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Housing Day Brings Fanfare, and Disappointment, to Freshmen

Members of Eliot House charge into Harvard Yard pn Housing Day.
Members of Eliot House charge into Harvard Yard pn Housing Day. By Thomas W. Franck
By Ignacio Sabate, Crimson Staff Writer

As colorful banners emblazoned with House shields and upperclassmen dressed in themed attire occupied the Yard on Housing Day, there was a palpable tension inside freshmen dorms. Quickly enough, though, shrieks of happiness—and some audible sighs—shattered the tension as freshmen began to learn their new housing assignments.

In recent decades, Housing Day has grown into a holiday for students at the College. Students don housing gear, sing House-related chats, and host a number of events intended to welcome freshmen to their new homes.

For many, the feeling of merriment continued to dominate Housing Day this year.

“We were just talking about how we wish Harvard was like this every day,” Alana J. Davitt ’19 said. “There’s music, people are happy, the weather is nice, and it’s the pinnacle of school spirit and pride.”

When considering House options, freshmen said they hoped to have single bedrooms.

“I’m pretty stoked about it, I’ll be living the single life for the next three years,” said Grace M. Chao ’19, who received a housing assignment in Mather. “I’m also an athlete so Mather is convenient at least for the field,” she added.

Others praised the Quad Houses for their expansive green spaces and amenities, in addition to the ready availability of singles.

“I didn’t have a particular House I wanted, but I’m excited to get Cabot and I know the Quad has really nice housing, yard space, and large singles, so I’m excited,” Abigail N. Burke ’19 said.

Future Lowell House residents, such as Salvatore R. DeFrancesco ’19, expressed concern with Lowell’s upcoming renovations, which will last two years, but were nonetheless excited to join the House.

Freshmen said they were also appreciative of the upperclassmen who helped organize House-related events and dormstorm freshmen rooms, a practice in which upperclassmen “storm,” en masse, freshmen dorm rooms to deliver housing assignment letters.

“You feel really welcomed by your Houses storming to your room and throughout all the other events during the day,” Meredith A. Jones ’19 said. “You can tell they’re really making an effort to reach out to freshmen and make them feel welcome to the community.”

Members of Kirkland House enter Wigglesworth Hall to announce housing decisions to expectant freshmen.
Members of Kirkland House enter Wigglesworth Hall to announce housing decisions to expectant freshmen. By Thomas W. Franck

Mather House Committee co-chair Trevor A. Mullin '17 said House staff aim to “give rising sophomores a crash-course on the supporting and exciting social life” at Mather.

Still, Housing Day was not as exhilarating and positive for some students. At least one blocking group waited in their rooms and did not receive a Housing assignment letter.

“Like all the other blocking groups at Harvard, we waited in our designated room at 8:30, eagerly anticipating the knock on the door,” Jacob N. Russell ’19, one of the members of the blocking group, wrote in an emailed statement. “Somehow our group was either forgotten, or the letter was lost. We are just very disappointed that we did not get to truly experience housing day.”

After visiting administrators in University Hall, the group received their eventual housing assignment: Pforzheimer House.

—Staff writer Ignacio Sabate can be reached at ignacio.sabate@thecrimson.com. Follow him on Twitter @ignacio_sabate.

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