With a record number of rushees this spring, it seems that sororities are on the rise at Harvard. Last week, Delta Gamma became the first, and probably not the last, Harvard sorority to acquire a space in Cambridge for its members.
Location: Arrow Street, in the former location of Lame Duck Books
Price: Undisclosed, but they have signed a three year lease.
The DG “house” is less of a house and more of a large, comfortable hangout space for chapter members to spend time in between classes or whenever they want to hang out with fellow DGers. After a year-long search, DG obtained a space that is extremely convenient for the Berryline-loving DG members, especially those who live in the Quad and would prefer to stay in the Square between classes.
“The location is pretty central and ideal, which is great,” says Chapter President Caroline T. Quazzo ’12. “It is definitely something that people will actually come to.”
With an official occupancy of 49 people, or about a third of the sorority’s 135 members, the House is certainly not large enough to have Chapter meetings or host parties. However, “we decided the value of having a space regardless of size was more what people were looking for,” Quazzo says. They plan on using the House for board meetings, movie nights, and study sessions among sisters.
The outside door opens up into a staircase that leads you downstairs into the DG space. Instead of using a key, DG Sisters are given a key-code for access to the space. DG shares the building with a few other establishments, whose tenants could be less than pleased if they find 49 sisters in line for the building’s shared bathroom.
At the bottom of the stairs, behind a glass wall is the house’s big attraction: a spacious common area with hardwood floors and stone and brick walls. A dozen wooden pillars line both sides of the room, running vertically from the floor to the ceiling. Sisterhood is memorialized in the photos adorning the pillars.
The space is divided into three sections: a dining area, a TV area, and a midsection that will soon become a study space. A few pieces of furniture are scattered around the room. The sorority just gained occupancy of the place last Friday. The real decorating process has yet to commence, and a sorority-style makeover seems imminent.
The first section, which lies immediately to the left of the entrance, boasts a large wooden dinner table in chocolate brown and a matching set of 10 chairs, all from Jordan’s Furniture. Here, the sisters will hold board meetings and have their occasional meals.
“I picked out the furniture last weekend, and we definitely fell in love with the dining table,” Quazzo says. “It’s a nice piece.”
The color scheme for the modest decoration is decidedly blue and pink —the official colors of the national organization. Pink roses sit in a vase underneath one window on the right hand side, while three pieces of colored cardboard cut-outs denoting the Greek letters for Delta Gamma and their symbol—an anchor—perch on the other three windows.
At the far end of the common space is the TV area. A large L-shaped sofa sits underneath three square windows. The overhead water pipes and brick walls reveal the house’s rough spots, but the sunny blue sofa does its best to soften it up. On a wooden ledge above it stands a framed pencil drawing by Anna W. LaVigne ’12, showcasing the words “Delta Gamma” against a background of Johnston Gate, in case you forgot this was the Harvard chapter.
Across from the couch is a plasma TV, still hidden under a layer of cardboard boxes. The overall feel is basic and modern, simplistic yet cozy. “The idea is that the house would mostly be used for like movie nights, hanging out watching TV,” explains Quazzo.
The middle section of the common area is still empty, save for a wooden counter that protrudes from the left wall. It will be used as a “bar,” according to Quazzo, her four fingers curled, air quoting vehemently. No alcoholic beverages would be allowed for those under 21, of course—the girls plan to be practically as quiet as the space’s bookstore predecessor. The chapter plans on obtaining stools to accompany the bar, as well as more tables and chairs to convert the main bulk of the area into a study space.
The kitchen has a more modern feel, replete with elegant wood paneled cabinets and marble countertops. There is not a huge amount of space to move around, but it does have enough room for a stove, microwave, fridge.
The kitchen seems to perfectly suit its function as a place for a couple of sisters to make a meal together, though not a locale for cooking for the entire chapter. It is definitely far superior to your average dorm room water boiler or mini-fridge.
Through the kitchen, DGers have access to a small outdoor space, which they share with the other tenants of the building. “I don’t think a lot of the other tenants use it,” says Quazzo, “So we definitely plan on taking advantage of it.”
“People’s reactions to the place were overwhelmingly positive,” she says, referring to the housewarming party from the previous night. It was the first time most of the DG girls had seen the place, after having heard and talked about it for months. “I was standing at the door and watching the girls walk in, and their faces just lit up. It was really exciting.”
Undeniably, work is still underway to transform the place into a real home for the sisters of Delta Gamma., but Quazzo is both optimistic and excited, beaming with pride as she led FM through the tour.
All in all, the house seems to embody the characteristics of Delta Gamma: homey, sweet, and uncontroversial. Your mom would definitely approve.