The Bellhops

Xi Yu

This post is the first of a short series on the students sticking around in Cambridge to help out with class reunions.

A modest crowd of students wearing untucked maroon polos and blue or khaki shorts sat on the porch of the Phillips Brooks House, quietly chatting away. A small cluster of luggage waited patiently at the bottom of the steps.

The bags belonged to Catherine M. Crespi '85—an assistant adjunct professor of biostatistics at the University of California, Los Angeles—and her family. They're here for her 25th reunion.

It's 9:06 p.m., and had this been Wednesday or Friday, that crowd of uniform-clad bellhops would have had less time to chat. But it was Thursday, and they needed to get to work.

For this trip, three students ended up accompanying Crespi and her family. Their destination: Pennypacker Hall.

Crespi's bags were the perfect size and number to handle, said Nicholas P. Castaneda '11, a reunion bellhop. But occasionally, they had to carry a suitcase they thought weighed around 60 pounds up several flight of stairs, and every now and then, they greeted a single man with six suitcases to himself.

Though they're after the tips in this competitive and "lucrative but fun" reunion job, they said they really enjoy talking to alumni to get through the 16-hour days.

"The best way to get tips is to let them talk about themselves," said Yohannes C. Constable '12, a first-time bellhop.

The trio arrived at Pennypacker and offered to disassemble the bunk beds. Crespi's kids asked to keep them.

The round trip took about 20 minutes, and though they were nearing the end of their workday, the bellhop trio still walked briskly to await their next customers.

"Hi. Welcome back to Harvard," a female bellhop said to the next patron who entered the Phillips Brooks House to check in. Next stop: Claverly Hall.

Photo by Xi Yu/The Harvard Crimson.

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