House Profiles

Vacancies for freshmen: about 135

Rooms available: Doubles and triples, several of which adjoin

Times have changed at Dunster House--Gone is the Era of Unrestrained Conviviality and Unabashed Enthusiasm. A different wind blows through the picturesque Dunster courtyard, a cooler and quieter wind.

But this change does not necessarily make the House unattractive. Like Harvard itself, Dunster has become more restrained, less gung-ho, and more serious than a few years ago. Although you won't find many peo- ple wearing "I'm gung-ho Dunster" tags anymore, there aren't many recluses in the House either. Dunster is still perhaps, the friendliest House in the College, and its warmth and openness are not at all obnoxious.

While offering one of the largest and widest activities program of any House, Dunster vigorously maintains its tradition of "availability without compulsion." No one will come to your room, smash down your door to drag you to a House seminar or athletic event, but if you want to go you are always welcome.


Central planner and coordinator of the diversified activity program is the Dunster House Committee. While famed for vigorously and unexpectedly prosecuting all-College targets such as the old student council and the HSA, the Committee spends most of its time quietly providing a diversified program for the House. Dunster's Spring and Christmas week-ends are usually the best in the College and are free to House members. Dunster Cabaret's have been widely imitated.

Tutors in Dunster have a tradition of actively assisting intellectual programs in the House, although the initiative is usually left to the students. History, economics, Chinese, Spanish, and French tables meet regularly, offering wine and East House girls as added attractions. A play reading group holds frequent sessions, and in the handsome wood-paneled House library enliven many Sunday afternoons. Two House publications the Dunster Drama Review and the Fergus, a literary magazine appear sporadically throughout the year.

Dunster athletic teams are usually among the best in the League and draw large numbers of House members into competition.

One of the finest features of the House is the Junior Common room.

It may sound corny, but on a winter night with a Cambridge snow-storm isolating the House from the outside world, the roaring flames in the fireplace and the warmth of the conversation with tutors and students provide lasting memories.

Another strong point is the physical plant in general. Although the rooms are sometimes tagged as closets, Dunster has the advantages of a single building, its own kitchen (which offers victuals a large cut above Central Kitchen standards), an extremely well-stocked library, squash courts, music rooms, a dark rooms, a workshop, and abundant storage space. While some Freshmen may object to Dunster's location, seniors in the House often feel the isolation and separateness are positive advantages. There is no question about the delights of "Dunster Beach." The House fronts the Charles River, and in the spring and fall the banks are filled with couples and touch football games. During Spring Reading Period there is no more pleasant way to study than camped by the river with a six pack, a girl, and, of course, a book.

But as noted at the beginning of this travellog, Dunster is changing. Although a new master and new tutors inevitably bring change, Master Pappenheimer has no firm blueprint for the House and is responsive to suggestion. The ideas of entering sophomores should be important in shaping the future of Dunster.


Size of House: about 430

Vacancies for freshmen: 125

Recommended Articles