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Most Harvard students will experience The Game at Harvard Stadium for the first time on Saturday when it returns to Harvard for its 138th playing.
As the festivities return to Cambridge for the first time since 2016, students said they were excited about welcoming back alumni and opening their dorms to guests from Yale. In 2020, The Game was canceled due to the pandemic, and the 2018 iteration was hosted by Harvard but played at Fenway Park.
“It’s really the only time where Harvard exemplifies the school spirit that big Southern state schools have,” Sophia R. Haddon ’25 said. “We’re really academics-focused, so it’s nice to have that one day off.”
Lola N. Mullaney ’24, who is on the women’s basketball team, said she is looking forward to spending time with alumni from her team who are returning to campus.
“This is actually my first Harvard-Yale Game that I’ve been able to go to, because freshman year it was Covid, and then I couldn’t go to last year’s game at Yale,” Mullaney said. “I think it will be a great, fun environment.”
Mari Kikuta ’24, who has also never attended a Harvard-Yale game, said she is excited to join the tailgate ahead of the game with friends from other universities.
“Before Thanksgiving, [it’s] something to look forward to,” she said.
This year, The Game has taken on increased importance as both teams are still vying for the Ivy League championship.
“The prospect of Harvard still being in contention for the Ivy League championship is another reason a lot of people are still interested in and still invested in the Game, not just for the sake of having a game,” Chris J. Canzano ’25 said.
Across campus, each house committee is responsible for providing food and lodging for its sister college from Yale on Friday night.
Grace R. O’Sullivan ’24, who is the community chair for Adams House Committee, said Adams will be hosting Yale students from Saybrook College in common rooms and providing Domino’s pizza.
“I’m sure they’ll have a great time sleeping on the floors,” O’Sullivan said. “So maybe the pizza makes up for that.”
Many houses are also hosting mixers and steins with their Yale sister colleges Friday evening.
Evangeline Liao ’25 said she looks forward to attending Eliot House’s event with its sister house, Jonathan Edwards College.
“It’ll be interesting since I don’t know very many Yale students, so it will be fun and exciting and we get to meet lots of people,” Liao said.
Some cultural and social groups from Harvard and Yale are also planning mixers during the weekend of The Game this year. Yahir Santillan-Guzman ’25, a member of Raza, said he is looking forward to mixing with MEChA, a Latinx organization at Yale.
“It’s going to be a really good opportunity to meet other Latinx students from other schools,” Santillan said.
Harvard spokesperson Jonathan Palumbo wrote that coordinating logistics for The Game took months and included collaboration across University departments and with Yale’s administration. Harvard also communicated with Cambridge and Boston officials about the expected uptick in traffic, he wrote.
Harvard’s Dean of Students Office has been in “at least weekly contact” with Yale to prepare information and space for guests, including providing a baggage check area during The Game for Yale students’ belongings.
Neither Ivy League school is well-known for its school spirit, but Liao said she is excited for that to change during Harvard-Yale weekend.
“I know that some American universities, they have very intense, emotionally involved rivalries,” she said. “But I think the Harvard-Yale one is more just rooted in tradition.”
—Staff writer Edona Cosovic can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
—Staff writer Leah J. Teichholtz can be reached at email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter @LeahTeichholtz.
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