Lowell House is close to the Yard, next to the MAC, and sometimes, too close to Noch's. While Lowell's detractors will complain about the Russian Bells (they’re only annoying on Sundays at 1 p.m.), there isn’t much to dislike about this Neo-Georgian beauty. If Lowell residents come to greet you on Housing Day, revel in the glory that the Housing Gods have bestowed upon you—for the next three years, you'll belong to a House that you'll be proud to show off to your parents and jealous peers.
The dining hall, like most of above-ground Lowell, is gorgeous. With its fancy chandeliers, huge windows, yellow walls, and high ceilings, it is the perfect place to eat. When the opera comes to town (every spring), though, it gets a bit more cramped and the dining restrictions border on ridiculous—no guests allowed. It is pretty embarrassing when you show up with a non-Lowell buddy during opera season and get turned away from your own House’s dining hall. But for most of the year, Lowell is a great place to dine with friends; it’s neither as crowded as Adams or Quincy nor as far as the Quad.
While the dining hall itself will brighten your day, the food is nothing special—it’s HUDS just like they serve everywhere else. And there is nowhere to retreat for a late night hamburger either. Lowell has a “grille” in its basement, but it is serves only as a party space and the home to Lowell’s Thursday stein clubs.
Score: +10,000 for big windows looking out onto a nice green courtyard, -500 for the opera
Most of Lowell’s useful common spaces are underground. It is a pretty ugly world down there, but at least you'll be protected from the elements. When the weather gets bad, you can get pretty much wherever you want to go in Lowell via the tunnels. There are two classrooms in the basement, which are great for study groups. There’s also the library, which doesn’t have bars over its books. For a more lively studying environment, you can work in the dining hall, which is always open and usually pretty well populated.
As we mentioned, the grille is in the basement and can be used for parties. Currently it’s a pretty boring space, and its foosball and pool tables are in poor condition. But rumor has it that the House Committee is thinking about ways to fix the place up.
Score: +10 for no bars, +100,000,000 for tunnels on cold winter days, -800 for the underused and ugly grille.
Sophomores don’t get much say in their rooming assignments. You fill out a form and then it is up to House Administrator Beth Terry to sort out the rest. Expect a walk-through your first year here. The rooms can be a bit small, especially compared to your friends’ suites in the Quad or your linkmates’ rooms in Adams. But the housing gets better (Lowell is certainly no Winthrop). Next year, Lowell will be taking over a floor of DeWolfe, so sophomores will also have that option. Eventually, if you are looking for a party suite, there’s the nine-room Lowell Labyrinth, which sits above the library.
Score: +0 pretty standard
This is probably the category in which Lowell House is most lacking. The House e-mail list, creatively named Lowell-Open, rarely hosts a heated—or even lively—discussion. For the most part, the House list is used to plug upcoming events. As for intramurals, they are sometimes well-attended, but it can be a struggle to find enough girls to fill up the teams.
Lowell's Thursday stein clubs are a great source of fun, community, and alcohol. Show up to a stein club and you'll generally find much better alcohol than what you'd normally buy for your own room. Why drink Rubinoff when you could have some yummy Smirnoff Ice or beer that actually tastes good?
It would also be remiss to talk about Lowell House spirit without a mention of the famous Teas. Every Thursday at 5 p.m., head over to the Masters' Residence, hang out with our two wonderful House Masters Diana Eck and Dorothy Austin, and enjoy some tea and desserts.
Lowell certainly does not stack up to houses like Mather when it comes to unbridled House pride. But to some degree, that seems to come from a belief that Lowellians have no need to prove how great their house is. Why make a video for housing day when it could always look silly—doesn’t everyone want to be in Lowell anyway?
Score: +40 for teas, +400 for Stein Clubs, +4,000 for awesome housemasters, -300 for no Housing Day video
Lowell has prime real estate. With the exception of Adams, and even that is debatable, there is no better place to be positioned geographically. Lowell is steps away from another House in every direction, and residents also have exclusive access to the House's back gate. Need to make a beeline for Eliot, Kirkland, or Winthrop? As a Lowellian, there's no need to walk all the way around Lowell like the plebian masses—just go out the back.
Score: +500,000 for domination in this category
Lowell has some pretty sweet events. Sophomores get to go on a boat cruise down the Charles with Dorothy and Diana. The House also plays host to speakers organized just for Lowellians. For example, this past week, we had former U.S. Soliciter General Seth P. Waxman '73 and a bank-robber-turned-jail-house-legal-expert in the Junior Common Room fielding questions from students for over an hour.
Score: +10 for cool events, -5 for not leaving anything to complain about
Committee Rank: 5 out of 12, you're tied with Mather.
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Photo by Robert L. Ruffins '12, Crimson Staff Photographer.