03.14.13 VOL. XLIV, NO. 18
The Indy is in da house. Cover Design by ANNA PAPP
CONTENTS HOUSING SPREAD 3 One if by Quad, Two if by River 4-9 Making a House a Home ARTS 10 HD Videos 11 Change We Can't Believe In BACK PAGE BENEDICTIONS
President Editor-in-Chief Managing Editor Director of Production
Angela Song '14 Christine Wolfe '14 Sayantan Deb '14 Miranda Shugars '14
News and Forum Editor Arts Editor Sports Editor Design Editor Associate News Editor Associate Forum Editor Associate Arts Editor Associate Design Editor
Whitney Gao '16 Curtis Lahaie '15 Sean Frazzette '16 Alex Chen '16 Milly Wang '16 Kalyn Saulsberry '14 Sarah Rosenthal '15 Travis Hallett '14
Illustrator Anna Papp '16 Cartoonist John McCallum '16 Photographers Maria Barragan-Santana '14 Tarik Moon '15 Business Manager Senior Staff Writers
Destination of the week...
Albert Murzakhanov '16 Michael Altman '14 Meghan Brooks '14 Whitney Lee '14 Claire Atwood '16 Xanni Brown '14 Terilyn Chen '16 Clare Duncan '14 Gary Gerbrandt '14 Travis Hallett '14 Yuqi Hou '15 Cindy Hsu '14 Chloe Li '16 Orlea Miller '16 Albert Murzhakanov '16 Carlos Schmidt '15 Frank Tamberino '16
As Harvard College's weekly undergraduate newsmagazine, the Harvard Independent provides in-depth, critical coverage of issues and events of interest to the Harvard College community. The Independent has no political afďŹ liation, instead offering diverse commentary on news, arts, sports, and student life. For publication information and general inquiries, contact President Angela Song (president@harvardindependent. com) or Managing Editor Sayantan Deb (managingeditor@ harvardindependent.com). Letters to the Editor and comments regarding the content of the publication should be addressed to Editor-in-Chief Christine Wolfe (editorinchief@harvardindependent. com). For email subscriptions please email president@ harvardindependent.com. The Harvard Independent is published weekly during the academic year, except during vacations, by The Harvard Independent, Inc., Student Organization Center at Hilles, Box 201, 59 Shepard Street, Cambridge, MA 02138.
Quad Life for Life
T h e p er ks o f b ei n g a Q uadling . By KALYN SAULSBERRY
I’ll admit that when I received my Housing Day letter that informed me that I had been “Quaded” — one of my greatest fears of freshman year — I shed a tear at the thought of losing proximity to the Square, my classes, and my River friends. However, after two years of Quad life, I realize that living apart from my workspace has contributed to my overall wellbeing. When I lived in the Yard my freshman year, the proximity seemed great, but in hindsight, such proximity contributed to a feeling of never being able to relax or be out of my work mode. As a Quadling, at the end of a long day of classes or studying in the library, I have a brief (emphasis on the brief) stroll that distances me from the stress of my workplace and takes me to what is comparable to the suburbs. After leaving the congestion of the Square, the Quad offers peace and quiet where families living nearby walk their dogs, and students (weather permitting) bask on the Quad Lawn while others toss a Frisbee with friends. Also contributing to this suburban-feel is the sense of community among Quadlings. Even though
I don’t know every Quadperson’s name, chances are I’ve seen them in the dining halls (which are known for serving higherquality food than the River) or on the shuttle, and there is a sense of solidarity among us. And let’s not forget about the housing itself. In the Quad, students are guaranteed singles. But, more importantly, they are guaranteed not to experience the awkwardness of walkthroughs. The rooms are spacious, and there are full-length mirrors in the hallways as a relic of the Radcliffe days. Also, there are elevators, so getting assigned to the fourth or fifth floor is never an issue on move-in or moveout day. Nevertheless, Quadpeople stay in shape due to their proximity to the QRAC, a gym across the street from Currier. All in all, Quad life is the best life, and those who are lucky enough to be assigned to it should rejoice that the Housing Gods have smiled upon them. Kalyn Saulsberry ’14 (ksaulsberry@college) can’t wait to welcome a new crop of Quadlings on Thursday!
River Dreams You know you want it. By INDY STAFF Housing Day: the day that freshmen everywhere either celebrate vivaciously with blissful ecstasy about being placed in one of their hopeful Houses, or the day that freshman put on a happy face and pretend to enjoy the fact that they are miles away from humanity, class, or athletics. It’s either a fabulous high or a dreadful low. The guaranteed positive is clear: one of the River Houses. The first obvious benefit is that River-Dwellers would actually be close to their classes. Imagine not having to ride a bike, leave twenty minutes early, or sprint to class everyday. It’s called living by the River. The second great factor of living in one of the River Houses is simply that the majority of the students at Harvard live in that area. Of the twelve Houses Harvard offers — well, there’s also Dudley, but we’ll leave that for another day — all but three lie along the Charles River. A student placed in one of these Houses will be The Harvard Independent • 03.14.13
close to an abundance of people, some known and some unknown. One’s friend group is bound to expand. Moreover, with more students, there must be more parties, nightlife, and social scene activity. Good times are to be found at the River. The next positive is clearly the massive benefit of food in the River Houses. For one, these Houses are all close to one another, so the access to a wide variety of dining halls is off the chart. Each House offers terrific dining options and is within a quick walk of its River brethren, making it easy to meet up with friends in other Houses quickly for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Also, the River Houses are considerably closer to society — that is, the Square. From Felipe’s to Noch’s, Al’s to Insomnia, civilization offers a food for all occasions that the Siberia called the Quad does not. One word: history. Other than Mather (which has its own almost historic…thing…Mather Lather), each River House has a long, rich history. The beautiful
structures and setups of the buildings let River-Dwellers experience that good old bougie feel. The Charles is a beautiful place to relax, run by, or take postcard-worthy pictures of, and makes every day seem a little bit better than whatever might be next to the Quad (which is rumored to host some sort of Eliotesque wasteland). Finally, the River Houses are close to public transportation. The River gets a shuttle too — so don’t feel special, Quad. Also, the T and city buses are within a short walking distance, which is that much closer to Boston. In the end, it is clear. If there is a knock on the door, and someone shortly after shouts a River House, you have won. Indy writers of the Charles welcome our new to bathe in the sweet waters of the Charles — wait, no, don’t touch that water.
Adams and its community represent a home away from home. The Adams community is its residents’ biggest support system, guide, and, above all, friend. That is exactly the kind of environment that Sean and Judith Palfrey — the most amazing House Masters ever — promote. The tutors and the upperclassmen become an extensive network of people helping you every step of the way, whether students have questions about future plans or the mouse you may or may not have seen in your room. In either case, the people really make Adams the House it is — friendly, warm, and full of House Spirit. A big draw for Adams, though it is not the only one, is its location. It is the House nearest to the yard, which means you don’t have to change your freshman year habits of running to class at the last minute. It also means that it is centrally situated, close to all of your favorite Harvard Square digs. It also means having the ability of returning to your House for lunch (a full meal, instead of flyby!). Adams is seeped in history. Every nook and cranny of the House has a story, made most evident in the murals that cover the extensive network of tunnels connecting the main Adams building to Randolph. The paintings in the tunnels give a glimpse into the current and past student body at Adams in all its quirky glory. From the Pool — supposedly the sight of plentiful debauchery at one time in Adams’ history — to the FDR Suite in B entryway, there is a story to be told in every corner of the House. Adams also takes pride in its luxurious history, a taste evident in its architecture. From the Gold Room, right as you walk in through the main door, to the woodpaneled library, the marble floors in A and B entryways, to the intricately designed and gilded domes, Adams is the epitome of elegance. It also nurtures art in every form. There is the Pool theater, Bow and Arrow Press, and an Art Studio. Like I have mentioned before, beyond what meets the eye, Adams is really all about its community. The sort of deep bonding within the House is fostered by rich Adams House traditions. Every Thursday is Carpe Noctem, when Adamsians all come together in music, games, performance, or a movie
to celebrate the approaching weekend. Christmas is accompanied by a dinner and the black-tie reading of Winnie the Pooh, followed by caroling in Apthorp House (where the masters live). The common spaces of the House are also transformed during its Winter and Spring Formals, enhancing the sense of pride in the House. Every time an Adams resident walks through its gilded gates, we are usually
Previously Known As: Cabot House was borne from the merge of South and East Houses in 1970, but it would not be called by its current title until 1984. The House is made up of six smaller buildings that served as dormitories for Radcliffe College until the embarrassingly named “Great Experiment” of co-ed integration in 1970. Cabot House’s Latin name (yes, it’s that classy) is Domus Capoceus, which roughly translates to “Big Head House,” indicative of the brilliance and conscious superiority of Cabot residents. That said, Cabot’s motto, Semper cor — Always Heart — gives it more of a Gryffindor vibe.
weary – after a long day in lab, a long night of psets, or a long trip back from home. However, the minute an Adamsian enters the House, we are enveloped by a sense of familiarity. We know that we will run into multiple smiling faces even before we make it to our rooms. Adams is not just a House. Through its rich history, its wonderful staff, and close-knit student body, Adams has become our home.
House Masters and Tutors: The staff of Cabot House is near and dear to its residents. The Co-Masters, Rakesh and Stephanie Khurana, both earned post-baccalaureate degrees at Harvard, and Emily Stokes-Rees, the Resident Dean, gets rave reviews from students for her dedication, as do all of the tutors. The Cabot staff can be found mingling amongst students on the quad when the weather gets nice enough — walking dogs, playing Frisbee, and reveling in the greenery.
Cabot’s best attraction: Cabot Café. Cabot Café hits the perfect middle ground between casual and hipster, with wittily-named, delicious drinks, comfortable furniture, and the occasional too-cool-for-school Quadlings. River-be-damned — it has nothing like the Nutella-Me-Up. Amenities: Cabot might have more amenities than any other House. Among them are Quad Bikes, a dance studio, a dark room, a well-stocked gym, and a plethora of pianos. It also has a beautiful, easy-to-navigate website.
Mascot: Swedish Fish.
Housing: Cabot’s housing options are top notch. About 70% of beds are in suites (occupants have their own bedrooms), with the remaining 30% in singles. The floor bathrooms on singles floors are spacious and generally neat.
Dining: Cabot’s dhall is comfortable, with ceilings just high enough for basketball players to be able to walk safely. The servery is reminiscent of an Olive Garden in absolutely the best way, with friendly dining hall staff and consistently excellent brain break options. Cabot residents can always be found in the dining hall or in adjacent study rooms catching up with friends or hard at work. That said, if Cabot residents tire of the plebian air of the dhall, they can mosey down one of the many Cabot tunnels to
House Theme Song: “Bouncing Around A round the [Spacious] Room” by Phish. Phish. Famous alums: Stockard Channing, Benazir Bhutto, Rivers Cuomo, Soledad O’Brien, Bonnie Raitt, and Mira Sorvino all graced Cabot’s halls during their time at Harvard.
03.14.13 • The Harvard Independent
Though Currier House is not exactly the epitome of a traditional House at Harvard, there is nothing wrong with ingenuity (unless you built Canaday, where idiocy and ingenuity are inextricably linked). And, as hard as you’ll look, you will never find a mouse in the House. In their 2008 Housing Day video, a Currierite proclaimed, “Currier is like Canada … because it’s really far away.” What he actually meant to say was “Currier is like Canada … because it’s spacious yet under populated, so there is no overcrowding, and because it’s peaceful and worth traveling the distance.” Currier is one of the three Houses of the Radcliffe Quadrangle, which to some people automatically — and ridiculously — means hell. Being quaded simply entails better health or a two-minute shuttle ride for which
the prize is serenity and lack of tourists. Currier has a wonderful layout: you don’t have to go outside to get anywhere in the House, including the dining hall. Its central entrances are known for fostering community and the layout of the floor includes singles off of a hallway, which means you’ll definitely be getting to know your neighbors. Currier is famous for its residents’ enthusiasm and seems to embody the typical Harvard student’s personality — awesome and just a bit geeky. Because of the Quad’s separation from the other upperclassman Houses, it’s only natural that Currierites develop a strong sense of community. But now for the best part: Currier has singles for almost every student. “Yes, but so does Mather,” some might say. The difference is that Currier rooms are huge (spacious and beautiful). There are even some in-room kitchens and private bathrooms. The Ten-Man, a senior suite, hosts ten people and grants singles to each one. In terms of rooms and space, it really doesn’t get any better than Currier. Currier’s dining hall is consistently considered to be one of the best on campus. While Cabot and Pfoho share a kitchen, Currier has its own that is very responsive to the wants of the perpetually hungry college student population. When both the food and the housing are amazing, there isn’t much more to ask for. However, Currier has even more perks, ranging from its wonderful facilities to its extremely kind staff. If you do any related activities in the SOCH or just want to relax in the ultramodern atmosphere, getting there will no longer take more than a minute. You even get to enjoy the perks of the Cabot Theater and Cabot Café. What is it that you smell as you walk into Currier? Industrial carpeting? No. Musty fountain water? No — it is the smell of sweet, sweet freedom. Whether you’re excited about having massive rooms or you’re just psyched about getting to eat wonderful food, Currier House – largely underappreciated and undervalued – is definitely a Housing Day win.
Aliases: Dhaus, D-Haus, Moose Manor, Maison des Meeses, etc. Mascot: Henry Dunster Moose, a Moose with his own Facebook page. Architecture: Built in 1930, Dunster House and its signature red dome shine with the resplendence of ten thousand suns. With an expansive, open courtyard facing out on the historic Weeks Footbridge and eleven vertical entryways built of classic Harvardian red brick, Dunster is the architectural model of the Harvard House. And lo! Look upon it! What gleaming white paint! Such stunning library windows! From the dark walnut paneling and Persian carpets of the House library to the equally dark walnut paneling and “candled” chandeliers of the JCR and dining hall, Dunster is beautiful, the face of Harvard on postcards and HuffPo articles everywhere. Although bedrooms run on the small side and sophomores and juniors are generally placed in walk-through doubles or triples, DeWolfe is always an option and seniors are guaranteed a common room. Regardless, Meese tend to congregate in the House’s many
common spaces, from the dining hall to the JCR, the hidden room in the library, the study classrooms, music rooms, kitchen, squash courts, gyms, erg room, TV room, and yoga studio. The Grille has yet to open this year, but the new class of sophomores can make it happen! House Masters and Tutors: Dr. Roger Porter, the IBM Professor of Business and Government, and Mrs. Ann Porter have presided over Dunster House since 2001. They know the House and its students well, and are known for spending much of their time in the dining hall, chatting with students and delivering snacks to late-night studiers. Biweekly Masters’ Open Houses, held in the Porter’s home (just off the dining hall!), are filled with inventive dishes and desserts prepared by the culinary team and are very popular amongst Meese. Tutors are welcoming and invested in creating a great House community. Plus, the amount of babies born to D-Haus this year alone is a great reason to hit up early dinner.
for having the best food on campus (Currier, sit down), Dunster is also open the latest for dinner — until 8 p.m. — in order to accommodate athletes returning from late practices. Dunster students will plop down in the dhall with a laptop on a Sunday for brunch, and will stay, studying and socializing, through the wee hours of the morning. Traditions: As the oldest House on campus, Dunster is heavy with tradition. From the annual Christmas singing of Handel’s Messiah, to the Dunster House Opera, to Beltane (the spring formal held in the blossoming courtyard), the fall petting zoo, and bonfire nights with s’mores, there is quite a bit for the social Dunsterite to do. Dunster has also been famous in recent years for its ratchet Happy Hours. After dying out a little last year, HoCo has resurrected Friday nights as Stein Club. Different name, same five-Moose-deep grind train. Last but not least is the annual Goat Roast, where Dunsterites gather in the courtyard to summon in the spring with a dead goat, skinned and slow-roasted over an open fire until tender for the evening’s outdoor feast. We also have a bouncy castle.
DUNSTER PHOTOS BY MARIA BARRAGAN-SANTANA
The Harvard Independent • 03.14.13
Dining: Any true Moose will tell you that the best part of Dunster is our beautiful dining hall, its friendly staff, and the community it creates. Known
Eliot Famous alums and facts
Named after a former president of Harvard University, Eliot is one of the seven original Houses from 1931. Before Harvard established the random lottery assignment for rising sophomores, Eliot House had a notorious reputation for being elite and snobby, embracing the values of aristocracy more than other Houses of Harvard (which is saying a lot). Adding to this image, Eliot was one of the most well-endowed Houses before Harvard banned alumni donations to individual Houses instead of the general college.
A descendant of Prophet Muhammad, The Unabomber, Leonard Bernstein, and Benazir Bhutto are some of the famous alumni of Eliot. Eliot’s famous bell tower has been featured in Legally Blonde, The Social Network, and Love Story.
The awesome mastodon.
On 101 Dunster Street, Eliot is situated next to the Charles River, offering gorgeous views from many of the rooms. Furthermore, athletes of Eliot have sung praises about the relatively short distance to the athletic facilities. A beautiful courtyard and patio are added bonuses.
All news announcements during meals end with “Floreat Domus de Eliot.” Eliot hosts the annual Date Auction. Eliot residents have hosted pants-less dinners to promote House spirit. The ghost of Charles Eliot is rumored to frequent the halls…
Quote from a Freshman
“I almost got asphyxiated when a fire broke out in the Cockpit.”
House Theme Song
“Rich Girl” by Gwen Stefani.
A prime hotspot on Friday and Saturday nights, Eliot boasts party suites that include Ground Zero, the Octagon, and the infamous Cockpit. Having a historical tradition of housing the wealthy and social elite of Harvard, the classiness can be seen everywhere, from its dining hall to the abundant pianos. Eliot is also the only House with a toast. There’s something for everyone: The Inferno (the grille), a woodshop area, and even a movie theatre. The Eliot Fête — one of the most exclusive spring formals — is known for its exuberant spirit and swing music.
Photo by Maria Barragan-Santana
he name Kirkland may be one of the most infamous names on the lips of freshmen as Housing Day draws near. And why shouldn’t it be? The House is (in)famous for its close-knit community, scandalous traditions, and convenient location. Let’s not beat around the bush. Yes, we’re talking about Incestfest. How could we not? Freshmen, we know you were all hammering to get into this party last semester. And upperclassmen were just happy they had a passable excuse for one night to hook up with anything that moves. Sweaty, crowded, and dark, Incestfest has all the makings for both a sketchy movie action scene and a great Harvard party. But for the romantics out there, one of the greatest allures of Kirkland House is their Secret Santa tradition. For those familiar with sorority procedure, it’s like BigLittle week on every single performanceenhancing drug known to man. Kirkland students go above and beyond as Secret Santas to make their recipient happier than Lance Armstrong on performanceenhancing drugs (too soon?). This Christmas tradition is one of the best ways Kirkland draws its students together, allowing them a chance to bond and to do good for one another. Kirkland is one of the smaller Houses, and everything about it seems to reflect that. The dining hall is perfectly quaint, with small round tables interspersed among the 6 harvardindependent.com
Cockroaches. Everywhere. The great distance to the Yard is quite formidable. While juniors and seniors have excellent housing situations, sophomores are known to get the short end of the stick with less-than-desirable rooms and suites. Many non-Eliot students, especially athletes, frequent and take up space in the dining hall. Did I mention cockroaches? long rectangular dining hall tables most students are accustomed to. The staff is extremely friendly and cheerful, and the food is absolutely amazing. Maybe it’s just those “Annenberg taste buds” that makes Kirkland grub seem godlike, but rarely has a poor meal been eaten in Kirkland’s dhall. You’ll need a Kirkland resident to swipe you in, but a visit to their JCR is worth it. With dark wood panels and rich furnishings, it’s as if you’ve been transported to a different time. For those who appreciate the old-timey feel Harvard intends to convey with its preservation of older buildings, you should pray to the River Gods that you get Kirkland. It’s an architectural knockout, and the JCR and Kirkland Library are both amazing places to study — that they’re only open to Kirkland students only makes them all the more enticing. Now, unfortunately, it’s time to come to the cons of Kirkland. The rooming and housing situation has consistently been one of Kirkland’s drawbacks. Rooms are relatively small, singles are rare, and the House isn’t in the best condition. DeWolfe has its perks, but the apartment-style housing is quite far from Kirkland House proper. Whether the cons are worth the pros is up to you. Or, rather, it’s up to the Housing Gods. But regardless, if you’re lucky enough to be a Kirkland kid, there’s much to be envious of.
Photo by Maria Barragan-Santana
03.14.13 • The Harvard Independent
Special “We invite you to come to tea on Thursdays at five – you’ll love it. We’ll see you soon,” Co-Master Dorothy Austen charmed to the camera as resident genius, Professor Noam Elkies, mesmerized quietly on the piano during the introduction to “Get Lowell,” Lowell’s Housing Day video for 2013. There’s a reason Lowell’s hit has more 10,000 views — it is a mighty fine introduction to the House, indeed. As a mostperfectly placed neo-Gregorian river House, Lowell is well-loved by everyone who calls it home. Complacent in its rather bourgeois history and culture, Lowell has unassuming House pride: you will not find pirate ship sail-sized Lowell banners or roaring, raucous sports fans to welcome you on housing day. Instead, a more proper Lowellian will find himself or herself savoring the baked Brie in the luxurious Masters’ residence before dinner. Other longstanding Lowell traditions
include the annual May Day Waltz and recital of the 1812 Overture. Housemasters Diana Eck and Dorothy Austen will also enthusiastically remind the House of the winter Yule Ball and the most-extravagant spring Bacchanalia. Indeed, we Lowellians love and appreciate the finer aspects of Harvard life. However, residents with suites facing either of the two courtyards will readily admit to the slamming shut of windows promptly at 1 p.m. on Sundays at the start of the reliably off-key and tone-deaf Klappermeisterlead bell ringing ceremony, which is quite possibly the least pleasant thirty minutes of each week. But that’s not all Lowellians will tell you they dislike about their House. Like its eleven brethren, this House has its own share of drawbacks. Each House loves to brag about its basement amenities, but they will not actively advertise that the requisite computer lab, squash
Photo by Travis Hallett
Leverett History: Leverett may be named after John Leverett, president of the College in the early 1700s, but the name encompasses more than history. A “leveret” is a young hare in its first year. Freshman, this could be you. McKinlock — or, colloquially, Old Lev — was one of the original seven River Houses to be built under the sight of President Lowell, and on the banks of the River Charles it has stayed. In the 1960s, some people made the unfortunate aesthetic choice to build the Towers, but fear not: at least they’re not as ugly as Mather. And with stunning views and sweet suites, the Towers are an integral part of Lev’s history. Mascot: The bunny. The corgi. The beard. House Masters and Tutors: Aforementioned beard belongs to our esteemed House Master, Howard Georgi (who is reputed to have been working on a math problem for the last two years), who with his wife Ann head up a wonderful group of tutors and staff. The Georgi’s monkeybread is the best thing to have ever happened to dough, butter, and sugar (so you know it has to be good). Resident Dean Lauren Brandt, Building Manager Paul Hegarty, and every member of the tutors and dining hall staff make Lev infinitely more than a House with their humor, familiarity, and their constant efforts to get to know every Leverite. The Harvard Independent • 03.14.13
courts, dance studio, rock-climbing wall, kitchen, and grille — like those of Lowell House — are dark, dank, dimly lit, and decrepit. Though we seem to have the luxury of wellcontrolled cockroach colonies, our newest subterranean oddity comes in the form of an oozing and seeping liquid that coats the basement floor unexpectedly and without warning, sometimes requiring a bit of hopscotch on the way to the laundry room. Thankfully, though, such health hazards rarely, if ever, rise to the appointments on the floors above. Lowell’s housing can be best described, for better or worse, as cramped. One can expect tiny walk-throughs for all but senior
Lowell year, at which point we do have the luxury of senior singles – not just a bedroom to oneself but a common room and bathroom. As venerable wordsmith and House Administrator Beth Terry likes to put it, “Our close quarters may seem like a burden when you are accustomed to the vast salons of the Freshman Yard, but I assure you it is a necessary exercise. Our suites may seem antiquated to the untrained eye, but to the initiate they are emblematic of membership in an exclusive society. We want to assimilate you into the Grand Scheme of Lowell Love. You may gaze at the walls and wonder, wait, what color IS that? And I will tell you that it reflects a secret alchemy between gray and beige never to be revealed (and never mixed the same twice). You may curse the torturous permanence of the radiators, doors, and windows because they leave no space for your bed yet I will nod sagely and reassure you that it will lead you towards a blissful and simplified state of feng shui. You may shudder every time you traipse through your roommate’s piles in order to make it to the shower but I promise you, it will knock the hubris right out of your heart so as to appreciate more deeply your eventual senior housing…” But even if these words of encouragement are not enough to qualm the immediate dissatisfaction upon stepping foot into your suite next fall, remember the tremendously amazing community of which you are a part, and slam the limited-access back gate a little harder in the faces of the Winthrop riff-raff as they try to take part.
Photos by Maria Barragan-Santana
Housing: Lev is famous for a variety of room choices, but with the renovations underway, the House promises to have more singles, much to the woe of no one ever. Tower suites and singles are spacious, clean, and boast views of the Charles, Allston, Cambridge, and the Boston skyline. The rooming lottery guarantees more choice in terms of rooming than in other Houses, and many sophomores will have the choice of high-quality, kitchen-equipped Swing Space housing for the upcoming year.
nights, and despite the dearth of bagels, Leverites can still be found working and socializing in the midst of pset induced anguish. House Theme Song: “I Just Got Lev,” Leverett HoCo (see Lev’s 2011 Housing Day video). Famous alums: Jeremy Lin. ‘Nuff said.
Dining: Lev isn’t particularly famous for its common spaces — something the renovation plans to change — but the dining hall is the heart of the House. Physics Night brings downtrodden students from across campus to Lev’s dhall on Wednesday harvardindependent.com
MATHER At first glance, Mather may seem like an eyesore, but this concrete paradise quickly becomes home. Starting with the basics — sometimes Matherites forget that not everyone at Harvard gets a single. There are no bad options in the housing lottery, just the difference between a good view and a better view. Those who choose the lowrise get an enormous common room to host fun festivities in, and the giant singles of the tower are almost as big as a Dunster walkthrough double. Many tower residents choose to upgrade to Queen-sized beds or push two twins together because we simply have too much space. Our food, which comes from a kitchen shared with Dunster, ranks highest among students in taste tests. The dining hall itself is gorgeous, with Quincy’s fantastic floor-to-ceiling windows — only better — with a view of the Charles River. We’re a welcoming, inclusive bunch with no dining restrictions, so you’ll always find a seat here. The dining hall is also one of our favorite places to study, and due to its popularity among Matherites, there will always be a friendly face to chat with as you chug through a particularly brutal pset. Take in a sunset or watch a game of pick-up basketball across the street sometime — we guarantee you’ll find it a much better alternative to
from the spacious singles with homey hardwood pfloors and the 200 square pfoot senior singles to the pfenomenal House community, if you get placed in Pfoho on Thursday, you should know you’ve won the housing lottery. We have the privilege of prancing up the stairs of our blockmates’ duplexes and basking under the skylights after lounging in their expansive common room. And you know you’re a true resident if you have acquired the distinguished Pfoho dialect of putting a “pf” in pfront of every word that would normally start with an “f.” A luxurious House overlooking the quad lawn (and more importantly, the quad shuttle station), these hallowed halls simply cannot be beat. Even among the quad Houses, Pfoho stands out due to its double dining hall, which offers a comfortable and spacious place to eat on the lower level (once again, with a convenient view of the shuttle stop). There are cozy nooks on the second level pfor board games and late-night study sessions with other pfriends. Even though one may be wary of Pfoho due to its distance
pfrom eateries in the Square, pfear not: the Quad Grill is always stocked with mozz sticks, milkshakes, burgers, and quesadillas to provide comfort pfor an all-nighter or a snack on the weekends over a game of pool in the recentlyrenovated Holmes Junior Common Room. An even better aspect of the dining hall is that Pfohomies can access it pfrom their rooms without having to go outdoors or even change out of their pfuzzy, polar bear printed pajamas pfor breakfast (which was much appreciated during both Hurricane Sandy and winter storm Nemo). Beyond the dining hall, students are guaranteed singles pfrom the pfateful day when they are lucky enough to receive their acceptance letters pfrom Pfoho until the day they receive their diplomas. But despite the numerous options pfor solitude and quiet, Pfoho is all about building a community. At the beginning of the pfall semester, Pfoho throws its pfamous 90s dance, where students break out overalls, scrunchies, and slap bracelets to relive the days of the Backstreet Boys. Also, Pfoho offers weekly Pfoho Pfridays at 5 p.m., which are, according to the
Lamont. If you need a quieter place, run down to our amazing library with its cool spiral staircase (also made of concrete) and pass through the Three Columns Gallery, where new art is featured monthly. Drop by the adjacent Media and Meditation Rooms. Everything in Mather is connected by the tunnel system, so during the bitter cold or freak storms like Nemo and Sandy, you can make the trip from your room to the dining hall to the gym — or anywhere else in Mather — without stepping foot outside. For all other needs, we have shuttles that run every ten minutes to wherever you need to be. When the weather clears up, make sure to lie out in our courtyard or take a spin on the hammock, which can seat an astonishing number of people. If you want to picnic by the river, you’re in luck, since the Charles is less than a minute away. If you want food for your picnic, Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s are both within walking distance. But it’s the Matherites that truly make Mather a home. From our resident dogs Klaus and Oso, an awesome group of resident tutors, a peppy dining hall staff, to your future housemates, we welcome the new Matherites of 2016!
pflyer, “Sometimes like an open house. Sometimes like a stein club. Always a great place to start your weekend.” This year, during the week of Valentine’s Day, HoCo members wrote the name of each resident on a paper heart and hung these hearts in the dining hall where their pfriends could attach warm pfuzzies to the heart.
Even though Pfoho will be sad to say goodbye to the wonderful Christakises this year, the Pfoho community eagerly awaits to learn who their new House Masters will be. Those who are lucky enough to pass under the arch of Pforzheimer House will not be disappointed. And the walk really isn’t that pfar.
Photos by Maria Barragan-Santana
03.14.13 • The Harvard Independent
uincy House is geographically at the center of the River House community. It is optimally situated from the yard, which means a smaller walk to classes. It is also centrally located between the River East and the River West Houses. This means that no matter where your friends end up, they will only be a short walk away (with the exception of the quad). Quincy is especially unique in its neighborhood, because it offers all of the amenities of the more recently constructed Houses while still being centrally situated. New Quincy offers some of the best rooms on campus — its split-level structure allows for great spaces to socialize while keeping your own room clean and safe from any potential havoc that the said socializing could wreak. Quincy also promises brand new housing as its renovations conclude: the plans show potential to foster community and add to the excellent rooming choices within the House. The “Qube,” or the Quincy library, also makes for a distinct architectural feature of the House. The glass walls of the dining hall and the common spaces render them sumptuously lit. The Dhall is at the heart of the House community, and is populated with familiar faces — and some interesting murals — well into the wee-hours of the night. The Quincy Grille is probably one of the best
things about Quincy. W h e n e v e r y o u a re craving a late night snack that isn’t brain break food, what’s better than something fried and full of things that are kind of bad for you, but taste AMAZING? Having the Grille right in your House means no tired walk back home in the middle of that allnighter or after that glorious mozzarella stick-filled end to a Friday night. But what really makes Quincy a great House is the House spirit, fostered with great care by House Masters Lee and Deborah Gehrke. From teas at the House Masters’ residence in the New Quincy Penthouse to Quincy Assassins, the House is constantly abuzz with events that will make you feel at home, warm as you enter through the gates of its courtyard (the sight of revelry and water slides in the Spring), even when
History: Winthrop is drenched in American history. The House is named for John Winthrop, the president of Harvard during the years leading up to the American Revolution and the first American astronomer. Winthrop’s two halls, Gore and Standish, were originally freshman halls, but under President Lowell’s command, the two were combined to form Winthrop House. Winthrop was one of the original seven houses constructed to combat the elitism of the Gold Coast and remains — despite its beautiful courtyards and athletic dominance — humble to this day. Mascot: The King of Beasts.
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Housing: Winthrop’s rooming is in the traditional old Harvard style, complete with plaster moldings and wood floors. Winthrop does not have walkthroughs (take that, Dunster). Most of the rooms are suites with a common room and bathroom, and while there may not be as many singles as some of the other Houses, Winthrop’s gorgeous courtyards guarantee for lots of room — inside and out — to study, socialize, and relax. House Masters and Tutors: House Masters Ronald S. Sullivan Jr. and Stephanie Robinson (and their two adorable children, Trey and Chase), keep the House a home. Resident Dean Gregg Peeples has been looking over Harvard students for years as a proctor and Freshman Assistant Dean before moving to Winthrop. Tutors are an integral part of the House community, as are their adorable corgis.
Dining: The Winthrop dining hall is built
snow drapes the lush greens. The Penguin is at the heart of it all and will become inextricably linked to your House identity. So here’s hoping that it comes knocking on your door come Housing Day. If not, Quincy is a welcoming House with no restrictions in the Dhall, and the courtyard serves as a shortcut between Houses. So really, it’s okay — you can always vicariously live in the best House ever when you study into the night in our lively dining hall or stumble into Quincy Grille before calling it a night!
for socializing, with long dining room tables and smaller nooks off the main room encouraging long hours spent with friends and classmates. During the winter holidays, students and dining hall staff help to Deck the Dhall in ornaments and holiday cheer. Yes, the dhall may be a bit subterranean, but do people really want to look out at Lowellians? Amenities: Winthrop’s gym — equipped with a full set of free-weights, ergs, treadmills, and stationary bikes — keeps its IM champions in shape. C Entryway hosts a stunning library that recalls a much less intimidating Loker Reading Room. Winthrop residents consistently populate the beautiful common rooms with large windows, designed so as to kindle jealousy in fellow River dwellers as they look into the warm, homey heart of the Winthrop community. House Theme Song: “We Are the [IM] Champions” by Queen. Famous alums: Generations of Kennedys have lived in Winthrop, prompting comparisons of this fine River House to Hyannis Port. harvardindependent.com
Countdown: A Selection of Housing Day Videos Or, no one stood a chance after Lowell. By TERILYN CHEN FIRST PLACE: Lowell, “Get Lowell”
SECOND PLACE: Eliot, “Eliot Shop”
Confession: The first time I saw this video, I immediately followed up with three more viewings. Two days after the video was released, I had watched it ten times. Based on the Lil’ Jon and the East Side Boyz song “Get Low,” “Get Lowell” is not only hilarious and creative but well-shot and nicely edited. The zooming and panning used to showcase the House itself is epic, as is the contrast between the prim tea invitation and the raunchy dancing. Several small details also help to cement this video in its number 1 spot: the sass with which one woman asks “Can I come to your Friday stein?” during the video is amazing, and basically everything Noam Elkies does in this is perfect. Also, can we just discuss how great the housemasters’ confused, awkward expressions are at the end? This video makes me want to “get Lowell”!
I had unfairly high expectations for a video based on Macklemore & Ryan Lewis’s “Thrift Shop.” Maybe that’s why I couldn’t help but notice that the audio and video are sometimes out-of-sync, the singing is, frankly, kind of annoying, and the video is a tad blurry. Still, what “Eliot Shop” lacks in technical quality, it more than makes up for in creative lyrics and attitude! With gems like “They be like ‘ohhh Mather housing’s hella tight,’ I’m like ‘Yo — that’s 15 minutes for a shuttle,’” and “Did you ever notice that smell in Winthrop dining hall?,” a clever reference to Winthrop’s 2005 dining hall draining odor crisis, this video’s lyrics are spot-on and funny as hell. The adorable individual shout-outs to Eliot Dining Hall staff members and “EZ$”’s rainbow boots are just the cherry on top of a great video.
THIRD PLACE: Mather, “Matherfall”
Honorable Mention: Quincy, “Epiq Meal Time”
Even though I personally feel a little ambivalent about it, I feel obligated to put “Matherfall” near the top of the list. The plot is creative, House Master Christie McDonald’s panicked “He’s planning on taking all of them to the Quad. All of them!” is funny, and the fight scenes are well-shot. But while the video was a good spoof of “Skyfall,” it doesn’t lend itself to re-watching and is a little confusing. Mather House pride is also not as emphasized as it could be. Still, Mather really offered some great drama, and the amount of effort that was put into this video is evident.
Quincy’s video stands out from all the rest in that it makes me wish I were helping to make the video rather than watch it, which is both good and bad. It makes me want to be a part of the Quincy community, which is great, but obviously, being dull to watch prevents it from being one of the winners. Both the food penguin and mini Quincy House seem like they were a lot of fun to make. Also, details like one Quincy student deadpanning “I like dead vegetables” and another being called from the gym to carry the heavy tray of steaks were funny. Watching the screaming students dressed up as penguins on screen makes me want to join the waddle. And who wouldn’t appreciate the nice reference to Quincy’s video from last year, “Quinception”? I see what you did there.
Other: Kirkland, “Kirkland Housing Day Video 2013” This would have been a lot better if people actually knew what Brad Pitt’s Chanel No. 5 video was. This spoof of the ridiculously over-the-top, dramatic commercial is equally ridiculous and over-the-top, featuring House Master Tom Conley spewing nonsense like “People become dogs, and I walk those dogs” in front of a blank wall. Though it’s definitely not “Get Lowell,” I’ve found myself chuckling at the mock-pretentiousness of it all several times, and I admire Conley for his ability to expertly deliver such absurdity. Still, the lack of students in the video is disappointing, since Housing Day is a tradition celebrating the arrival of new students to the Houses. And come on, Kirkland, you could have given the video a better name than “Kirkland Housing Day Video 2013”!
Winthrop, “Game of Throp [Teaser Trailer]” Winthrop has only released a teaser so far, but judging from this video, which is just 39 seconds of people making dramatic faces, I’m not sure I want to see the full-length product. That mysterious Quadling with the hood definitely has some potential though.
Adams, “Gold Digger” I have no patience for this video. The story of a freshman girl who takes advantage of male Adams house residents to get into “Adams House... the Gold Coast,” is tired and sexist. Plus, the lyrics simply can’t compare to those of “Get Lowell” or “Eliot Shop,” and the singing is annoyingly off-pitch. Next!
Pforzheimer, “Pho Ho” “Pho Ho,” Pforzheimer’s rendition of The Lumineers’ “Ho Hey” is basically a home video, in that the quality is bad, the editing is elementary, but its overall vibe is heartwarming and genuine. The song selection is a little questionable though — sometimes it sounds like the singers are saying “You’re my ho.”
Terilyn Chen ’16 (terilynchen@college) can’t wait to star in her House’s video next year.
03.14.13 • The Harvard Independent
What Should Actually Happen in House Renewal
A totally biased list of unhelpful complaints. By MEGHAN BROOKS
House renewal is the silent specter looming over Housing Day 2013. While freshmen sorted into Quincy House can look forward to moving into brand-new Old Quincy without the threat of a walk-through double, other freshmen will have to live with the consequences of the University’s ambitious renovation plans. Swing housing is in the futures of the would-be residents of McKinlock (the brick part of Leverett) and Dunster, which will be renewed in 2014 and 2015, respectively. Citing the crumbling interiors of the Neo-Georgian houses along the river, administrators plan to have each House methodically gutted and stripped of its walk-through bedrooms and vertical entryways in favor of more singles, social spaces, spacious floor plans, living room furniture, and often, common bathrooms. Regardless of individual opinions on the new floor plans, anyone who lives in a River House probably has a pretty good idea of what their House needs in terms of renewal. So do I. Without further ado, here is my personal, unscientific, and utterly biased assessment of each Neo-Georgian House’s renovation needs. Houses are ranked in order from least to most in need of renewal. It should be noted that all of the bedrooms in all the Houses need thorough paint jobs; honestly, though, that’s the least of their worries….
Old Quincy is in the midst of a total re-haul; so, obviously, my issues are with the rest of it. The mural in the dining hall needs to go. Although this Constantino Nivola “masterpiece” was quite hip and whatnot when installed in 1959, it is hopelessly dated, less art than it is art history. With the Nivola gone, the Quincy dining might start looking more like the bright, airy, and modern space it is supposed to be. Also, the balconies of New Quincy are in need of a good pressure washing; they’re looking a bit green.
Eliot’s decent housing options for juniors and seniors makes it a lower priority for renewal than some of the more crowded river Houses, though its walk-through doubles will undoubtedly be eliminated when its turn comes. That said, it’s in serious need of connecting tunnels underground, there’s no heat in the bathrooms off the dining hall, and the basement under A-C entryways has been emitting a sewage-y odor. However, ample basement social space and recently replaced showers mean the House can go another fifteen years without an update.
Yes, we all know that Adams has excellent housing; rooms tend to be larger and residents are no strangers to common rooms even in sophomore year. Despite its posh pretenses, there is something about Adams that might lead Jane Austen to conclude that it belongs to a once-wealthy family of…declining fortunes. Frankly, the House is kind of grungy. I don’t know if it’s the dark wood furniture or the sense that no one has dusted in a few decades, but the basement common spaces need to be updated (without ridding the House of its signature murals), and suite bathrooms need replacing. Also, although the spiral staircases of Randolph are charming, they are utter death traps, especially in heels.
Lev Towers are ugly, but with gorgeous views and ample living space they are best left as afterthoughts in House renewal. McKinlock, on the other hand, is in need of work. With itty-bitty windows that occasionally face brick walls, terrible temperature control, and unusually narrow bedrooms, and no guaranteed n+1 senior housing, living in McKinlock can be a bit of a drag. The always-overcrowded dining hall is a source of constant frustration, and for some reason, there are always fruit flies in the bathroom by the foosball table. Luckily, McKinlock is up next for renovations. The addition of a “light court” in the alleyway between the dining hall and the rest of the building should help alleviate crowding, and the addition of a tunnel enabling students to cross from one end of McKinlock the other will be helpful in the winter.
Lowell’s gorgeous exterior belies small rooms (tiny, in the case of sophomore walk-through doubles), and seniors living without common rooms. Lately, strange puddles have been appearing in the basement corridors that some Lowellians attribute to leaking sewage. Hearsay? I don’t know. Moreover, as a Dorm Crew Captain, I can personally attest that Lowell has a cockroach problem. Although the roaches disappear a few weeks into the school year,
The Harvard Independent • 03.14.13
after a summer of unused pipes they infest shower drains. Every river House may have cockroaches, but as a Dorm Crew Captain I can attest that the only place I have found more than ten in a single room is Lowell. House renewal here should focus on deepening the water traps in their pipes and installing drain covers with smaller openings. Ample social space and a well-used JCR keep Lowell from the bottom of the list.
Kirkland is undeniably the plainest of the Neo-Georgian Houses, with an unassuming exterior, pleasant but underwhelming dining hall, and under-landscaped courtyard. This, combined with walkthroughs, a lack of n+1 housing, rooms in a state of disrepair, and a dearth of common spaces, makes for a crowded and architecturally boring House. Additionally, for sophomores living in DeWolfe the trek to the dining hall is a long one. Sprucing up the dining hall and adding more above ground common spaces along with creating new room layouts should go a long way in making the House more habitable. Hicks House — Kirkland’s library — is a gem, however, and should remain untouched.
Winthrop’s housing is fairly depressing. Bunk beds in narrow rooms, absolutely no guarantee of n+1 senior housing, and the possibility of n-1 junior housing makes the space-loving student’s prospects in Winthrop glum indeed. When House renewal comes calling, Winthrop should be grateful. This proud House is in need of tunnels connecting Gore and Standish, better temperature regulation — especially in the basement — bathroom updates (the bathrooms with tubs are particularly gnarly), and more common spaces.
Oh Dunster. While our library and dining hall are absolutely unparalleled in their old Harvard elegance and we actually do have a decent gym and grille, the House is nevertheless lacking in social space, with the fully connected and accessible basement woefully underutilized. I will actually argue that Dunster’s housing is not the worst on campus. Sophomores are more or less guaranteed n housing (though it’s also guaranteed that it will be a walk-through), but then, so are juniors. Seniors are also guaranteed n+1 housing, though few Dunster common rooms are actually big enough to party in. Dunster’s biggest problem, however, is that its age really shows. Peeling banisters, doors that look like scratching posts for cats, narrow hallways, windows facing brick walls, and some seriously grungy bathrooms make Dunster first on the list for a full House renewal. I am actually glad to graduate before renewal begins, as I have an attachment to the old House despite its flaws. Speaking impartially, however, this thing needs a reboot.
Meghan Brooks ’14 (meghanbrooks@college) would like to note that each of these Houses actually constitutes excellent college housing. All complaining is relative.
With housing day approaching, I look forward, not backward. I do so not because the past memories are not worthwhile and not because I am fearful of regret. Rather, I look forward because I see hope in a defined community: blocking and linking groups of faces both known and unknown will unite, social scenes will develop, and school will become more of a home as it also grows as a school. And I am excited, albeit slightly fearful, of the future and its promises. I refuse to watch any Housing Day videos. I try to avoid disappointment, so it doesn’t seem worth getting all worked up over one House just to be randomly placed in another. I couldn’t bear the heartbreak! As Housing Day draws near, I have become oddly spirited. It’s encouraging to see so much House pride and university unity at the same time — a rare phenomenon here at Harvard. It lets us realize how far we’ve already come, but it also represents all that’s in store for us in the years ahead. Freshman year will forever be nestled in my mind as a glowy, fuzzy, montage of laughs and dessert foods in my proctors’ suite. Tutors just won’t be the same. Amazed. Intimidated. Overwhelmed. Grateful. This was my college cycle — or at least the roller coaster part of it. I learned I can’t do all the cool-sounding activities, and that’s okay. Once this sunk in, I was able to find the key to an otherwise unyielding door. While my thoughts darted about on their own accord during the winter break, I realized that even in hair-tearing times, I’m glad to have the opportunity to study here. I feel nothing.
Photos by Maria Barragan-Santana
Fall 2012 IM Standings: 1) Dudley (577.17) 2) Winthrop (548.25) 3) Kirkland (487.75) 4) Leverett (416.75) 5) Cabot (368) 6) Lowell (303.5) 7) Dunster (297.58)
8) Adams (295.35) 9) Mather (270.93) 10) Eliot (267.58) 11) Pforzheimer (206.35) 12) Quincy (185.01) 13) Currier (116.6) 03.14.13 • The Harvard Independent