Who Needs a Fake When You Have an HUID?

By Chyi-Dean Shu

UPDATED: October 8, 2014, at 1:45 a.m.

Even though that shiny piece of plastic can get you almost anywhere at Harvard, there are several spots on campus notorious for their stinginess, even to those holding HUIDs.

Loomis-Michael Observatory

Unfortunately, you can’t access this observatory, located on the tenth floor of the Science Center, with the simple swipe of an ID card. However, the Student Astronomers at Harvard-Radcliffe (STAHR) offer a series of telescope training classes every week for those who want to use it recreationally. All Harvard ID holders who complete STAHR’s course are allowed to use the observatory at their disposal if they complete three classes and pass a test.

Worth it? Definitely. You only have to go through a few hours of training to access the telescope room for the rest of your time at Harvard. Also, the observatory is a super romantic place to take your Tinder date.

Houghton Library Reading Room

Even though a Harvard ID is technically all you need to access this room in the Houghton Library all wishing to gain access must register with a Special Collections Request Account. Once you fill apply via their online form, you can visit the Reading Room, which is said to include parts of the Theodore Roosevelt collection (read Teddy’s diary!), as well as drawings and bookbindings dating back to the 15th century. All reading room patrons must be 18 or older, and you cannot take items such as cell phones and pens into the room with you.

Filling out Houghton’s online form doesn’t take too long, and unlike Anthropology 1130, you can experience ancient history sans jumping into a five foot pit.

Harvard Fatigue Laboratory Records

Why do possessors of HUID need advance notice to simply access lab records? These files at the Medical School library are from the now defunct Harvard Fatigue Laboratory, which conducted studies from 1927-1947 on the physiological and psychological effects that extreme stress has on humans. The study used treadmills, a climate room, an altitude chamber, and an animal room to measure the effects that extreme elevation and extreme temperature had on the human psyche.  The lab closed down shortly after World War II, but not before moving some experiments to 17,500 feet up in the Himalayas. The study made a significant contribution to the military regarding soldiers’ clothing, nutrition, and survival gear.

Unfortunately no level of swipe access can allow you to feel the sensation of running on a treadmill alongside a horse in fabricated Amazonian weather.

This article has been revised to reflect the following correction:

CORRECTION: October 8, 2014

An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated the requirements to gain HUID swipe access to the Loomis-Michael Observatory. In fact, the Student Astronomers at Harvard-Radcliffe require interested observers take three classes and a test before granting access.

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