UPDATED: March 9, 2017 at 2:41 a.m.
Has anyone heard of a construction project that was completed ahead of schedule? Luckily for Winthrop residents—new and old—the entire house will be ready for move-in day this August, including the new Beren Hall. If fresh rooms, river views, and a tight-knit community are your thing, you might just hit the jackpot with Winthrop.
The layout for sophomore housing is a bit up in the air. In the past, sophomores in Winthrop have lived in either Gore or Standish Hall in n-1 quads consisting of two doubles and a common room. The common rooms were relatively spacious while the bedrooms left some things to be desired. If Dunster is any indication, the trend of having sophomores live in doubles will likely continue, but residents can expect their common rooms to remain large.
Before renovations on the house began, Winthrop had two unofficial party suites: C-51 and H-51. But now, who knows? Maybe your room could be the next party suite on the river, if you know how to have fun.
House Committee chair Danielle O. Strasburger ‘18 gave us the scoop on what the house community in Winthrop House looks like:
Anyone that has a friend in Winthrop knows that the house is big on IMs. We asked her what the deal is. Her response: “IMs are a definitive part of Winthrop because we’re really good at them. Mostly, we have people who care a lot, and put heart and soul into it. Even people who don’t participate in IMs still care about them because it’s a point of honor. We win the Strauss cup, so we have to keep on winning it because you don’t want to be the year to mess it up. It’s how I met some of my best friends in the house. Basically, being good at IMs is very much part of our character.”
So no pressure, rising sophomores, but you have a winning streak to maintain. Believe us when we say that this is a big deal. They even have their own website, complete with the schedule, record, and athlete of the week.
If IMs aren’t quite your thing, though, Winthrop hosts a really nice event towards the end of the spring semester called “THROPSTOCK.” According to Strasburger, the event is very much like the Woodstock Festival.
“It’s outdoors, right when the weather's getting nice again towards the end of the spring semester. We have live music, dunk tanks, last year we had an inflatable joust thing. The HUDS staff grills dinner outside In the past, it was held in our courtyard so everyone comes out, hangs out, we’ll put out blankets and lay out. So it’s relaxed, it’s a chill vibe, everyone’s happy to be there.” This spring, Thropstock will be held on the lawn outside the Barker Center, but will return to the house courtyard next spring.
Still looking for more information about Winthrop House? Strasburger answered a few more questions about house life in this uber-spirited community:
Why should we be excited for Housing Day this year?
DOS: “We are super psyched for this year because of the renovations. There has never going to be a year that it is better to be put into Winthrop than this year. So there’s a lot of hype around that—the new Winthrop building is going to be amazing. Housing Day is always fun but this year is going to be better than ever.”
What effect has swing housing had on Winthrop?
DOS: “It’s been different; in some ways, it’s been cool because it’s given us a chance to stop and look at what we’ve always done and really think about what we can do better. We’ve also been given more funds, which is nice. The biggest impact I’ve seen is that the sophomore class, who are all in the Winn, are really close because they’ve all lived together. Of course it’s hard with everyone being spread out, so we’ve done a lot of things to build up community, but overall it’s been positive.”
What surprised you most when you entered Winthrop?
DOS: “Honestly, I knew nothing about Winthrop before I got put into it, so everything about Winthrop was a surprise. For me, the IM stuff was new, and I hadn’t done IMs as a freshman but I got into them here as a way to meet other people and have a lot of fun. I found I really enjoyed house spirit and house life, like having friends across the grades. I was surprised by how much and how quickly it did come to feel like home and how different it was from the freshmen dorm.”
Would it be accurate to compare Winthrop’s lion to the Gryffindor lion?
DOS: “Yes, we very much pride ourselves on being the Gryffindor of Harvard, because we have a great mascot (the lion) and Harry Potter with his other Gryffindors always win things. We win a lot, like the Strauss cup, which is kind of similar to getting the house cup at Hogwarts. This past semester, we had a triwizard tournament. We’re also pretty daring and brave and courageous: We show that on and off the IM field, but also in the rest of Winthrop life.”
If you could liken Winthrop to a food, what food comes to mind?
DOS: “Any food that has recently become trendy. People used to sleep on Winthrop and put it below all the Quad houses, but now Winthrop is becoming a more dominant presence on campus because of renovations and IMs. So we’re like a food that’s always been great but hasn’t been recognized for its greatness, and now people are finding out that it’s actually awesome.”
Anything else we should know about Winthrop?
DOS: “We’re really big on diversity. We have a great team of diversity tutors," she said. "Our house administrator is black. We’ve done amazing programming for black history month, something that we’re really proud of as a house. We try to be really diverse and inclusive.”
This article has been revised to reflect the following correction:
CORRECTION: March 9, 2017
A previous version of this story incorrectly indicated that the Faculty Deans of Winthrop were the only black Faculty Deans at Harvard.