Interview with 2nd Senior Class Marshal Jessica Barzilay.
While most seniors are currently stressing over what they will be doing after graduation, there are a few who already have life-long commitments to Harvard. The Class Marshals for 2016 are among the latter. Reylon Yount, a resident of Lowell, and Jessica Barzilay, current resident of Dunster, have just been elected to 1st and 2nd Senior Class Marshals – which may be described as the President Vice President of the Senior Class Committee. While the elections and appointments of other members of the committee continue, Jessica sat down to discuss some of her new duties and expectations associated with this prestigious role.
In the midst of the mid-day coffee rush at Greenhouse Café, I began to ask Jessica what exactly the Senior Class Committee does. Here are her eloquent responses.
CC: What are the responsibilities of the Senior Class Committee members and how do seniors get onto the committee?
JB: Thus far there have been two elected and we are responsible for overseeing the senior class committee, which consists of six additional senior class marshals who are program marshals. We haven’t necessarily delineated what those marshals will have under their offices, specifically. Under our purview is also the senior gift committee. So the senior gift officers are responsible for fundraising on behalf of the Harvard College Fund that contributes to the gift. And from there, like a pyramid, there are 12 house reps and those I believe are appointed this year, rather than elected, by the house and the house teams. In addition to the 6 program marshals there are also several appointed positions that Reylon (1st Class Marshal) and I oversee – like the media team that will help us design our logo and our swag; a treasurer and secretary to help us budget and things like that.
CC: Becoming a part of such an ensemble was clearly very appealing to many members of the senior class, considering the number of students who submitted candidacies. What made you decide to run?
JB: I love Harvard – I’m so happy here. It has been an incredible three years so far and that is in such large part due to people and the amount of amazing conversations I’ve had and relationships I’ve formed. I feel that I’ve learned so much from my peers and so this opportunity seemed like a perfect way to celebrate our class, to sort of contribute to the community that I have found really, really wonderful. And also to be committed for the rest of my life to being involved! It’s a life long commitment! The most long-term commitment I have right now!
CC: I believe that it is a strange yet comforting thought to know that whatever comes of the years following college graduation, you and the other members will renew class pride and pass along their enthusiasm. Your enthusiasm of investing in and celebrating the entire class of 2016 is most certainly catching. What happens next?
JB: The specific responsibilities are first appointing the rest of the senior class committee and then the big events people expect – senior bars which will start happening late October/early November, then I think we’ll do something for Harvard-Yale, design swag, etc. The bulk of our programming will be pretty back loaded—senior week, picking the Class Day speaker, planning all sorts of activities around commencement. The class speaker is a pretty hotly contested choice. A lot of people have a specific speaker in mind so I don’t know what’s going to happen with that…
We laugh as we both acknowledge the differences in opinion and expectations for this speaker that are bound to cause conflict. We can’t all get Beyonce…
Even so, the unique feeling of being a senior at Harvard and appreciating a time in one’s life that will never come again will surely overcome any differences that may have accumulated during the past three years and bring the Class of 2016 together.
Jessica agrees as she expresses her excitement to not only meet and work with the rest of the committee, which she believes will be a rather intense team, but also to speak with members of the senior class which she does not know as well as she would like to. She states, “I’m always happy to talk to anyone new. If you see me and have any interest in chatting, come say hi. I really hope there will be a great turnout to all of our events so that will be a way for the class of 2016 to bond as a whole.”
Finally, I mentioned the strange habit that people have of not coming together until the very end. Jessica laughed and exclaimed “It’s the same with deadlines! We procrastinate until the last minute… But when the end is near, people tend to appreciate the time we have.” Wise words those are, and words the seniors strive to live by as they enter their last year at Harvard College under the glorious leadership of the senior class marshals.
Caroline Cronin ’18 (email@example.com) wishes Jessica the best of luck as 2nd Senior Class Marshal!