By Georgia R. Messinger
Kirkland House is one of the smaller Houses on campus, but what they may lack in numbers, they certainly make up for in House spirit (and puppies)! Yes, that’s right: puppies! Kirkland is notorious for its abundance of dogs, so you’re sure to feel at home with these furry friends running around.
For sophomores, rooms in Kirkland closely resemble freshman housing, albeit slightly better. Each year, room layouts also improve to become more spacious. Sophomores can typically expect a double, a single, and a common room for a group of three. Given the close-knit spirit of the House, these cozy and charming room layouts are not at all problematic.
Entryway B of Kirkland even has a suite home to 10 students called the Beef, well known for throwing parties. You grow to know everyone in Kirkland with time, so chances are most people in the House have at least one friend or a friend of a friend who lives in the Beef. In Kirkland, you see people every day and grow with them for three years, HoCo co-chair Julia J. Dokko ’20 wrote in a text. Rising sophomores can look forward to being readily embraced in this welcoming place.
Kirklanders live in a prime location relative to Harvard Yard but never even need to leave the comfort of their House. A basement connects all the entryways (perfect for those lazy winter nights!) and is fully stocked with a kitchen (known as “the Grille”), plush couches, a TV, gym, foosball, billiards, and ping pong. “I have a lot of fond memories there — from working out to loud music with my best friends to hanging out at Stein and eating mozzarella sticks to watching movies and sports on the TV with snacks and great company,” HoCo co-chair Irla Belli ’20 wrote in a text. There’s also an elegant senior common room next to the dining hall, the go-to spot for students to dine, pset, and catch up with friends. Lastly, Kirkland has Hicks House, a piece of Cambridge history which serves as a library where Kirklanders can study and chill. Hicks House also turns into a haunted house when Halloween rolls around.
Kevin R. English ’20, Kirkland House Parliamentarian, sums up his House community in these three words: “Gritty. Spirited. IMs.” Kirklanders are full of pride and passion for their House, and this is truly a distinguishing trait. Starting on Housing Day, rising sophomores are dorm-stormed to the chanting of “Oh Kirkland! Oh Kirkland! You are so good to me. Oh Kirkland! Oh Kirkland! You are the place to be. Oh Kirkland! Oh Kirkland! Damn you are so fine. Oh Kirkland! Oh Kirkland! Thank God that you are mine.” The House this year is even working on a special video series of song parodies to make a full album for the new Kirklanders.
Winter is definitely the most special season in Kirkland. Secret Santa Week is a longstanding House tradition where students surprise each other with gifts in the forms of experiences, like living out a romantic comedy movie for the day, being read a bedtime story with milk and cookies, or, of course, a puppy playdate. Secret Santa reveals align with a holiday dinner with delicious food where seniors give speeches and toasts about what Kirkland has meant to them. To conclude the festivities, Scott Haywood, building manager, leads a parade around the dining hall holding up a stuffed boar with students following, singing, and playing instruments.
In addition to this, Kirkland goes above and beyond with their bi-weekly steins to foster community. The House is unique for hosting beer, wine, and cheese seminars, dessert open houses with the faculty deans, low-pressure plays put on by the Kirkland Drama Society (with house dean participation!), Monday cookie nights with snacks baked fresh by tutors, senior roasts, and community conversations with notable guest speakers like actor Woody Harrelson. All these small events make Kirklanders proud of their house quirks and traditions. On the very first night, new Kirklanders enter for dinner, and the whole house cheers and claps for them. When describing Kirkland Housing Day, Dokko said, “I knew I found my home and my family.”
If you still aren’t convinced as to why Kirklanders camp out each year (even in blizzards!) to be the first House to place their flag on the John Harvard statue for Housing Day, we got the inside scoop on Kirkland House spirit from HoCo co-chair Julia J. Dokko.
If you had to compare Kirkland to a fruit, which would it be and why?
JD: Grapes, because Kirkland life is like small bubbles of exploding joy. Each day in Kirkland is a new burst of happiness.
If you had to compare Kirkland to a Harry Potter house, which would it be and why?
JD: Kirkland is a good mixture of Gryffindor and Slytherin. Kirklanders are passionate and not afraid to be themselves but can also be a little mischievous.
What is one thing you want freshmen to know about your House?
JD: You don’t need to do a thing (other than to just show up for Housing Day). If you’re sorted into Kirkland, you are truly blessed. It’s like you’re diving into a pool of happiness and love.
Read our overviews of the other Houses here.