Symptoms of activity in the Houses which promise a more varied undergraduate life than that afforded in the Freshman Halls, continue to appear. The most recent announcement is that an informal violin recital will be given on Monday evening at Dunster.
Thus far the two Houses have been little more than enlarged Freshman dormitories with the similarity between the old and the new residential systems particularly evident in a distrust of the common rooms. If these rooms of the Houses are to prove attractive to the undergraduate they must become more than mere reading rooms where magazines are provided for the entertainment of the residents. The failure of the Freshman Halls to bring any variation in the monotonous round of dormitory existence other than a spiritless smoker once during the year should have taught the University the futility of continuing in the old path. Common rooms will never break down social barriers at Harvard: they can, however, furnish in the Houses a place for informal musical entertainment, group meetings, and similar functions which could not and did not exist under the dormitory plan. This was a plan which defied all efforts to secure continuity in any sort of undergraduate organization which had as its basis the residential unit. The Houses, on the other hand, supply ideal conditions for this purpose.
The common rooms are part of the House machinery which will aid the development and continuation of student groups. As a means to this end they can play an important part in the activities of the new units; they can do little more than this, but their contribution to undergraduate life will be much greater than that of the common rooms of the past.