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The View from Apthorp: Changing Times

Judy and Sean Palfrey

These are difficult but healthy times here at Adams, at Harvard and on college campuses throughout the country. Difficult because the world is difficult. Terrorists attack homes and restaurants, hospitals and schools. Families die fleeing the violence in their homelands. Innocent people are shot in their neighborhoods. Homeless men and women, girls and boys sleep each night on the city streets. Students confront stress, confusion, loneliness, stigma and sometimes, interpersonal violence. Difficult times.

But healthy. These are times when hard subjects are raised. These are times when people all around the House and the College are learning to listen – to hear each other’s voices, lives, experiences, fears and joys. House life is at its best when it is about healthy dialogue – honest discourse, even vigorous debate. This year, as much as any since we have been here at Adams, the House has served as a place for those honest and healthy discussions. And for those totally silent minutes when words make no sense and get in the way.

Healthy too are the exciting Global Citizenship programs sponsored in collaboration with the FDR Foundation. This fall’s meetings on “Beyond Tomorrow: Safeguarding Civilization in Turbulent Times,” “Sharing our Story” and the Adams House WinterSession on “Using the Built Environment for Social Change’ brought together a fabulous array of artists, historians, designers, social scientists, policy makers to delve into questions about our globe’s health and life – both what we can learn from the past and what we must prepare ourselves with for the future. The multigenerational audiences in these programs are one of the joys of Adams House. We love having the alumni join us and we all benefit from the wide range of talent and experience.

Judy and Sean