Looking alternately happy and stunned, first-years entered the Harvard Union for lunch yesterday after receiving their lottery assignments to find a throng of cheering upperclass students, eager to welcome them to the houses.
Brandishing balloons, T-shirts and shuttle schedules, house representatives congratulated and consoled the new arrivals.
Bemused Cabot House initiates received green peppers and boxes of Jello from an energetic David J. Greene '93, resplendent in a Cabot fish T-shirt.
"Randomness is the theme," said Greene. "We've got all kinds of different flavors and one lucky winner will get the green lime ooze Jello" with a picture of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles on the front.
Eighty-eight percent of the Class of '95 received one of their four lottery choices and students were randomized into four houses, said Kay M. Millett, housing officer for the College.
Millet declined to identify the four houses that went random. But a number of students yesterday said they were randomized into Cabot, Currier and Quincy House.
In the 1991 housing lottery, 12 percent of the first-year students were randomized--the same percentage as this year.
In 1989, the last year before the current system of non-ordered choice was put into place, 11 percent of students were randomized.
Quad houses went to particularly great lengths to embrace their new members at the Union yesterday. Standing in front of a 20-person Currier contingent, Lara Freidenfelds '94 explained why.
"I remember last year feeling so depressed and then coming to the Union and seeing there were more Currier people here than anyone else," said Friedenfelds. "We know everyone who walks in here who's in Currier is really upset, and needs
"Free stuff!" yelled an upperclass studentbehind her, trying to win over a wary first-year.
Some of the first-years seemed frightened bythe cavorting house representatives, who whackedeach other with house T-shirts, used them asbullfighting capes, and shrieked "Cabot! Lowell!Eliot! Leverett!"
"I got the last lottery number," said DeborahJ. Wexler '95 who was number 405 out of 405. "Myroommate came running across the Yard with ourlottery assignment, but instead of a triumphalparade it turned into a funeral march."
Other first-years were more resigned. "I'm withgood roommates," said Chike O. Nwankwo '95, whowas randomized into Currier. "I'm sure we'll behappy wherever we go."
The only hassle, said Okwankwo, is fending offsympathetic friends who think he's been sent intoresidential orbit.
"I get this disapproving look, this 'Oh no,'"said Okwankwo. "I don't even want to go to lunch."
Most people simply felt relieved the processwas over, said Dechen Y. Wangdu '95, who will livein Lowell.
"Lowell doesn't seem to have a definitecharacter, like Adams or Eliot or Kirkland," saidWangdu. "It seems like a nice place with decentpeople."
Behind her, Cabot resident John A. Pottow '93,student conductor of the Harvard Band, entered theUnion with an eight-foot silver tuba and beganblowing notes. "Cabot House has the tuba, the tubais Cabot House's," said Greene.
Pottow and his tuba were soon chased out thedoor by Union officials