On Housing Day, Delight, Disappointment, and a Kitchen Mishap

Harvard Housing Day 2012
Hojung Lee and Jennifer R. Rolfes

Housing Day always brings bells and whistles. Thanks to a piece of burned turkey bacon, residents of Matthews Hall heard one more whistle this Housing Day morning than they had expected.

At 7:40 a.m. on Thursday, Olivia M. Angiuli ’15 had just woken up when the fire alarm in Matthews began to blare, forcing residents to evacuate the building just as upperclassmen began to stream into the Yard to raucously deliver the news of the freshmen House assignments.

“My roommates and I were just confused,” Angiuli said. She surmised that perhaps the ringing was an intentional part of the Housing Day festivities: “I thought all the dorms’ fire alarms were going off to wake us up.”

But once she arrived outside to a Yard populated by polar bears, penguins, and a moose—but no freshmen—she realized that the evacuation was not planned. She later learned that the fire alarm had been accidently triggered by a Matthews proctor and several Peer Advising Fellows who had been cooking breakfast in the basement kitchen.

Although Angiuli said she was “a bit” worried that she and her fellow Matthews residents would have to receive their Housing Day letters outside in their pajamas, students were allowed to reenter Matthews by approximately 8 a.m., leaving plenty of time before housing letters were delivered.

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Hundreds of upperclassmen gathered in Harvard Yard to partake in the annual Housing Day ritual of welcoming freshmen to their new upperclassmen Houses. The spirited upperclassmen brought House gear, full-body paint, boisterous cheers, mascots, and even pets on their morning romp around the freshman dorms.

James J. Yoon ’12, who ran around the Yard delivering letters with his fellow Currierites, said he thought his House “did a really good job of getting a lot of people to come out to the Yard to show a lot of enthusiasm.”

He added, “It was great weather, which was perfect for Housing Day.”

Yoon also said that he perceived a major shift this Housing Day since his freshman year, when getting “Quadded” was a cause of tears for many a newly inducted Quadlings.

“It’s nice to see that the freshmen have a more realistic understanding of how great Quad life can be,” Yoon said.

A few hours after receiving their letters, many freshmen proceeded to Annenberg for lunch, where they were greeted with a carnival-like atmosphere featuring music, games, and House-specific diversions.

Pforzheimer set up an inflatable bouncy castle; Lowell invited its new students to toss bean bags; and Leverett whipped bright green cotton candy.

Winthrop brought two small dogs, including a Welsh corgi named Chief.

When lunchtime began, Chief sported a lion costume, but by 1 p.m., he was no longer dressed as the Winthrop mascot.

“It got a little hot, so we took [the costume] off him,” Winthrop HoCo Co-chair Lauren E. Tiedemann ’13 said.

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