Students in Service and Leadership at Harvard

Jordan Topoleski

Hearing the initial news of COVID-19, there was a whirlwind of rumors - that the virus would spread worldwide, that school would be taken online, that people may even need to quarantine themselves. It was easy to think this was all hearsay. But a month into social distancing, it seems as though all of the rumors were true.

For Harvard Model Congress, this came as a particular surprise. As the news of Harvard cancelling all non-essential international travel set in, we were just a week away from our scheduled conference in Madrid, Spain. Hosting over 350 high school students and 35 Harvard students for a mock government simulation, a year’s worth of outreach, financial investment, and planning seemed to evaporate quite quickly. Our organization was forced to cancel our spring break conference, drastically changing the structure of the organization moving forward.

In the aftermath of the cancelation, however, our organization has continued to function. With meetings turning to Zoom, new plans of operation have been mapped out regarding our recovery moving forward. While the element of community is much harder to maintain and socioeconomic differences amongst members are certainly accentuated, members have made extraordinary efforts to come together. This has resulted in Zoom game nights, social hours, and casual hangouts, as well as planning meetings and strategy sessions.

​​​​​​While the future of school and extracurriculars is certainly up in the air, it has been inspiring to see Harvard Model Congress remain patient, flexible, and involved. It will be interesting to see how this changes the future of the organization for years to come.

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