Houses Raise Money For Holiday Bonuses

Residents of Dunster and Quincy House have come together to spread holiday cheer and show their appreciation to their Houses’ dining hall and custodial workers.

After learning several years ago that Harvard does not give holiday bonuses to any of its employees, the Quincy and Dunster House Committees (HoCos) decided to raise funds for these workers annually.

In recent days, Dunster HoCo members have solicited donations during meals and have gone room-to-room asking for contributions.

Quincy HoCo members have adopted a similar method of raising money and have also advertised the effort on their House e-mail list.

In an e-mail sent to the Quincy-open mailing list, HoCo members wrote, “The students in Quincy are responsible for all the bonuses the dining hall and custodial workers receive this year. The school gives them nothing...You know how hard the Q-House workers try, please...give them something. They definitely deserve it.”


Quincy House Master Robert P. Kirshner ’70 echoed that sentiment but said the collection does not occur simply because Harvard does not distribute holiday bonuses—the House does it just to show appreciation to the staff.

HoCo members from both Quincy and Dunster Houses, though, said they disagree with Kirshner’s assessment.

They said they were surprised to learn that Harvard does not give holiday bonuses to its employees, and they said they felt somewhat pressured to continue the tradition when House administrators contacted them.

“It’s strange and inappropriate that students are responsible for Christmas bonuses,” said Quincy HoCo Social Chair Daniel R. Fish ’03.

Kathryn A. Russo ’03, co-chair of the Dunster HoCo, said she was surprised that collecting funds for holiday bonuses is the responsibility of the students.

“It is a nice thing,” she said, “but yet it seems that this should not be the students’ responsibility.”

Regardless of the reasons for the collection, HoCo members from both Quincy and Dunster reported that their fundraising efforts have been successful.

Quincy HoCo Chair John H. Woody ’03 said he expects the House will raise about $1,500 for the dining hall and custodial workers.

Woody said bonuses have ranged from $20 to $50 per employee in past years, depending on a worker’s position and employment status.

The bonuses will be distributed later today at a holiday party for Quincy House staff members.