Once a week, members of our community gather together in the time-honored tradition of UNOs to chat, eat snacks, and complain about homework assignments. UNOs is so-named because of its origin as a social meetup at Uno Pizzeria in Harvard Square, but when that Unos location closed in 2016, UNOs was rebranded. Now, the name is an acronym for “Undergraduates Neglecting Obligations,” which can be more or less true depending on one’s opinion of social vs. academic obligations and how likely community members are to bring homework with them to the event.
These days, UNOs are a calm point in the bustle of the academic semester. Members of HRG&SP are encouraged to RSVP to the weekly UNOs announcements by answering a question or prompt posed by the UNOs committee, which range from your favorite winter activity to a Gilbert & Sullivan-esque title that describes your life to your favorite body of water. The prompt or question also often relates to the theme of that week’s UNOs. Sometimes, UNOs is co-opted for group movie nights (such as a plan for later this semester to watch the 25th anniversary concert performance of Les Misérables). Other times, we hold arts & crafts events, play games, or tell stories. Most often, though, UNOs is just a time to sit around and talk with community members, about topics like the show, the latest chem pset(s), upcoming concerts, HRG&SP lore, and the most efficient path from the river houses to Agassiz Theater.
Over the pandemic, when all our activities were virtual, UNOs remained an important touchstone of our community. Despite being on Zoom, the themes and topics were as lively as ever, including Saturday Morning CartUNOs (where we watched cartoons), HallowUNOs (where people were encouraged to wear their Halloween costumes), and Mug Cake UNOs (where we made mug cakes together). Over the weeks and months, the comfortable familiarity of the UNOs routine, including the bingo cards that could accurately predict the most common topics of UNOs conversations, helped keep our community together, even in the midst of virtual tech weeks and online exams.
Now that Harvard has returned to in-person life, UNOs have become even more valuable. The pandemic has left its mark, of course – all UNOs attendees keep their masks on when not actively snacking – but we on the board of HRG&SP are grateful to hold these socials in person as we chat with old-timers and newcomers alike. (Plus, group social events are always more fun with snacks from Trader Joe’s, which are much harder to obtain in the virtual sphere.)
To any community members reading this post, I hope to see you at UNOs soon. RSVP with your favorite thing about HRG&SP. For example: Hi everyone, it’s Clarissa! My favorite thing about HRG&SP is getting to go to UNOs every week and eat snacks. Mmm, popcorn. See you soon!
Until Next week (Or sooner),