DeKalb, IL — A 20-year-old Mississippi native made history as the university’s first Black male to be elected by the student body as president of Harvard University's Undergraduate Council.
Noah Harris will serve alongside Harvard junior Jenny Gan, who will serve as vice president. They want to put the focus on making the 384-year-old Ivy League institution more inclusive.
Harris also plans on implementing initiatives focused on the mental health and wellness of Harvard’s students. Both were sworn in on Dec. 6.
“This is a major statement by the Harvard student body to entrust a Black man with such an unprecedented moment in its history,” Harris said, according to Newsone. “Harvard’s community specifically, it’s very diverse but it’s kind of diverse in that it has its own separate communities. A lot of what we’re trying to do is we’re trying to bring communities together.”
Harris is the first Black male to hold the position that was voted in by the students. Other Black students at Harvard have held the position but they weren’t voted in by students. In 1993, Cary Gabay was named president by the student council and 21 years ago Fentrice Driskel became the first Black woman to lead the council.
Harris’ appointment comes months after Danielle Geathers made history by becoming the first Black woman student body president at MIT. They both ran because they wanted to see more diversity in student leadership.