As part of our Housing Market series, we've been posting reviews and rankings for each of Harvard's 12 residential Houses. Click here to read more about our project.
Majestically situated on the banks of the Charles, Eliot House has a lot to offer the lucky freshmen placed here. With a vibrant community, a gorgeous courtyard, loving House Masters, and a wealth of facilities, this House is truly an all-inclusive package. Freshmen assigned to Eliot will have no reason to envy any of their (less fortunate) peers.
Dining Hall: The Eliot dining hall is spacious and welcoming, with dark wooden paneling and bronze chandeliers. The staff is very friendly, making sure to enforce dining restrictions so all Eliotites can find seats. The House grill is known for its delicious egg-and-cheese sandwiches as well as its succulent omelettes. The House organizes seven formal three-course dinners a year, though places are limited.
At night, the dining hall is transformed into a giant study hall with students scrambling to finish p-sets. Brain break offerings keep students happy, and Charles W. Eliot—the namesake of the House who graduated from the College in 1853—is perched over them, ready to help. During good weather, the dining hall staff will prepare a barbecue-type meal in the courtyard, complete with music and games. Sunday brunch is accompanied by live music performances put on by students.
Score: +14,000 for great events, +400 for the food, -350 for the creepy ghost, -500 for dining restrictions, +30,000 for an awesome atmosphere
Common Spaces: Eliot House has several classrooms in the basement, as well as a big study room. However, they can feel claustrophobic. The Junior Common Room is cozy but a bit small. The Inferno, Eliot’s grille, offers scrumptious alternatives to Corn Busts. Those with high cholesterol levels, beware!
Almost every common room in the House has a piano, some of which are located near student rooms. The Tower Room even features the piano of Leonard Bernstein ’39. Eliot House also boasts a library with a private study room. It is located in C-entryway, right under Ground Zero, the party suite. But who studies on Saturday nights anyway?
Score: +1,000 for lots of rooms, +300 for pianos, -200 for their placement, +1,000 for the library
Rooms: Rooms vary greatly, from walkthrough doubles to duplex octoplets. However, singles are guaranteed for seniors, and a River view is an option. Some rooms will have the occasional unwanted pests, leading to occasional fits of shrieking. As for party suites, Eliot has a selection of notorious rooms. Ground Zero has become a regular stop for freshmen on a Saturday night, and so has the Cockpit. This year, a sophomore blocking group christened their eight-man duplex The Octagon and threw raging parties every couple of weeks.
Score: +1,000,000 for senior singles, +20,000 for scenic River views, -50,000 for cockroaches, +20,000 for sweet parties
House Spirit: The only House with a toast, Eliot boasts a tight-knit community that is active and vibrant. The mighty mastodon is the House mascot, and it appears in six hidden locations around the House. The Eliot House Committee constantly plans House-wide events from Charles Eliot Day to the Date Auction. Moreover, stein clubs have become themed with a release of a publicity video preceding the weekly event. To keep away unwanted dinner guests, impromptu pantless dinners take place, building House solidarity and leading to hilarious awkward moments. New traditions keep sprouting up every year. For instance, the polar bear run has become an annual favorite and is usually announced by the ghost of Charles Eliot. Last year, Eliot pranked Adams House by "borrowing" their video game machine.
Score: +5,000 for HoCo events, +4,000 for the Eliot toast, -5,000 for being able to eat in your underwear every now and then, +7,000 for themed stein clubs, +100,000 for knocking Adams off its high horse
Location: Nestled between Kirkland and Winthrop, Eliot enjoys a quiet location by the River. Come wintertime, though, the extra couple of minutes of walking to the science buildings take will seem like infinity.
Score: +35,000 for calm privacy, -50,000 for the walk to the Northwest Labs in sub-zero wind chills
Quirks: To start, town criers announce events and happenings during meals, and announcements end with “Floreat Domus de Eliot."
Our administrators are great. House Master Lino Pertile gives intricate multi-lingual speeches at House dinners praising the House and its residents. House Master teas feature homemade English scones by House Master Anna Bensted in addition to Pertile's fascinating stories. Allston Burr Resident Dean Michael R. Canfield used the Eliot woodshop to make the cribs for his twins. Oh, and there's the ghost of Charles Eliot, who is said to help any student with p-sets if asked nicely. We're not quite sure, though, whether he knows multivariable calculus.
Then, there are the perks. Eliotites have access to the back gate, which is across the street from the Weld Boat House. There's the Golden Arm, which is basically a movie theater with five rows of couches that's available in the basement for movie screenings. A dark room, dance studio, and a gym are also available to students.
Last but not least, Eliot Fête, the spring formal, is awesome. Desperate Kirklanders are rumored to have crawled through the servery in order to sneak into Fête, and the same swing band has played at the Fête for over a decade.
Score: +300 for the town criers, +88,000 for the House Masters, +500 for the ghost of Eliot possibly being helpful, -7,000 for the ghost of Eliot possibly being not helpful, +91,200 for the facilities, +infinity for Fête
Committee Ranking: 1 out of 12. Congratulations, and Floreat Domus de Eliot!
Photo by Keren E. Rohe '13, Crimson Staff Photographer