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As scaffolding rises over Dunster House’s iconic tower, members of the House community praised the renovated Inn at Harvard, which is serving as the center for House life during the renewal process.
The former Inn—rechristened “Dunster Headquarters” by House staff and students—houses students in double and single bedrooms and features House amenities such as a dining hall, music practice rooms, meeting spaces, and common rooms equipped with couches and televisions. After the renovation of Dunster House, the building will continue to serve as a residential and social hub for each House remodeled over the course of the the College’s decade-long House Renewal project.
A week into life at the Inn, members of the Dunster community said they are pleased with the quality of their temporary housing and the recently-opened dining hall.
“It’s completely not what you’d think of if you think of ‘swing housing,’” said Alex Y. T. Yang ’17, a Dunster resident living in the Inn. “I honestly think this is the best housing on campus.”
He added that the rooms all boast in-suite bathrooms and air conditioning—perks which he said make up for their small size.
Jocelyn L. Arndt ’17, another resident of the Inn this year, said she was “very happy” with her rooming situation. She cited the common spaces and dining hall as functional spaces that keep the Dunster community together.
“The Dunster-only meal hours are really nice. I’m still meeting people, but this is definitely Dunster Headquarters,” she said.
As he studied in the new dining hall, Jim Chan ’16, a Dunster resident living in Hampden Hall, said he enjoys the Inn’s proximity to the Yard and the other River Houses. Chan added that the displacement of students this year has not detracted from the community spirit that Dunster House fosters.
“The fact that we’re scattered doesn’t mean that we still don’t come together as a community at Dunster Headquarters,” he said, noting that the dining hall’s meal-time restrictions to either Dunster students alone or Dunster students plus one guest has helped preserve a tight-knit community and “gives us a sense of pride that we’re still an established House on campus.”
Dunster House Masters Roger B. Porter and Ann Porter wrote in an email to The Crimson that they feel the former Inn has become “a bright, welcoming, functional environment.”
They added that they are pursuing certain initiatives to maintain a sense of House community across the Inn and other swing spaces throughout Harvard Square, such as joint study breaks for all the House’s satellite locations and Masters’ open houses with dishes prepared by students.
—Staff writer Nikki D. Erlick can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @nikkierlick.
—Staff writer Brianna D. MacGregor can be reached at email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter @bdmacgregor.
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