FOP 2021 Updates

Hello hello! If you’re in the Class of 2025, welcome to Harvard! If you are unfamiliar with FOP, welcome to our website! 

FOP Steering Committee (SC) is currently planning for FOP 2021. Please note that the information on this website will be regularly updated to reflect the most recent plan given changing circumstances. Our program shifted to a virtual format in 2020 due to COVID-19 restrictions.

FOP and all other first-year pre-orientation programs will be virtual this year. SC is still finalizing the program dates, but FOP will take place August 16th - 19th so that there is no overlap between FOP and first-year move in. Although virtu-FOP may be a different experience than many of you may have been looking foward to, we will have in-person outdoor adventures and gatherings throughout the 2021-22 academic year. Particularly, FOPpers who participated in the virtual program will have the opportunity to meet their FOP leaders and spend time with their FOP group during opening days. 

We are so proud of how virtu-FOP went in 2020 and we're excited to continue to fulfill our mission of building first-year communities with old traditions mixed with new programming! 

If you are intersted in participating in FOP and want to recieve the most up-to-date information, please fill out this interest form.

In addition to information posted on the website, you can view our 2021 welcome video. You can also listen to the FOP Podcast, a new addition to our program. The podcast includes six episodes exploring virtual FOP 2020’s curriculum themes featuring expert guests of the likes of  Jill Lepore, Zach Nowak, Noel Michele Holbrook, Ross Mulcare, Forrest Parks, with a special guest FOP leader and SC member Ariel Silverman! You can find a complete set of episodes here!

As always, please lease feel free to reach out to us by email at with any questions, concerns, or cookies. :)




To Our Community,

We want to acknowledge the horrific events of late—the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Tony McDade, and so many other Black people; the blatant and weaponizing racism demonstrated by Amy Cooper; the failure of our president and elected officials to act effectively; and the enormous loss of Black lives and livelihoods to police violence. For people like George, Ahmaud, Breonna, and Tony, justice delayed was justice denied. The pace of societal progress was simply too slow for them. They lost their lives and will never get a do-over. 

The infuriating and painful truth is that none of this is new. Though this moment may feel bizarre, jarring, or shocking, this is a reality that Black people are accustomed to and have experienced across the country for years. Racism against black people has manifested itself in different forms for longer than this country has existed. It has existed explicitly as slavery, segregation, lynching, mass incarceration, hate crimes, police brutality, and implicitly as stereotyping, assumptions, microaggressions, and white silence. (This is, obviously, not an exhaustive list.) 

In the larger outdoor community, white-centric environmentalism and the exclusion of Black people is rampant, and is perpetuated on a smaller scale in our own FOP community. For FOP specifically, racism is also manifested as a lack of diversity among our leaders and participants, decades-long silence and apathy toward social justice in our curriculum, and training that does not adequately educate our leaders about how systemic racism impacts the outdoors. We as an SC and as a FOP community are not blameless.

The events of the last few days highlight the urgent need for our program to grow and evolve. FOP has the power to influence the attitudes and actions of over 400 first-years every single year. Those students can in turn make Harvard a more inclusive, accepting campus. When Harvard shapes its students into better citizens, those students become leaders who have the opportunity to make the world more equitable and just. With this in mind, we’re committing to taking the following actions and making the following changes to FOP:

  • Instituting implicit bias training as a new core component of our leader training. 

  • Embedding discussions of race, equity, and diversity in the outdoors and at Harvard into each trip (beyond just one general EDI discussion).

  • Collaborating with other Harvard pre-orientation programs to improve the EDI programming that participants receive.

  • Working with other outdoor pre-orientation programs at our peer institutions to make change within the broader outdoor community.

Additionally, we’d like to ask our fellow leaders to continue to educate and share resources with folks in your networks, donate (if you are able) to bail funds that go toward protestors and other incarcerated people, and stay engaged with local anti-racism actions. We’re currently seeking approval from Harvard to match donations and will be updating all of you on that as soon as we can. We’ve included links to some educational resources and places to donate in this Google doc.

In FOP, we always try to “assume best intentions”. Over the past few days, we’ve found ourselves wondering: where would we be if officer Derek Chauvin had assumed best intentions? Or better yet, where could we be if ALL police officers assumed best intentions? Though the answers to these questions are unknowable, they nevertheless stress the importance of becoming catalysts of change ourselves. If we exercise our agency and leverage our privilege for others, we can make a difference. We can prevent the Derek Chauvins of the world from ever wearing a badge or wielding a gun in the first place. We can overcome our biases, influence our peers, and restructure our systems. Because in the end, we are all human beings and we all deserve compassion, opportunity, justice, and love.


We hope this email finds you safe and healthy. We love you. Stay strong. Black Lives Matter.


FOP SC ‘20                                                FOP SC ‘21

Hannah Barbash-Taylor ‘21             Janet Liu '23            

Spencer Carter ‘22                                Idabelle Paterson '22

Sonia Chen ‘21                                        Carlos Robles '21

Sarah Flynn ‘21                                      Maggie Shultz '22             

Chris Johnson-Harwitz ‘21               Ariel Silverman '22

Cooper Tretter ‘22                               Brianna Turner '23

Jackson Walker ‘21                               Serena Wurmser '23

Emily Quigley, FOP Director


P.S. Here are some resources that you may find useful again.



FOP 2020 Dates

FOP trips will occur over six full-group, virtual sessions from August 17 until August 30. The full-group meeting time will total 12 hours.

This year's program will also encourage some individual and interpersonal programming outside of the full-group meeting time.

As always, if you have any questions, please email us, the FOP Steering Committee, at!

Cost to FOPpers

This year's FOP program will be free to all FOPpers!