions, gender identities, sexualities, racial and ethnic backgrounds, and philosophical camps.

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The Meaning of “Home”

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As the winter semester wears on and students settle back into their routine here in Cambridge/Somerville/Boston, some find it a good time to reflect on what “home” means during the transition-filled graduate school years. Below, 2nd year MDiv student Aisha Ansano shares her thoughts…

“Where are you from?” It’s a question I’ve gotten more times than I can count since I’ve been at HDS. “Well,” I typically begin, “I was born in the Caribbean, on a small island called Curaçao, but I moved to Durham, North Carolina when I was 10, and I lived in the California Bay Area for 5 years before I came to HDS.” It’s a long answer, but the only one that feels authentic – these places are all my homes, even though I now live in a wonderful apartment in Cambridge.

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