Breaking Barriers: Noah Harris Makes History at Harvard

4/10/20243 min read

Breaking Barriers: Noah Harris Makes History at Harvard

In a historic moment that resonated far beyond the ivy-covered walls of Harvard University, Noah Harris became the first Black man elected as Harvard’s student body president. The significance of this achievement reverberated throughout the university’s 384-year history, marking a pivotal milestone in the ongoing journey towards diversity, inclusion, and representation.

Harris's journey to Harvard began amidst the excitement of a high school basketball game in Hattiesburg, Mississippi. On December 12, 2017, as he battled on the court for Oak Grove High School, an email from Harvard arrived, signaling his acceptance. Despite the distraction, Harris's elation was palpable when he, alongside his parents, learned of his admission, marking the start of an extraordinary chapter in his life.

Transitioning from the warm embrace of Mississippi to the bustling streets of Cambridge, Massachusetts was not without its challenges. Harvard presented a new environment, both culturally and climatically, but Harris embraced the opportunity with fervor. Eager to continue his passion for student leadership, he swiftly immersed himself in campus activities, setting his sights on student government.

Harris's determination led him to run for student government during his freshman year, a decision that proved both daunting and rewarding. Despite fierce competition, he secured a position, demonstrating his ability to navigate the complexities of university politics. His role as secretary of the finance committee provided insight into the intricacies of Harvard’s budget, igniting a newfound passion for financial stewardship.

It was during his tenure on the undergraduate student council that Harris crossed paths with his future running mate, Jenny Gan. Together, they envisioned a transformative agenda aimed at addressing the pressing issues facing Harvard’s diverse student body.

As they embarked on their campaign journey, Harris and Gan confronted the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. Campaigning virtually, they adapted to the new normal, leveraging social media and online platforms to engage with students. Despite the obstacles, their message resonated, resonating with students who yearned for progressive leadership during unprecedented times.

Their platform, aptly titled “Building Tomorrow’s Harvard,” encompassed a multifaceted approach to fostering diversity, equity, and inclusion on campus. From advocating for students of color to enhancing mental health resources, Harris and Gan were unwavering in their commitment to effecting positive change.

The culmination of their efforts came with the announcement of the election results, a moment that defied tradition and exceeded expectations. Harris and Gan emerged victorious, marking a historic moment not only for Harvard but for the broader narrative of representation and belonging.

Reflecting on his journey, Harris emphasizes the importance of his achievement in inspiring future generations of Black students. His ascent to the pinnacle of student leadership sends a powerful message: that excellence knows no boundaries of race or background.

Looking ahead, Harris envisions a future shaped by his dual passions for law and politics. With aspirations of attending law school, he remains open to the myriad possibilities that lie ahead, including the prospect of returning to Harvard to pursue his legal education.

As the first Black man elected to serve as Harvard’s student body president, Noah Harris stands as a beacon of hope and possibility. His story is a testament to the transformative power of education and the enduring spirit of perseverance. In breaking barriers and blazing trails, Harris exemplifies the boundless potential that resides within each individual, regardless of their origins or circumstances.

In celebrating Noah Harris's historic achievement, we not only honor his remarkable journey but also reaffirm our collective commitment to fostering a more inclusive and equitable future for all. His legacy serves as a reminder that progress is forged through courage, resilience, and unwavering resolve. As we continue to strive for a more just society, may we draw inspiration from Harris's triumph and embrace the limitless possibilities that await us on the path ahead.