As part of our Housing Market series, we'll be posting reviews and rankings for each of Harvard's 12 residential Houses over the next few days. Click here to read more about the series.
There's nothing worse than getting a bum rap, and the replies to Flyby's poll were unequivocal about Cabot House's reputation: "It's sad how people don't know how great Cabot is;" "People don't give it enough credit, and give you crap for living there when it's actually awesome;" "People hate on it too much, for no reason." Perhaps Cabotites are a bit bitter about past rankings, but they have plenty of things to say about why Cabot House is one of the best Houses on campus, if not the best.
House Spirit: With a fish for a mascot, it's easy to underestimate Cabot's House spirit. But, Cabot residents cite numerous factors for its strong sense of community, including "a ResDean so kind she must have wings," Cabot Café, a relaxed common space for both work and socializing, and a feeling of "community solidarity" reinforced by approachable and widely-liked House Masters Rakesh and Stephanie Khurana. One commenter mentions Cabot's "Non-oppressive house spirit"—a subtle dig towards more overtly-spirited Houses like neighboring Pfoho, perhaps? In the end, Cabot House is more spirited than most give it credit for: it ranked fourth in House spirit in the poll.
Housing Quality: Made up of six residence halls, Cabot House has a variety of housing options for residents: two of the halls provide a large quantity of singles with communal bathrooms, and the other halls provide mostly suites that can accommodate one to six residents at a time. Although Cabot's buildings look like traditional brick dormitories from the outside, internal renovations completed in 1993 ensured that dormitory interiors remained up to date with modern housing standards. Cabot's rooms are known for being more spacious than most other Houses: "My keys are echoing in this huge single!" one resident wrote. Another clever commenter stated, "I get lost in my room sometimes because it's too big." Finally, Cabotites are insistent on an advantage they hold dear over River House residents, writing that that Cabot's rooms "are also essentially devoid of vermin." For all of the above, Cabot ranked third in room quality in the poll.
Dining Halls: Although Cabot fares well with regards to House spirit and room quality, its dining hall received a more lukewarm response: one commenter wrote that the worst thing about Cabot is admittedly "the food, at times." Another lamented about Cabot's "lack of an 'old-harvard' feel dining hall." Still, the interior is warmly lit and rarely overcrowded, featuring large windows that provide a great view of the Quad lawn. Cabot ranked eighth in dining hall quality.
Facilities: With six separate halls, it's not surprising that Cabot has plenty to offer in way of facilities. Each residence hall has a living room furnished with comfortable couches, and four out of the six living rooms have TVs. For musicians, a piano is available in five out of the six living rooms, and two practice rooms are located in the Cabot tunnel system, which connects several of the residence halls. The Junior Common Room is quite spacious, and a movie projector is available in an adjoining room. Cabot's library is not very spacious but is open 24 hours a day and was recently renovated last spring. Although Cabot is only a stone's throw away from the Quadrangle Recreational Athletic Center, it also has its own gym, which includes both free weights and benches as well as cardio equipment like rowing machines, StairMasters, a stationary bike, and an elliptical trainer.
Rating: As hard as the House tries to overcome what one commenter describes as "The stigma attached to saying I live in Cabot," Cabot House still can't convince students that its distance, a ten-minute walk from the Yard, is outweighed by its strong House spirit and excellent rooms. Although there is a compelling argument to be made about its decentralized buildings, which may contribute to "disunity among houses, [and] growing but still lack of house spirit," Cabot House's reputation may ultimately be its most challenging obstacle to inter-House dominance. As one Cabotite astutely wrote, living in the House "feels like being a Lakers fan in Boston." In the end, Cabot House ranked eleventh out of 12.
Our rankings so far: