Adams’ location is just perfect: close enough to the Yard and Harvard Square that the walks to class, Starbucks, and Kung Fu Tea (rip my bank account) don’t take too long, but also far enough away from the Yard and tourists that you no longer have to worry about always keeping your shades down and closing your windows. At Adams, you get to claim presidential alumni, gold-painted (yes, actual gold!) walls, and underground tunnels.
You might think that Adamsians are represented by the iconic acorns on their House crest, but that’s actually not their mascot. Though Adams might not have an official mascot like other Houses, that doesn’t mean they don’t have House pride. According to Adams HoCo co-chair Tiffany L. Gonzales ’22, Adams House’s spirit can be summed up in one word: welcoming. “People from all walks of life are welcome here. And people go out of their way to get to know each other and to form relationships, whether it’s with students, tutors, or custodial staff or dining staff,” she said. But a welcoming environment isn’t all that Adams has to offer. After all, this is the House where “all the action happens,” Chung Y. See ’22 wrote in a Harvard Political Review article. If you don’t believe See, familiarize yourself with this legendary 2019 Housing Day video. Even at a place as old historic as Harvard, Adams still stands out with its rich traditions and history.
Perhaps the most famous Adams event is Carpe Noctem (Carpe for short), a weekly stein where students from all over the House come together to enjoy great music, food, and refreshments, and generally have a good time. Carpe, which features a different theme every week, makes Thursday nights not just a typical day but rather “a highlight of the week.”, according to Gonzales. Another equally important tradition is Winter Feast — a fancy black tie dinner in December after which a group of seniors perform a reading of Winnie the Pooh.
It would be a missed opportunity to also not mention the most Adams-esque events of the year: the House’s annual Drag Night, which embodies “Adams’ spirit of inclusion and community,” according to Gonzales. She shared a special memory of Drag Night two years ago where Faculty Deans Sean and Judith S. “Judy” Palfrey ’67 (power couple!) dressed up as Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper from A Star is Born and performed “Shallow” for the House to enjoy. Drag Night is also a reflection of Adams House’s history of supporting the arts, social activism, and the LGBTQ+ community on campus. The message of social justice doesn’t just end with Drag Night. Adams House administrators take their commitment to diversity and inclusion seriously, regularly hosting cultural events celebrating the diverse backgrounds of House members. HoCo co-chair Minjue Wu ’22 provided details on this year’s Lunar New Year celebration at Adams, where students on and off campus alike enjoyed the festivities with virtual red envelopes, special snacks packages, and thoughtful gifts from the Faculty Deans and tutors. At a time when hate crimes targeting Asian Americans are at an all time high, Wu said she found it “really gratifying” and “awesome” to enjoy the celebration with members of the House.
Of course, Harvard’s shift to remote operations due to Covid-19 has made staying connected a challenge. But it’s going to take more than just Zoom fatigue to erode the bonds of this community. Wu said Adams has exhibited versatility in adapting to this year’s unusual circumstances through its events, such as Carpe. Especially for this year’s virtual Chocoholica — Adams’ annual Valentine’s Day celebration featuring swing dance, champaign, and erotic (yes, erotic) chocolate — there were also non-virtual elements, such as mailing Cookiegrams to House members. Gonzales also said HoCo has sent UberEats vouchers and merch to Adams residents over the past year. Clearly, incoming Adams sophomores have a lot to look forward to!
Adams is currently undergoing renovations, making it one of most sought after Houses for the near future. With that said, it is likely some Adams affiliates will have to reside in swing housing next semester, which Gonzales assured us will be high-quality, including large bedrooms and in-suite kitchens. In that case, who wouldn’t want to experience swing housing?
At Adams, sophomores are spread out throughout the House in either doubles or triples that boast spacious common rooms, high ceilings, and in-suite bathrooms! Adams is known for their underground tunnels, which connect four of Adams’ five buildings, allowing students to move between the buildings without having to go outside (which will definitely come in handy during Cambridge winters). Other amenities include a gym, pool tables, a theater, and a printing press! Post-renovation amenities will also include additional elevators in Claverly Hall, which will come as a relief for those living on the top floors.
As common spaces reopen, students can rely on the Lower Common Room for a relaxing space where they can make new friends and hang out after a long week of essay writing and or psetting. For people looking for new study spaces, Adams has all your study needs covered: the Adams library is always inviting, the dining hall is a more social place to get your work done, and there are also different rooms around the House — like the Seamus Heaney room — that provide the perfect studying ambiance. And if you’re looking for a post-Covid party, you can check out the Lower Common Room where Carpe is held every week; this room can hold hundreds of people.
Want to know more about what it's like to live in the place where all the action happens? Read below for the scoop!
What’s your favorite place in Adams?
TLG: The courtyard just outside of the Conservatory room, which is a room in Adams. It’s very cute and they have some metal chairs and tables out and some greenery and you can eat your lunch there. It also has good sunlight in the middle of the day.
MW: I have a special fondness of the tunnels! Because I really liked paintings everywhere. And so just being able to trace back the history of the corners is really nice! Just being able to see history walking from my dorm to the area with the dining hall everyday is really special.
What type of Youtube video is Adams House?
TLG: We actually have a few videos on Youtube started during Covid. We have a test kitchen so people in the House have been testing out different recipes and they put together videos and post them on Youtube. It’s really funny to see people mess up the recipes. So, I guess it would be the side of Youtube where they make recipes in a funny way.