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Kirkland residents act like Yale students during Harvard-Yale weekend: they just can't stop telling you how great their House is and how much better they are by association. Sure, we'd like them to tone it down a bit and maybe stop making out with each other, but unlike the Yalies, Kirkland students genuinely have a lot to brag about. From the great location to the homey vibe, Kirkland looks like it's straight out of a Harvard catalogue, causing us to wonder why Mark Zuckerberg decided to leave early.
Housing Quality: Kirkland housing is a mixed bag. Some upperclassmen luck out with big common rooms and spacious singles, but the House is also littered with walkthrough rooms and n suites. All of the rooms, however, are wood-paneled with plenty of natural lighting, and few students end up with bunk beds or cramped triples. In other words, it's definitely better than Winthrop for space and beats the concrete jungle that is Mather in looks, but the tradeoff is the chance that your room will be small.
Above all, though, it's all about location, location, location. With rooms right next to all the River Houses and JFK Street, but closer to the Yard than most, Kirkland House is in the perfect spot for many. With its Old Harvard vibe and cozy atmosphere, people walking into Kirkland might let out a sigh and say, "Ah, now this is Harvard."
Dining Hall: Kirkland's dining hall is the most intimate on campus. There are many tables that seat only four people, which is well suited for one of the smaller Houses on campus. Also, because the dining hall serves fewer people than other Houses do, many say the food is of a higher quality (though the kitchen is shared with Eliot). Kirkland residents report they can always find a friendly face in the dining hall, and it's close enough to the Yard for students to make it back for lunch. There is also outdoor seating available, which is nice on the two days a year when it's warm enough outside to venture forth without a parka.
Facilities: Kirkland has plenty of common rooms, a community kitchen, a House gym, and a basement ping pong area. The House also has a spectacular library housed in the contiguous Hicks House building next door. Kirkland uses its Junior and Senior Common Rooms to great effect for its incredible Conversations with Kirkland series, where Kirkland residents get to sit in on discussions with famous politicians, artists, and academics. Today the former President of Mexico, Felipe Calderon spoke there. Past guests include Drew Faust, Nate Silver, and Salma Hayek.
House Masters: Kirkland residents report being extremely pleased with their House Masters, Tom and Verena Conley, who are truly a one of a kind pair. The two can often be seen eating in Kirkland dining hall or walking their Bernese Mountain dogs around town. They are both Professors at the College (Tom in Romance Languages and Literature and VES, Verena in Romance Languages and Literature and Literature), giving them additional connections to the undergraduate community. As an added bonus, Tom offers a Kirkland wine seminar in the spring to all Kirkland residents (21+) during which he imparts his words of wisdom about all things Sauvignon Blanc. Let's just say not all House Masters are as willing to teach their residents about the finer things in life.
Extra: If wine's not your thing, you can join the Kirkland Brew Club, which makes several different House brews for fellow Kirklanders to sample at Stein Clubs. The House also boasts several other special, Kirkland-only events. Residents are known to go way, way overboard for Secret Santa week in December. And finally, of course, there is Incestfest, the annual Kirkland-only hook up party. Talk about brotherly (and sisterly) love.
Our rankings so far:
Disclaimer: Flyby's 2013 House Rankings, though unscientific, are based on careful research and review by the Flyby Staff. We encourage you to read the full posts—rather than the rankings alone—to learn more about each House. As difficult as it makes our jobs, thereis good to be found in every one of the twelve.