By Karina Ascunce
“Floreat domus de Eliot!” If you’re lucky enough to get sorted into Eliot House, you’ll be hearing this Latin phrase, which roughly translates to “Long Flourish Eliot House,” a lot. Eliot House overlooks the Charles River, which is as glorious as it is romantic. With its annual (and coveted) Fête spring formal, courtyard access to the Charles, and vibrant community, you can only hope that you’ll be hearing “E-L-I-O-T, you just won the lottery!” this housing day.
Sophomore housing at Eliot is typically composed of n-1 rooms. Every suite in Eliot is “slightly unique,” so you’ll have a one-of-a-kind experience no matter what, according to House Committee co-chair Will S. Flanagan ’20, who is also a Crimson News Executive. HoCo co-chair Terzah M. Hill ’20 assures us that Eliot housing for sophomores is actually pretty decent; they want you to love Eliot from the get-go!
The courtyard seems to be the talk of the town at Eliot; it’s a beautiful space to lounge, hang out with your friends, or study when the weather gets warmer. If you’re sorted into Eliot House, you should look forward to the river views from “the best courtyard,” according to Eliotite Gabriella M. Lombardo ’20. Eliot custodian José Portillo agrees, saying that one of his favorite spaces in the House is the courtyard in the summertime.
Unlike other River West houses, Eliot’s courtyard has direct access to Memorial Drive. Only Eliot residents have swiping privileges from the courtyard to the river, so you can definitely weirdly flex on your friends when you say, “we don’t have to go through JFK St., I’ve got swipe” on your way across the river
Location is also key — what’s a courtyard worth if you aren’t within walking distance of your fave places? Eliot Intramurals Chair Matthew D. Spence ’20 raves about proximity to the athletic complex as one of Eliot’s best features. If you’re an athlete, you live and breathe the Institute of Politics, or you simply want to shop at the Allston Trader Joe’s all the time, then you and Eliot are a match made in heaven.
Community is quite possibly the most important aspect of being an Eliotite. The dining hall is a hallmark of community-building — with faculty dinners, formals, meals, and regular ole’ studying going on, there’s a special love that students grow to have for the Eliot dhall.
Fête is Eliot’s annual spring formal, but as all Eliot residents know, it’s more than just a spring formal; it’s a way of life. Fête consumes the thoughts of Eliotites and eludes those who are not in Eliot: Will they be able to get a +1 ticket? Fête spans two diverse spheres: the old and the new. Hill says that there’s a “vintage vibe” with swing dancing and a live band playing outside, while a DJ fosters more of a “club atmosphere” indoors.
Steins are the pinnacle of all things Eliot: vibrant and fancy. They often have live bands at steins, and according to Hill, the steins are well-attended by Eliotites. Flanagan recalls a special karaoke stein, where people stayed well past the event’s end time.
Faculty deans, Harvard University Dining Services staff, and resident tutors are also an essential component of community at Eliot. Lombardo speaks of the close personal relationships that are formed in Eliot, not just with other students but with everybody that makes Eliot House not just a house but a home. According to Eliotite Gustavo O. Coutinho ’21, the Eliot Harvard University Dining Services staff is the best dhall staff, as they genuinely care about the students at Eliot. When asked to compare their faculty deans, Douglas "Doug" A. Melton and Gail O’Keefe, to superheroes, both Flanagan and Hill agreed on Superman and Wonder Woman, respectively. Eliot’s faculty deans work day and night to foster community in the House, and it shines through in the appreciation that Eliotites have for them.
Flanagan says that the EBC, Eliot Boat Club, doubles as the Eliot Breakfast Club. After morning practice, the EBC has a tradition of grabbing breakfast together at the dhall, so keep an eye out for your local intramural celebrities if you do get sorted into Eliot! Hill mentions IMs as a casual way to get Eliotites together, and since intramurals are as fun as the people who participate in them, that means they’re always a good time at Eliot.
We got the HoCo chairs to give us the inside scoop on life in Eliot.
If you had to describe Eliot in three words, what would they be?
TH: Domus (It’s Latin for ‘House’)
If you had to change one thing about Eliot, what would it be?
WF: I would make it so that I could live here more than three years.
If Eliot House were a Vine, which one would it be?
TH: ‘Oh my god, I love Chipotle’... it’s iconic because I feel like that’s how a lot of people feel about Eliot, like ‘Oh my god, I love Eliot’.
Read our overviews of the other Houses here.