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Administrators at the Dean of Students Office discussed plans to reopen House grilles and host Junior Parents Weekend in the spring semester in an interview last month.
House grilles — student-run eateries that offer late-night snacks — closed due to Covid-19 protocols in March 2020 and have not reopened. This fall, House grilles’ management began the process of reopening.
“A lot of the House grilles are planning to open in the spring,” Assistant Dean of Student Engagement Kate T. Colleran said. “They are completing the certification training, and they are setting up the appropriate visits with the inspections and making sure all the equipment is ready to go.”
Alysha L. Johnson Williams ’14, a tutor in Quincy House, said she has been leading the efforts to help reopen the Quincy House grille. Johnson managed the grille as an undergraduate at the College.
“We were hoping to be open this semester,” Johnson said. “The biggest challenge was just kind of the loss in institutional memory.”
“The way we’ve always run is the former grille managers train up the next year’s grille managers. They’re the experts, if you will,” Johnson added. “Given that we were a year-and-a-half without the grille, managers graduate — just trying to build up that institutional memory again has been a big challenge.”
The grille’s managers also had to obtain certifications and licenses, which Johnson explained required “a lot of meetings.”
“Grilles, as you might know, have to go through different licensing with not only Harvard but the City of Cambridge, and so we do function like a real restaurant,” Johnson said.
Quincy’s student grille managers had to be licensed and trained in different areas, such as allergen awareness, milk service, and choking safety.
“We’ve been working to get [the Cambridge] certifications and inspections scheduled and passed along with the Harvard side,” Johnson said.
Johnson said she is looking forward to the grille getting up and running in the spring.
“Oh God, I miss mozzarella sticks,” Johnson said. “I actually think the Quincy Grille is such a big community-builder in the House. So I’m really excited for the students to be able to have that sense of community back.”
The DSO administrators also said in the interview that they are planning Junior Family Weekend, which typically takes place in February.
Colleran said Junior Family Weekend would look “very similar to First-Year Family Weekend,” which took place this October.
“What looks a little different for Junior Family Weekend is that the Houses are involved,” Colleran said. “We do try to get the families into the Houses to see where their students are living.”
In previous years, House faculty deans have welcomed families with indoor receptions, Colleran noted.
“We’ll have to figure that out, just because we did a good balance during First-Year Family Weekend of not having so many people, so many outside guests in our buildings,” Colleran said. “That’s going to have to be something we’re thoughtful about with Junior Family Weekend.”
Dean of Students Katherine G. O’Dair said the DSO would rely on Harvard’s Covid-19 guidelines to ensure spring semester programming remains safe for all involved.
“We defer to the University’s Covid-19 protocols,” O’Dair said. “We’ll just await that guidance.”
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