As part of our Housing Market series, we'll be posting reviews and rankings for each of Harvard's 12 residential Houses over the next few days. Click here to read more about the series.
On Saturday nights, flocks of freshmen trek down Dewolfe Street, looking for a good time. Nine times out of ten, they end up at Mather, where music reverberates enticingly in the concrete courtyard. Say what you will about ugly architecture and distance from the Yard, Mather has one great thing going for it: parties, and plenty of them. As for the other aspects of Mather, there aren’t as many positive things to say.
Dining Hall: If you were to describe Mather's dining hall as steamy, soapy, and sexy, you wouldn't be wrong—one night of the year, at least. The popular foam-filled Mather Lather bash takes place in the dining hall each spring. On a regular day, however, Mather's dhall is unremarkable. Its full-length windows look out, fortunately, onto the Charles River and, unfortunately, onto cars speeding along Memorial Drive. The constant stream of students partially makes up for the view of automobiles while you dine. Whether it's breakfast, lunch, dinner, or 3 a.m., students can be found eating, working, and socializing. Of course, they're all Matherites—not many venture to faraway Mather from other Houses. This social isolation means, on the up side, that the peanut butter at brain break rarely runs out.
Facilities: The Three Column Gallery, located right at the entrance of the dining hall, is ideal for running into friends in passing or taking in the artwork hanging on the walls while waiting to meet someone for a meal. Other common spaces are less impressive; it's just hard to make concrete feel homey. Thus, spaces like the Junior Common Room and "Big TV Room" could do with more people making use of them.
Rooms: The rooms are pretty sweet. All Mather residents are guaranteed a single (for life). Sophomores will most likely enjoy a medium-sized single in a two-floor suite with a truly massive common room. Juniors and seniors living in Mather's 18-story tower don’t get common rooms, but the singles are colossal. Even those with 29 pairs of shoes are at a loss to fill the entire space, which residents report can actually be quite annoying. While the concrete walls are undeniably ugly, they at least keep out the rats and roaches that infest other Houses.
House Spirit: Matherites often claim that Mather is the founder of House spirit. After all, the House was the first to release a housing day video (back in 2007). To this day, residents refer to Housing Day as "Mather Day," because, as they see it, the day wouldn't matter much without Mather. However, we can't help but wonder why Mather released such a bad housing day video this year.
The departure of longtime House Masters Sandra F. Naddaff '75 and Leigh G. Haffrey '73 is bound to affect House spirit. Just one year into their tenure as Masters, Christine A. McDonald and Michael D. Rosengarten are still meeting upperclassmen and will now be learning new freshmen's names as well. However, McDonald reported last year that both she and her husband like Mather's architecture, so we're willing to award extra House spirit points to anyone who can see beauty in cement.
Location: It's far. Not as far as the Quad, but a close competitor. Luckily, the Mather Express pulls up right next to the gate, and if you choose to walk, you're bound to run into a friend from every House (minus the Quad) during those nine minutes of plodding to Emerson Hall.
Quirks: One of Mather's best traits is the underground tunnels that connect the buildings. When it's cold outside (meaning almost all year), you'll appreciate these warm, dry routes from your room to the dining hall and back. Of course, this doesn’t quite make up for the snow and rain that you'll muddle through to get to Mather at all.