Students in Service and Leadership at Harvard

Allison Pao

Over the last four weeks, Harvard Radio Broadcasting, Inc. (WHRB) has faced the challenges imposed by the coronavirus pandemic with resilience, resourcefulness, and optimism. With the evacuation of our 220 active undergraduate members, we are no longer able to staff live air around the clock. However, we are fortunate to have the technology and knowledge necessary to automate our 24/7 programming, and we have transitioned to programming these broadcasts remotely. Many of our DJs are recording their song breaks at home, and we have invested in a few USB microphones for some of these members to improve sound quality which will be donated to the WHRB studios once we return to campus. We are projected a loss of over a third of our annual operating budget over the next few months because the classical music organizations who purchase ad campaigns with us have all postponed their concerts, but in response to this, we are organizing our first fundraising campaign in recent memory.

Of course, programming and finances are only two aspects of our station. What we value the most about our station is our community of students, listeners, and alumni. To maintain a sense of community virtually, we have organized Zoom administrative board meetings, happy hours, meals, and movie screenings. We held our meeting with the board of trustees, elections of the administrative board via Zoom, and Visitas open house as well. We have participated in various social media challenges (WHRB versions of Bingo and the 30-Day Song Challenge), and we have increased our social media post frequency during this time. We are creating and sharing “quarantine” playlists for each other. We plan to hold virtual alumni reunions and mixers. We are sending updates to our listeners via mail and email. In summary, even though we are off-campus, we are doing all we can to bring our community closer together. The incredible silver lining of this entire crisis is that we are being challenged to rapidly innovate, and we are learning an incredible amount from this experience. As a result, I think we will emerge from this period even stronger than before.


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