Interhouse Dining Plan Succeeds In Harvard and Radcliffe Co-ops
Spokesmen for the Harvard and Radcliffe Co-operative Houses have called their two-year-old interhouse dining program a marked success, both financially and socially.
About 40 Harvard undergraduates live in the Harvard Co-operatives, located off Massachusetts Avenue near Radcliffe, while their Radcliffe counterparts, the Jordan Halls, house about 60 Radcliffe students. Their meals are organized independently of the University dining halls, which will introduce a trial period of Harvard-Radcliffe interhouse beginning February 8.
Distribution Nearly Equal
The financial success of the system, John W. Folacheck '64-4, its originator, said yesterday, has been due to the nearly equal number of interhouse meals eaten in the various dormitories.
Members of both the Harvard and Radcliffe Co-operatives feel that the dining system has created a new rapport between the boy's and the girl's dormitories.
The Harvard Co-operative houses made the proposal in the spring of 1963, and, according to Polacheck, the girls immediately agreed to participate.
The problem of obtaining the permission of the University financial authorities, which has plagued the Harvard Radcliffe interhouse proposals, was avoided since the Co-operative House dining halls are financially independent.
The Co-operative interhouse was set up on a "meal-for-a-meal" basis. It was agreed that any significant imbalance would be made up in cash, but it was hoped that this would prove unnecessary since the Co-operatives have limited budgets.
In order to insure an even distribution of meals, the dorms have worked out a "self-policing" system, Polacheck said. Under this plan, members of lagging houses try to balance the difference by eating more interhouse meals in other dorms.
According to Leslie M. Spits '65, treasurer of the Harvard Houses, the system has worked very well and no cash exchange has yet been necessary.
The social success of the program is partly due to the fact that it does not rely on formal dating. Members of both co-operative groups are encouraged to eat meals at the other dorms whether or not they are specifically invited.
When the system was first introduced, Spits said, the Cliffies were reluctant to come to meals without an escort. Within the last year, however, more girls, especially those from Jordan J, have begun to drop in for dinner.
As a consequence, the relationship between the houses has improved markedly, Spitz said. The no-date plan has tended to "break down the structure and formality of dating, something which neither Harvard nor Radcliffe really wants," he added.
The Jordan girls have also seemed to enjoy the presence of the Harvard students in their dining halls. For many girls the informality of the system has allowed them to get to know boys in a way not possible on formal dates.
Catherine Fitch '65, president of Jordan J. said last night that eating meals with boys on a casual basis provides an opportunity for a wide range of relationships. These are good, she said, because they are neither superficial nor very intense. "After all, the main purpose here is to eat dinner. You don't commit yourself to anything by asking someone to pass the peas."
All meals are open for interhouse, under the program, including breakfast, which, according to John B. Sieble '65, "comes in handy for those late dates.