If you’re sorted into Eliot House, you’ll find yourself immediately surrounded by an inclusive and caring community. Not to mention, you’ll have back swipe access to the river and may get to see Eliot’s newest poodle puppy in the courtyard. Get excited to be a part of the same House community Rashida Jones once was and to spend your time procrastinating your psets with impromptu chats in the dining hall!
“I think that in my experience something that has been really unique to Eliot was just the kind of familial environment when you walk in,” says HoCo co-chair Courtney A. Rabb ’22. “I remember times when I would go into the dining hall, I would never be afraid to go in by myself because I could see anyone in the House and feel pretty comfortable sitting down with someone and just strike up a conversation.” HoCo co-chair Solomina A. Darko ’22 adds that the house “truly feels like a family and...there is never a time where I feel uncomfortable to be in any space in the House by myself or with other people.”.
Eliot’s HoCo chairs truly sum it up best — not only is Eliot excellent at fostering a close, tight-knit community, but the residents also know how to host exciting and fun events. One of Eliot’s biggest and most popular events is its end-of-the-year formal, Fête. They usually have a swing band come in for entertainment, plus an entire dessert room (That’s right. A whole room filled with dessert. We’re drooling already too.). Usually one or two nights before, students can go to the Faculty Deans’ residence and hand-dip strawberries in chocolate.
And the House’s smaller events, like steins, bring the fun too! Eliot often has live bands come and perform, along with plenty of free food. Each stein typically has a different theme, like disco or Halloween, with one Halloween party turning the entire House into a golf course! They also have tunnel painting steins, mostly targeted towards seniors, during which students are given paint and paintbrushes to add their artistic touch to the underground tunnels and leave their mark on Eliot House.
The HoCo co-chairs had nothing but songs of praise for their tutors and deans. Eliot recently got new Faculty Deans, Stephanie Paulsell and Kevin J. Madigan, and they've already made wonderful contributions to the Eliot community, according to Rabb. “You can tell how much they want to help the House… they’ve only been here since last semester and are already implementing so many different ideas and ways to keep students engaged,” says Rabb. With their amazing Faculty Deans and tutors, students in Eliot couldn’t have found better House faculty!
During the pandemic, Eliot has been hard at work keeping everyone connected in the virtual world, holding regular HoCo meetings online to plan out their latest events. This past spring, they brought Fête online — everyone logged onto Zoom dressed in their finest formal attire and entered breakout rooms to chat and listen to music together. And the fun doesn’t stop there: this spring, they plan to have chocolate tastings for students including a free box of chocolate and an online lesson on how the chocolate is made. And last semester, everyone received an Eliot journal and students received small care packages from their entryway tutors.
Though this year’s sophomores haven’t had a chance to physically live in Eliot yet, the House has strived to integrate their newest members into their community. The sophomores, then freshmen, were sent free t-shirts and plenty of Eliot merch. “They’re still a part of Eliot even if they’re away from the House,” says Rabb. “Solo and I had an open Zoom call with them trying to get to know them and welcome them in a more concrete way with seeing people’s faces.”
Describing her own sophomore housing, Darko told us, “For my rooming group, there are five of us. One of us had a single and then the four of us had two doubles and then we had a really big common room...that I’m sure someone could have used as a bedroom but we didn’t. And then a bathroom with three sinks, a shower and then all the necessities.” Incoming sophomores can expect similar housing, with one or two people getting single rooms and the other roommates sharing double rooms.
The place to be in Eliot seems to be its dining hall, which is the “hub of all activity” and the prime place to socialize. According to the HoCo chairs, the dining hall is where the best conversations are had and their happiest memories are made. “You can go pass through it to get to your entryway and you'd probably spend 10 minutes talking to someone before you’re finished with your journey,” says Darko.
You’ll find special rooms all around the House such as a woodshop, a film room for photographers, a movie room for watch parties with friends, a dance room, and a record room perfect for music-lovers. There’s truly a room for everyone! Specialists are brought in to train interested students on how to best use the woodshop and film room, ensuring every Eliot resident can get the most out of the House’s exciting amenities.
Still not convinced? Darko and Rabb dished out some more info about why there is no better place to be than in Eliot.
What is one thing you want freshmen to know about Eliot?
SD: Your dreams can come true. It sounds so weird, but I think there was a lot of emphasis… that if you want an event to happen, we are here to make it happen. If you have an idea, we truly want to make sure you know you can come to us and let us know, and we will try our best to usually make it come true — and, for the most part, it does.
What do you think makes Eliot special?
SD: The people. It’s cliché, but it’s true, it’s the people... I would say it’s the students who are in the House who have an interest in making the House as fun and as comfortable for them as possible, and for me, it was definitely a place I looked forward to coming back to after classes. It’s my home away from home.
If you could describe Eliot with a HUDS dish, what would it be?
SD: We had beautiful enhanced dinners. I would say it’s the salmon… Not the regular HUDS salmon, the enhanced dinner salmon.
CR: Paired with the pumpkin ravioli.
SD: Oh, that was good.
CR: It’s a delicacy.
What should freshmen who get Eliot look forward to?
CR: They can look forward to a House where they are very much wanted and where their ideas and… how they’re fitting in really matters. They’re going to be surrounded by people who really want them there and want to make sure they’re enjoying their time within the House.
Read our overviews of the other Houses here!