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.
Welcome to Dunster House! Built in 1930, this house has a proud history. Known for its red bell-tower and its wide courtyard that looks over the Charles, Dunster House was one of the first two Houses constructed under former President Abbott L. Lowell's House Plan. Overall, while Dunster is certainly not the most centrally located House nor the House with the best rooming, it maintains a popular dining hall and a great deal of House pride.
House Spirit: Dunster House came in first in the poll in terms of House spirit, and comments generally stated that Dunster has a great sense of community and love for its residents. One commenter even claimed that Dunster is "the best kept secret on campus."
Dining Hall: The gem of the House is its dining hall; for at least one person, "Dunster Dhall is amazing, and by far the greatest dining space in all the land." If you've never been, the oak paneled room with long tables and portraits is well worth a visit, maybe even date-worthy. The servery, grill, and food are all above average as well. If you want proof, look no further than Dunster's first place ranking in the poll in regards to dining halls. It should be added that if you ever eat too much, there's a cozy set of couches in the back of the room to fall asleep on. The dining hall staff are very friendly as well, and one respondent even said, "I feel privileged to eat amongst the DHA-wearing sporty folks on a nightly basis. Go crimson!"
Housing Quality: Womp womp. While Dunster topped the respective polls in House spirit and dining, it came in twelfth in regards to housing. Dunster has unfortunately developed a poor reputation for its suites over the years. Small bedrooms and walkthrough rooms abound in the House for sophomores, juniors, and seniors alike. Yet, there are a few exceptions, so maybe your senior year won't involve tiptoeing past your roommate mid-hookup to use the bathroom. Maybe. Also, if all else fails, you can opt to live in DeWolfe.
Facilities: Still, Dunster's "Meese," "lovely people," and facilities may compensate for the subpar housing situation. The Dunster House library is a quaint place to study and is even a favorite among residents of other Houses. If you're spending a late night in the library and Brain Break isn't looking too appealing, Dunster residents can enjoy late-night snacks from the Grille. Located in the basement of C-Entryway, the Grille can be accessed via tunnels, so residents are able to walk around in flip-flops even during the winter.
For those inclined towards exercise, the House has a cardio room, a weight room, a room devoted to erg machines, and six squash courts (one of which has been converted into a basketball court, and another into an indoor volleyball court). If you're ever bored, there is also a kitchen, a video library, music rooms, and a pottery studio that offers classes during the semester.
Rating: In the end, Dunster, like all the Houses, is part good and part bad. Despite excellent House spirit, it looks like housing quality and distance ultimately determined this House's rating. This year, Dunster House is ranked twelfth out of 12.
Our rankings so far: