Two Houses, Two Ways of Life

Once a Jock House, Kirkland Has Lost Athletes, Not Spirit

Step into the Kirkland House dining hall and you may get a glimpse of the house's social spirit--but don't be misled by all the athletes that congregate there during mealtimes.

Although "K. House" has been viewed in past years as a haven for undergraduate athletes, residents insist that randomization is bringing a swift end to Kirkland's days as a jock house.

"The mix of people we have now is making Kirkland House much more representative of Harvard as a whole," says Senior Tutor Garth O. McCavana. "We certainly still have a large number of people who are involved in athletics, but I don't think there is a large group who is predominant."

Kirkland used to be comprised of two-thirds varsity and junior varsity athletes, but now only 35 to 40 percent of residents are athletes, McCavana estimates.

Some seniors mourn the loss of athletic Kirkland's team spirit. "There is a general spirit among the seniors in the house that since the last of old Kirkland went out, things have changed," Scott R. Arsenault '93 says.

"It's nice to be in a very jocky house because there's not much studying going on," he says. "There was always someone to talk to. Now everyone's doing their own individual projects."


This is not the first time, however, that Kirkland has undergone change.

"Kirkland has gone through these cycles before," McCavana says. "In the seventies it was known as Gay-K."

Other students say that whatever transformation randomization has brought to Kirkland, diversification has not damaged Kirkland's friendly, social atmosphere and dynamic house spirit.

In fact, it is difficult to get Kirkland residents to name drawbacks of living in Kirkland other than long lines at dinner.

"It's a very active house environment," says Marion Leong '95. "There's always something going on. There are always people tabling or giving recitals. Generally people feel really proud to be part of Kirkland."

Some say that the spirit that was once embodied in the house's numerous athletes has found other channels of expression as the house has diversified.

The Kirkland House Drama Society, which stages musicals and plays in the Junior Common Room once a semester, provides a form of house bonding off the playing field.

Last spring, the society sponsored a production of Shakespeare's "Macbeth," acted and staged entirely by Kirkland residents with varying degrees of acting experience.

"I was so excited to go out there and do my 12 lines," says House Committee Chair Trey Grayson '94, who played one of Banquo's murderers. "It was cast bonding, but it was also house bonding."

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