Housing Day How-To for Upperclassmen

By Thomas W. Franck

Every year around Housing Day, PAFs, proctors, and the College at large trip over themselves to tell freshmen exactly what to expect and what to do. But for upperclassmen, it’s not as clear how you should go about Housing Day, from dorm-storming to skipping classes. So, we put together some advice for those of us on the other end of that fateful Thursday. If you’re going to pretend to love Harvard for one day a year, you should go hard, right?

Listen to HoCo

We know, it sounds like the most boring tip in the world, but each house does actually have its own procedure on the morning of Housing Day. Your HoCo should have a plan in place, so be sure to know what’s happening when. That way you won’t wake up earlier than you need to...or, worse, stumble into the dining hall after everyone’s already gone. Which brings us to...

You Don’t Actually Need to Wake Up That Early

If you want to grab breakfast and hang out with the growing crowd, then you can be up at 6 a.m., or whatever floats your boat. But realistically, even if your house is super aggressive about being the first to Harvard Yard, don’t expect to leave on time. Nothing is stopping you from just rolling out of bed and joining the dorm-stormers.

Dress Practically

The only reason you might want to be on time to breakfast is to make sure you get a t-shirt in a size you prefer. If your HoCo is good about sizing in their orders, this shouldn’t be an issue, but if you’d rather be safe then go for it. And don’t wear something you particularly like to storm dorms. Mud and/or snow is almost guaranteed to get all over your footwear (and possibly your pants!) as you cavort around the Yard, and you do not want to be the sucker in white sneakers.

To Alcohol or Not to Alcohol?

Maybe we’re all really freshmen at heart, because while they debate whether or not to River Run, we’re deciding if pregaming on a Wednesday night is the smart thing to do. Some people truly think they should stay up all night, which sounds terrifying to us, but you do have spring break to sleep it off…

Overall we’re on the fence about whether or not alcohol actually improves the Housing Day experience. Yeah, it would be funny to go to your morning classes plastered, but the dorm-storming itself is a messy business of running up and down cramped staircases. You decide if you want to be sober for that or not.

It’s Not About You!

As nice as it is to see that some houses really can manage to muster up spirit for one day, the most important thing to keep in mind is that Housing Day is about the freshmen, not you. Dorm-storming is fun for us, but it can be really overwhelming to have a crowd of questionably sober upperclassmen rushing into your suite. Enjoy yourself, but be conscious of how freaked out the people in the suite are, and consider dialling it back every now and then.

We know that housing is not that deep, and the vast majority of people grow to really love where they live. Freshmen don’t necessarily know how true that is. So if you’re in an “unpopular” house, take a moment to reassure the incoming class. And if you’re in a “popular” house, feel free to wild out...but don’t take it out on frosh who get an “unpopular” one. Your personality can be more than just hating on the Quad, you know.

Extenuating Circumstances

In general we are very pro-skip-your-classes for such an occasion. But there are certain circumstances that mean even house pride should be put aside. If you have a midterm, for the love of all that is good, go to your midterm. Seniors, if you’re turning in your thesis the night before Housing Day, don’t put off your work. Housing Day is really fun, but it will come another year for most of us.

Whether you’re new to Housing Day as an upperclassman or not, the prospect of a quarter of the college finding out where they’ll spend the next three years deserves celebration. This housing day, have a blast with your house and Harvard spirit, and make it a day that the freshmen will remember.

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