There's more to HST than academics.

HST students participate in a rich extracurricular life, both within our two institutions and in the greater Boston and Cambridge areas. From participation in student government and other committee work to taking advantage of athletic, cultural and service opportunities in the wider community, there's much to engage in outside of the lab and classroom.

Get involved

At HST, new ideas move quickly into action, and we strongly encourage both incoming and continuing students to be actively involved in the community. Student government leaders and academic office staff members can provide suggestions and guidance regarding new initiatives. Current information on HST-sponsored events and activities can be found in our community e-newsletter, This Week in HST (TWiHST).

DNA sand sculpture created by HST students

DNA sand sculpture created at the 2012 HST

Student Retreat in Brewster, MA.

Sponsored activities

HST provides a mix of social and scholarly opportunities for students to get together, try something new, and have fun. Each academic year brings a series of hugely popular TGIFs and other get-togethers. Community and social events have included weekend retreats, ski trips, formal dances, and barbeques. HST staff members work closely with student organizers to plan events and ensure that they meet Harvard's and MIT's policies on event registration and serving alcohol.

Students represent HST in the wider Harvard and MIT communities through service to institutional graduate and medical student government groups and through competition on intramural sports teams. The Harvard Medical School "Second-Year Show," in which students spoof the med school experience, is a high point in entertainment, as is the annual Society Olympics, a revered HMS event with teams from the various Medical School societies competing in feats of prowess and goofiness in hopes of taking home the coveted Pink Flamingo.

The HST Forum, held in the spring, is an opportunity for students to present their work in poster sessions to their peers and to the community's faculty and researchers; a faculty poster session in the fall provides a chance to learn about opportunities in HST labs.

Community service also brings HST students, faculty and staff together. Recent community service projects have included packing meals at an area food bank, cleaning and refurbishing medical facilities for the homeless, and fixing up a community park and sports field. MD students also have opportunities for service through the Harvard Medical School's Office of Enrichment Programs Community Service Program.

Independent activities

Students in front of Egyptian pyramids

MEMP students visiting pyramids of Egypt together summer 2023


HST students also find a great variety of pursuits available outside of MIT and Harvard. Sports fans will find many teams to cheer for in Boston, and those looking for less competitive ways to relax can sail on the Charles, bike along one of the area's many bike paths, or travel a short distance to beaches, lakes, and mountains. Opportunities abound for those interested in social or political activism. Cambridge and Boston offer a wealth of venues to hear live music of all kinds, to attend the theater and to visit museums and galleries. Every imaginable cuisine is available in local restaurants, not to mention the many ice cream shops and coffeehouses.