House Keeping

It is encouraging to see housing renewal remain on schedule

Although the Class of 2027 can still not be certain of having hot breakfasts, they can now rest more assured knowing they will probably not be living in walk-throughs during their time at Harvard. The College administration renewed its commitment to start its 15-year project to renovate the upperclassman houses by 2012 this week. While seemingly everything else at this university is suffering from cutbacks as a result of the budget hardships brought about by the financial crisis, it’s encouraging to see that this project will continue on schedule.

In light of the fact that the university has experienced a 30 percent drop in its endowment and a decline in tuition and donation revenue, it is admirable that it has managed to keep financing for the housing project in order. We have been told repeatedly over the past few weeks that recovery from the financial fallout will not be rapid or easy. It is heartening that, despite this reality, the university remains committed to this massive endeavor.

This is welcome news since, as guided by the Housing Renewal Report released last spring, the proposed renovations promise to help address many of Harvard’s most pressing issues. Notably, the remodeling attends to the lack of social spaces within houses. Dining halls will no longer be the only place to hold large functions, and the Junior Common Rooms will no longer be the only student “hangout” space in the house. Aside from improving social spaces, many of the report’s recommendations, such as eliminating walk-throughs, remodel Harvard’s archaic designs in ways that ensure greater student privacy and well-being.

The reaffirmation of the construction schedule means that at least some current freshmen will sleep under a newly renovated roof before they graduate. Many current students were involved in the creation of the report. Even more students have discussed or debated housing renewal at some point. Therefore, it is an exciting prospect that our generation of Harvard students will have a tangible connection to its realization.

Of course, the College must not forget that housing renovations must be coupled with the creation of desirable swing space. No student should feel as if they cannot partake in house life because of the unlucky timing of their college years. Housing renewal need not come at the expense of a satisfactory living experience for some students.


Housing renewal is a promising investment in the future and it is encouraging that it will move forward as planned.


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