In the last few months, the Phillips Brooks House Alumni Association (PBHA-A), the organization connecting PBHA alumni to the organization’s efforts, elected President-Elect Alan Curtis ‘65 and three new at-large members: Sabrina Forte ‘08, Dustin Saldariagga ‘11, and Saim Raza ‘19. We spoke with each of these new members to both congratulate them on their win and to get to know more about their passion for and experiences with PBHA.
II. Alan Curtis ‘65
Incoming President-Elect Alan Curtis remembers PBHA as a place that saw him through the highs and lows of life, and he still retains many memories from his time there. During the school year and summers, he worked with patients at Boston State Mental Hospital, and he cites his biggest success being his music therapy group. In particular, playing the song “The Firebird” caused what he describes as “a mysterious awakening” among quite a few people that allowed him later to make some progress with them. Aside from his PBHA work, Alan marched in civil rights campaigns, and took a break from graduate school to work on a national violence commission after the assassinations of Robert F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King. Jr. Though his college days are behind him, Alan continues to be at the forefront of public service work. He was an appointee in the administrations of President Lyndon Johnson and President Jimmy Carter, and he has authored and presented on many updates of the commissions and has replicated evidence-based youth development models like Quantum Opportunities across the nation. Alongside serving as PBHA-A’s incoming President-Elect, he serves as the President and CEO of the Eisenhower Foundation in Washington, D.C.
III. Sabrina Forte ‘08
Elected as one of PBHA-A’s newest at-large members, Sabrina Forte ‘08 remembers PBHA fondly, as her “second home” when she was an undergraduate student. Starting off volunteering with RYTE in Chelsea, Sabrina then went on to direct RYSE for the Summer Urban Program and serve as the organization’s Programming Co-Chair. Now, Sabrina works as a staff attorney at the Youth Law Center in Los Angeles, working to prevent homelessness and ensure housing stability for young people impacted by foster care and incarceration. Reflecting on her time at PBHA, Sabrina attributes much of her nonprofit leadership skills to working at the organization, especially during facilitation workshops organized by the renamed Chan-Stride Fellowship. As someone who deeply cares about the future of SUP, one of her fondest memories at Harvard, Sabrina was inspired by the work of PBHA student leaders and staff to run a virtual SUP, so much so that she wanted to do “anything she could to support the team” by running for PBHA-A.
IV. Dustin Saldarriaga ‘06 ‘11
Though Dustin now works as an immigration attorney in New York City, he has worked priorly as an attorney in the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of the Solicitor as well as the New York City Mayor’s Office. He was also a Fullbright Scholar in Uruguay post-graduation, but, during his time at Harvard, he served in BRYE, Y2Y, and the Harvard Immigration and Refugee Clinic. He saw his time at PBHA as a formative experience for both himself and others, and Dustin has many favorite memories from undergrad. Nevertheless, the first memory that comes to his mind is the first time he met his “little sib” in BRYE 1-2-1. He was 8 years old and doing cartwheels across the Quad, and it took some time before he calmed down enough to say “hi” before running away and doing more cartwheels. Dustin was two weeks into his freshman year, so he felt pretty apprehensive about what value he could contribute to BRYE and his little sib. Four years after this fateful meeting, this is the memory that stood out as Dustin was told he was his little sib’s best friend while cruising the streets of Dorchester. His little sib explained that Dustin had been there for him weekend after weekend and was always eager to see him. That meant a lot to him, and it meant the world to Dustin.
V. Saim Raza ‘19
A recent alum of PBHA now working at a retail real estate company in Los Angeles, Saim Raza ‘19 says that being involved with PBHA programs has “humbled him in countless ways.” From supervising at Y2Y to directing the Harvard-Rindge Muslim Youth Program, Saim experienced PBHA as a “unique” space that “pulls the rest of Harvard in the right moral direction.” That’s why he wanted to run for PBHA-A, Saim tells us, hoping to “support PBHA from past the campus gates in any capacity possible.” Reflecting on his favorite memories of the organization, Saim tells us that it was the “beautiful experience of solidarity” he had when he joined the SLAM sit-in for the Dining Hall Workers’ Strike in 2016, showing him “how change really happens” — through “broad based coalitions and direct advocacy.”