Harvard needs to be part of the solution

A story about Harvard and a coffee company? No, it isn't about Harvard's quiet tenant on Western Ave, Espresso Express. It's Harvard grad Tom Keane in today's Globe decrying Harvard's contraction and lauding the expansion of the Swiss coffee company Nespresso.

It's an interesting contrast with what Keane wrote last summer when he criticized Boston citizens and government for "picking on higher ed" and claiming that local universities get "kicked around" by people "demanding things we wouldn't really ask of any other bird."

Keane is again contrasting universities and private businesses but now his pity for the schools (at least for Harvard) seems to have been replaced with a belief that Harvard should reverse its current trajectory in Allston and spend money, make plans, and move boldly forward.

The Way to Fight a Recession - The Boston Globe
"So when a company such as Nespresso spends money and makes plans, it sends a message -- the bad times will end, growth will resume. If enough companies behaved the same way, then indeed, the economy would turn. Harvard, too, is sending a message. 'If Harvard can't build, who can?' worried one construction industry publication. Perhaps, many will conclude, no one can, and, as a consequence, no one will.

This isn't to diminish Harvard's travails. But it's been around for 373 years and survived revolutions, wars, and other recessions. It's prominent and important enough that it needs to do more than play victim; it needs to be part of the solution. Nespresso, far newer to the scene, looks beyond today to the future. Harvard could learn something from the Swiss."

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