As Housing Day approaches, FlyBy will serve as your personal rating agency with a complete rundown by a resident of each House. Not that you have any say (River Gods notwithstanding), but at least you’ll know whether your portfolio is getting a downgrade.
When you first hear you’re in Mather House, your first thought will probably be, “ha ha, my linkmates are probably in Dunster!” Your second thought will probably be, “shit shit shit, that ugly box is so far away.” But fear not, Mather spirit will keep you warm and toasty on those long, snowy walks to Northwest Labs.
Location: Far. Nestled on bustling* Cowperthwaite Street, Mather is the most distant River House. Some might call this an inconvenience, but at least it’s closer than the quad**—and while quadlings tread through Cambridge Common every morning, the commute from Mather is 100% syringe free. Your savior on those rainy days is the shuttle, which stops right outside every 10 minutes (sometimes) and conveys you to your destination with speed and efficiency (sometimes). While the 10 a.m. shuttle is as packed as a clown car, the early-morning Rihanna on the bus' radio takes most of the beating out of the ride.
*False **Offer only valid with Yard classrooms and dorms. Excludes Science Center, Law School, Hemenway...anything north of Sever, basically.
Rooming: Concrete and spacious. While Mather House may look like the bastard child of Optimus Prime and a cement truck…well, isn’t that pretty badass? While the non-initiate might call it an "eyesore" or "big block of fugly," any Matherite will tell you that the exterior is redeemed by an enviable interior. Every resident is guaranteed a "cozy" single within a suite, eliminating the numbing isolation and social depravity of those lonely Quad singles. In the low-rise, sophomores and juniors get two-story suites with 4-6 singles and a party-friendly common room. In the tower, which is one of the tallest buildings in Cambridge, seniors look down on other Houses (literally and figuratively) from the commanding heights of their 18th-floor singles. Yes, the architecture, which residents have affectionately dubbed "Soviet bloc," is unlike any other Harvard House. Prospective residents should note that, in the event of nuclear holocaust, only Mather House and Dunster’s roaches will survive. (Don't worry, they won't last long: roaches can't live in concrete.)
Dining Hall: Airport chic. Polka-dot upholstery aside, Mather dining hall is the center of House life, providing residents with comfy chairs and modern tables to eat, do work, or bro out. With enormous windows facing the Charles River, the setting sun provides automatic romance at dinnertime. The dining staff is cheerful and the food is delicious (because, hey, it's HUDS!) and many Matherites never leave. Which is fine, because unlike other Houses, Mather keeps its brain break open all night long. Until recently, the late-night food selection lagged behind other Houses', but HoCo has recently instituted plans to provide more exotic fare than bagels and cereal. Hummus and pita chips are available once a week, except when Eleganza models, doing their best to thwart stereotypes, descend upon the dining hall en masse to gorge themselves.
House list: Like drinking from a fire hose. Mather-Open, subscribers quickly find, overflows your inbox with love letters, embarrassing disclosures, heated debates, and daily requests for tower residents to turn down the Beyoncé. It’s a testament to the friendliness and community spirit of Mather House that no plea for strobe lights, bedsheets (?), blowup hammers, or the fax machine (don’t ask about the fax machine) goes unanswered.
Housemasters: Loving. Currently in their seventeenth year, Sandra and Leigh are among Harvard’s longest-tenured housemasters. Their monthly open houses (next one’s on housing day!) make you wonder how you ever endured Annenberg, with huge platters of sushi, dumplings, eggnog, brownies, chocolate-covered strawberries, and of course the famous monkeybread. Always around to offer a smile, the masters are such a fixture that the Mather mascot,* Leighdra the lion, bears their names.
*Note: the Mather mascot is also occasionally a gorilla. It’s complicated.
House culture: Unrivalled. Mather spirit is legendary, second only to Mather love. You may have seen the Mather flag proudly waving across the field at Harvard-Yale halftime. Or you may have caught venereal disease(s) from the infamous Mather Lather. Mather's very active HoCo offers biweekly happy hours (which, unlike Dunster's, last 2 hours) with carefully selected themes ranging from “Jungle Olympics” to, most recently, “Dinoswhores and Brobots.” Some houses only have enough spirit for intramural competitions (*cough* Winthrop *cough*). Mather, however, focuses its energy on the Louie Cup, a Mather-only contest spanning the year and involving such feats of endurance and displays of talent as competitive coin-flipping, staring contests, paper-airplane making, and “detecting that there is not in fact a Louie Cup event this week.” Finally, because every Mather suite is a party suite, you’ll never have to go out looking on Friday night, because it’s probably next door, and you're always invited.
Overall rating: AA.* What? Seriously? Partly because we like to buck trends, partly because even if we gave a AAAAA we'd get emails telling us that "OMGZMATHARRRIS THEBEST HOUSE EVARRR," and partly because...we don't know, this is pretty insane actually. Kind of like Mather. Like pornography, you know Mather spirit when you see it.
*Ratings run as such: [AAA > AA > A > BBB > junk > subprime]