Housing Market 2020: Lowell

By Sílvia Casacuberta Puig

Amongst the undecipherable chit chat filling Annenberg, it’s quite common to hear first-years expressing their wish to be placed in Lowell House. Oh, what a dream it would be to spend the next three years living in college housing that resembles a hotel. And while the housing lottery is randomized (despite the many attempts to crack the code), we know quite a few people who have their minds set on the crème de la crème of housing: Lowell House.

All About Housing

On the drive into Cambridge, Lowell House’s shiny blue bell tower comes into view, reminding visitors and students alike of Harvard’s architectural beauty and history. Most freshmen will be placed into other houses (and grow to love them), but a few lucky ones will be welcomed by the warm embrace of the Lowell community on Housing Day.

Just on the surface, living in Lowell House is a literal dream come true. We can assure you that the physical amenities are to die for. Sitting in the library or the JCR makes us want to open up our books and finish that p-set due tomorrow. Gym? Duh. Squash courts? Of course. Art room? C’mon. Music room? Yes. Screening room? Are you kidding?! Of course there’s a screening room; it’s the cherry on top of the delicious sundae that is Lowell House. In addition to these features, Lowell also houses pool tables, a kitchen, an opera practice room (more on this later), and a screening room (we had to repeat that because the Lowell House screening room is just that awesome).


Beneath the physical surface of the newly renovated Lowell House are traditions and a sense of community that permeate throughout House life. Lowell House Committee chair Andrew Castillo ‘21, noted that “Lowell is very much encapsulated in some of its traditions.” Events include Lowell House Tea and Glowell, a rave beneath Lowell’s crystal chandeliers.

Castillo’s HoCo co-chair Ross D. Simmons ’21 likes to describe Lowell House as this “juxtaposition” of bougie and debaucherous. In addition to these events, Lowell residents participate in May Day, a pagan holiday, Trivia Nights between the Junior Common Room and Senior Common Rooms, and other unique traditions. Lowell Speeches, a newer house tradition, further fosters the sense of community amongst house residents. The Lowell House Opera is another unique feature of Lowell, as a professional opera performs in the dining hall. The party on opening night is described by Ross as “legendary.” Yule Dinner and Bacchanalia are other Lowell House specialties sure to add to Lowell House’s grandeur.

Most importantly, what would Lowell House be without the people? Resident Dean Caitlin M. Casey ’03 and Faculty Deans David I. Laibson ’88 and Nina Zipser are all essential to Lowell House. David and Nina are both new to their roles, but despite this, they strive to know each and every student in Lowell House and will sit down for individual meals with students to get to know them better. Though the title “Dean” has a more serious connotation, Castillo remarked that David and Nina are “welcoming” and “warm.”

While other houses have a House Committee, Lowell House has a Programming Committee whose goal is to “stimulate intellectual life” throughout the house. Famous professors and speakers, such as Stephen A. Pinker and Louis Menand, have been invited to speak and share with students topics of interest. Lowell House’s Senior Common Room is amongst the most vibrant and strong of all the houses, as it includes professors and others ranging from Drew Faust to Claudine Gay and many others. Castillo added that the Lowell tutors have been “absolutely integral to my experience [at Harvard].” Both HoCo Chairs agree that Lowell House would not be Lowell House without the tutors.

Your Questions, Answered

And now, a few more questions we just had to ask.

What have been some past Housing Day videos?

RS: “Get Lowell.” The best housing day video ever made. There is no competition. They were still playing “Get Lowell” last year [in Annenberg on Housing Day] from 2013. Best Housing Day video. Go watch “Get Lowell” (*snaps*).

AC: We are trying to rival it this year.

Three words to describe Lowell House?

RS: Occasionem Cognosce, which is the House motto — “recognize the occasion.”

AC: Classy, but turnt.

RS: I think our words mean the same thing.

If Lowell House were a Starbucks drink, what would it be?

RS: Caramel Macchiato

AC: We’re not a Starbucks drink. [...] I would say we’re like a cafe somewhere in LA.

If Lowell House were a restaurant in the Square, what would it be?

AC: I would say Flour. Flour’s a good one. But also, Peet’s Coffee is pretty good too. One of those two.

RS: We are not Mather, which is clearly Pinocchio’s.

If Lowell House were an emoji, what would it be?

AC: The little party hat one with the [confetti] blower.

RS: That’s what I was thinking.

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