Harvard student crosses river in giant pumpkin, raises money for bio-engineering lab: 'So much fun'

ByRuss Reed, CNN, CNNWire
Tuesday, October 17, 2023
Harvard student crosses river in giant pumpkin: 'So much fun'
Harvard University student Benjamin Chang raised money for a bio-engineering lab by paddling across the Charles River on giant pumpkin.

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. -- A college student in Massachusetts says he achieved a longtime dream when he rowed across the Charles River in a giant pumpkin.

Benjamin Chang, a senior at Harvard University, crossed the river in a pumpkin that weighed 1,500 pounds when he picked it up from a farm in New Hampshire.

He paddled from the Cambridge side of the river to the Boston side and back, not far from the John W. Weeks Footbridge.

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Chang and his friends wheeled the pumpkin to the banks of the river along Memorial Drive Saturday morning and then spent nearly two hours carving out a place for him to sit inside of it with some basic tools, including a knife and a shovel.

"There's been so many roadblocks that have happened, and to actually be in the water in a giant pumpkin was so much fun," Chang said.

Chang and his friends also used the pumpkin watercraft to raise money for Harvard's student-led bio-engineering lab.

A couple of dozen people donated to the lab in order to get a chance to row in the pumpkin along the shore of the Charles in Cambridge before Chang set out across the river. Those donations totaled hundreds of dollars.

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"It was also so much fun to let other people try this as well," Chang said. "Seeing how excited and how strange of a feeling it was for other people to be inside this pumpkin was just as fun for me as being in it myself."

Chang said he hopes this feat demonstrates the wonders of biology and inspires people to think outside the box.

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