Lurie, And Campus, Is Inflicted With Dunsteritis

Letters to the Editors

To the editors:

I am disappointed that my friend Jason L. Lurie ’05 would stoop to such base tactics as Dunster-bashing in the venerable pages of The Harvard Crimson (Letters, “Getting Quadded Is Not The Worst Thing That Can Happen,” April 5). But, surely, he is not to blame—his letter is merely evidence that he has been infected by a rampant epidemic that is coursing through the Harvard campus: Dunsteritis.

I have heard otherwise healthy freshmen refer to Harvard’s most august stately house as “Dumpster” and even state the superiority of Mather—which is naught but the box out of which Dunster came!  I have even visited the Big Tom Tower of Christ Church College, Oxford and it is but a humbled ancestor of the majestic tower which tops the pinnacle of Dunster.

What, pray-tell, is wrong with Fair Dunster—with her Georgian ziggurat reaching up towards the sky, as The Unofficial Guide has long observed? Dunster has the largest and most dignified house library, the most stately dining hall, squash courts galore, a friendly and energetic student-run grill, a convenient shuttle stop, is the house of ten thousand courtyards, a great group of tutors, strong house spirit, an active Senior Common Room and, best of all, Mrs. Porter’s world-famous cookies.  No house is more imbued with Harvard’s history—it was the first house, named for Harvard’s first president and presided over by the first dean of the College, Chester Noyes Greenough. Mather can have all the foam and hot air its “war department” wants, but Dunster has traditions greater than any house—from the long-time House librarian and composer-in-residence, Charlie, to the fabled Goat Roast.

Perhaps this bout of Dunsteritis is just jealousy? Or ignorance? Surely by now first-years have learned that each house abounds with its own endearing idiosyncrasies, and have strengths and weaknesses that, in sum, balance out.

Although it is true that I no longer live within its hallowed halls, any time I return to that great courtyard, perched majestically beside the banks of the Charles River, I feel at home.


April 5, 2004

The writer lived in Dunster House during the 2001-2002 academic year and is now a resident of Cabot House.