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Harvard’s Adams House slated for renewal

Posted: 10 Apr 2018 04:30 PM PDT

A building that predates the American Revolution, an antique printing press, a community theater converted from a swimming pool, and a hidden courtyard where students can fire up barbecues and eat strawberries while a string quartet plays on the last day of finals, Adams House is one of Harvard's quirkiest gems.

With its seven buildings set over three city blocks, Adams will be next up in Harvard's long-term House renewal project, which has seen Dunster House and Winthrop House fully renewed, and Lowell House's construction underway, and partial renovations at Quincy and Leverett House.

Beginning next year, Adams will undergo a series of significant renovations that, while preserving its history and notable characteristics, will vastly improve its connectivity and accessibility and add many improvements. Ideas for the renovated design plan were unveiled in a House community meeting on Tuesday, when architects presented detailed renderings and answered questions from Adams students, tutors, and faculty deans. Construction is to begin in the summer of 2019.

Among Adams' treasured assets to be preserved will be the pool theater in Westmorly Court, the Coolidge Room and elliptical stairs in Randolph Hall, the Claverly Hall common and lobby, and the FDR Suite, where future President Franklin Delano Roosevelt lived as an undergraduate at the turn of the 20th century.

"I'm so excited to see Adams House go through the renewal process," said Mike Smith, Edgerley Family Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences (FAS). "Renewal isn't just about accessibility and expanded common areas, though those things are clearly important. It's just as much about engaging the House in thinking about what makes the community unique, what makes it Adams House. It's great to see the Adams personality coming through in the designs that will be the future of the House."

During the planning process, administrators will continue to solicit student feedback through discussions and meetings. Among the most frequent responses in initial meetings were interest in maintaining the House's warm, quirky, and regal characteristics; a desire for updated amenities such as workout spaces, student kitchens, and residential areas; expanded dining and meeting spaces; appropriately sized common areas and dining hall; and special attention for the complex's unique features, such as the tunnel murals through the basements that connect the buildings.

Beyer Blinder Belle Architects & Planners, LLP

The construction will also focus on improved connectivity among the seven buildings. All entrances, including the main one at 26 Plympton St., will be made fully accessible, as will the entry to the dining hall. Another House gem, the working Bow and Arrow Printing Press, will remain but will be made fully accessible.

Currently, the seven buildings feature only one elevator, a small and outdated lift in Claverly. When the project is complete, there will be eight elevators, at least one in every building.

Other improvements include reactivating an existing side door at Claverly to shorten the walk to Randolph, expanding the conservatory adjacent to the dining hall to provide more dining space and connections to a suite of new meeting rooms in Russell Hall, and linking Westmorly Court's A and B entries directly to Gold Stair Hall, as well as a proposed addition above the dining hall. This rooftop addition has been designed to add student life space while maintaining the dining hall as is.

Merle Bicknell, assistant dean for the FAS Office of Physical Resources, said, "Adams House has so much character and many unique features that are beloved by students and alumni. We are working closely with the House community to ensure that we preserve what is special about Adams House, while meeting the needs of today's students."

Beyer Blinder Belle Architects & Planners, LLP

"Renovating and updating Adams House, one of the crown jewels of Harvard's House system, has been an extremely engaging and exciting process," Faculty Deans Judy Palfrey '67, T. Berry Brazelton Professor of Pediatrics at Harvard Medical School, and Sean Palfrey '67, said in a statement. "The architects seem to be as invested and enthusiastic about doing this in innovative and creative ways as we are. We have a great group of students, staff, and alums thinking about it, and we are confident that the new Adams House will have the flavor and quirkiness of the old Adams House while being a great deal more accessible and smoothly functioning."

The project will be carried out in three phases. From June 2019‒July 2020, Claverly and Senior House will be under construction, with reopening scheduled for August 2020. Randolph and Apthorp will be under construction from June 2020‒July 2021, and scheduled to reopen in August 2021. Lastly, Russell, Library Commons, and Westmorly will be under construction from June 2021‒July 2022, reopening in August 2022. In the interim, students will live in nearby swing space.

"Each House renewal project comes with a distinct set of challenges and opportunities," said Elizabeth Leber, a partner at Beyer Blinder Belle, the architect and design firm overseeing the work. "Adams House is a particularly exciting project for us, in that it occupies some of the oldest and most historically significant buildings in the House system, with architectural details that are about as unique and extraordinary as the Adams House culture."



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IOP poll finds youth distrust social media, planning to vote

Posted: 10 Apr 2018 01:00 PM PDT

As debate swirls about tech companies' responsibility to protect their users' data and Congress questions Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg about third parties mining information about millions of site users, a new poll suggests that the romance between college-age Americans and social media may be cooling, or at least isn’t passionate.

According to a national poll of 18- to 29-year-olds conducted by the Harvard Kennedy School's Institute of Politics (IOP), their trust in an array of public institutions, along with some of the world's best-known technology companies — Twitter, Uber, and Facebook — is low.

When it came to politics, the poll also found that young people are planning to vote in far greater numbers in this fall's midterm elections.

Before news broke that the political consulting firm Cambridge Analytica misused the data of millions of Facebook users in the 2016 election, the Harvard Public Opinion Project dug into young Americans' views of major technology companies.

The poll found that Facebook, Twitter, and Uber are trusted much less than Amazon and Google. Only 26 percent of those surveyed said they trusted Facebook "all" or "most of the time," while 27 percent and 28 percent said they trusted Twitter and Uber, respectively. Nearly a quarter of 18- to 29-year-olds (22 percent to 24 percent) said they "never" trust these companies.

The young people's mistrust of tech giants appeared targeted, with Amazon and Google still held in relatively high esteem. Overall, 45 percent indicated they trusted Amazon, and 44 percent reported they trusted Google all or most of the time. Just 14 percent said they never trusted Amazon, and 15 percent said the same about Google.

In sharp contrast, college and university administrators topped the list of most trusted institutions in the survey. Overall, 61 percent of college students reported trusting their administration all or most of the time, which placed colleges and universities ahead of the U.S. military (51 percent), the Department of Justice (45 percent), the Supreme Court (43 percent), and the FBI (42 percent).

As in last year's poll, the least-trusted institutions among young adults were Congress (only 17 percent trust it all or most of the time), the media (16 percent), and Wall Street (14 percent).

On the heels of the March for Our Lives, the recent national gun-control protest led by young people, it's perhaps less surprising that the poll found that young people are increasingly engaged in politics and, significantly in advance of this fall's midterm elections, are planning to vote in greater numbers.

Overall, 37 percent of those under 30 said they will "definitely be voting," compared with 23 percent who said the same before the last midterm election in 2014, and 31 percent in 2010.

"This is the most interest we've seen in midterm voting in the history of our poll," which started in 1999, said John Della Volpe, the IOP's polling director.

Young Democrats are driving nearly all of the increase in enthusiasm, the poll found. A majority (51 percent) reported that they will definitely vote in November, an increase of 9 percentage points since November, and significantly more than the 36 percent of Republicans who said the same. At this juncture in the 2014 election cycle, 28 percent of Democrats and 31 percent of Republicans indicated that they would definitely be voting.

Preference for Democratic control of Congress has grown since the last poll by the IOP, which conducts such surveys twice yearly. In the fall, there was a 32-point partisan gap among the most likely young voters, 65 percent preferring Democrats to control Congress, and 33 percent favoring Republicans. Now the gap has increased to 41 points, with 69 percent supporting Democrats and 28 percent Republicans.

Saying that respondents expressed "an intensity unmatched in recent times," Della Volpe predicted that this intensity is "likely to only grow hotter as the election draws near. Young people are angry, and every incumbent in America ought to understand this."

The poll "demonstrates that young people across the country are more engaged than ever," and the findings have "enormous implications for policymakers and for those of us who care about civic engagement and student participation," said Mark Gearan '78, the IOP's new director.

Despite these shifts in voter support, President Trump's approval remained the same as in the last IOP poll: 25 percent approved of his performance, while 72 percent disapproved.

Trump's highest marks came on his handling of the economy, where a third of respondents (34 percent) approved of his efforts (‒3 since fall), ISIS (31 percent now, ‒1 since fall), and tax reform (31 percent, +2 since fall). His lowest marks came on his handling of race relations (21 percent approved, ‒1 since fall) and gun violence (24 percent approved, ‒6 since fall).

His approval ratings on both North Korea and health care were at 27 percent and on climate change at 22 percent. Approval of Congressional Democrats came in at 41 percent, (‒1 since fall) and of Republicans at 24 percent (+1 since fall).

This poll of 2,631 18- to 29- year-olds, which was organized with undergraduate students from the Harvard Public Opinion Project, was conducted using GfK's probability-based online sampling methodology between March 8 and March 25. The margin of error for the poll is +/‒ 2.54 percentage points at the 95 percent confidence level.



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