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Eliot historically housed the rich and the famous of Harvard undergraduates: those students with last names such as Cabot, Lowell, and Adams. Though housing randomization has done away with its exclusivity, Eliot's rich community and classic Harvard facilities make it one of the most desirable Houses on campus. With an expansive, hammock-filled courtyard, beautiful river views, and close proximity to classes in the Yard, residents are hard-pressed to name drawbacks of their beloved Domus. This year, Eliot maintains its second place position in the House rankings.

House Spirit: Eliot residents show fierce pride for their House, as evidenced by the massive turnout of "Domus"-chanting students in the Yard on Housing Day. A core group of intensely spirited HoCo members plan numerous community events. At the House charity auction, for example, attendees can bid on an intimate dinner with the House Masters or cooking lessons taught by the kitchen staff.

Instead of the usual two annual formal affairs, Eliot boasts three: September Soirée, a winter formal, and "Fête." Tickets to this widely-attended spring formal are so coveted that stories of gatecrashers trying to circumvent security are commonplace. However, as elegant as these formal affairs may be, residents say it is the many smaller, more personal events, such as Stein Clubs and entryway study breaks, that go far in creating a tight-knit community at Eliot.

Housing Quality: Though the endemic issue of tight quarters for sophomores on the River does not spare Eliot, the prospects for upperclassmen are bright. Seniors are guaranteed n+1 housing, which means singles for most. Options for upperclass students include massive party suites like "Ground Zero" and the "Cockpit," which are complete with multiple common rooms and Eliot-crested beer pong tables. Plus, majestic river views can prove a boon to what can sometimes be crowded quarters.

Dining Hall: Though Eliot's dining hall—complete with dark wood paneling and ornate chandeliers—may appear imposing, House residents name it as a central location for studying and socializing. With the dining hall tucked away between Winthrop and Kirkland, relatively few non-Eliot dwellers venture to there for meals, which enhances a strong sense of House camaraderie. Eliot lives up to its posh reputation at its weekly "Home to Eliot" events, where white tablecloths are laid out for a special community dinner event. Students rave about the friendly HUDS staff, who know many of their patrons by name. The outdoor terrace proves a pleasant location for dining during the warmer autumn and spring months.

Facilities: Though perhaps not as spacious as those in more recently built Houses, Eliot's facilities are well-used. The sunny library, which is rumored to contain a secret passage, is a wonderful place to sit back with a book and channel your inner James Joyce, whose grandson resided in the House. (Incidentally, Stephen Joyce '54 roomed with a grandson of Henri Matisse and a descendant of the Islamic prophet Muhammad in Eliot A-12, but it's whatever.) The Eliot Grille, with its 1950s-style checkered floor, serves late night snacks all week long, and students say they use the Grille as a prime spot for studying or relaxing among friends.

House Masters: Despite their somewhat recent arrival as House Masters, in 2011, Doug A. Melton and Gail A. O'Keefe are already well integrated constants in House life, according to Eliot residents. Melton frequently challenges undergrads to squash matches, in which he often triumphs. The pair can be found on most nights in the dining hall, eating informally alongside undergrads and tutors. After struggling to think of a negative aspect to life in Eliot, Melton rightfully noted that the House is a fair distance from the labs in the northwest area of campus, where he spends much of his time as a professor of natural sciences.

Extra: Although Eliot is quite far from many of the buildings north of the Science Center, athletes will be especially appreciative of the House's back gate, which provides easy access to the Weld Boathouse and the athletic facilities across the Anderson Memorial bridge to Eliot residents only. Happily for the non-varsity athletes among us, Eliot proves a perennial powerhouse in IM crew. Residents have a special attachment to their House motto, "Floreat Domus de Eliot," using the sole word "domus" as a frequent chant and adornment on House swag. Residents say that in a world where students' identities are less tied to their Houses than they may have been in the days of Harvard yesteryear, life in Eliot is indeed flourishing.

Our rankings so far:

2. Eliot