What makes a House a home

Mascots. Music videos. Memories that last a lifetime.

Housing Day season is once again upon us, and residents of Harvard’s 12 undergraduate Houses are gearing up for Thursday when first-year students will find out their new homes. The day is a showcase of the College’s community and creativity. But what gives each House its sense of self? The Gazette asked House Committee (HoCo) co-chairs what makes their homes such sources of pride.

Adams House

Lucy Liu ’26 and Tate Underwood ’25, HoCo chairs

Lily Liu (left) and Tate Underwood share a moment in the Randolph Courtyard, one of their favorite locations at Adams House.

Stephanie Mitchell/Harvard Staff Photographer

Adams House is full of history, from the Franklin D. Roosevelt Memorial Suite (made to look just as it did more than 100 years ago) to the impressive Gold Room (which debuted in the 1930s) that greets residents and visitors as soon as they walk in. But not everything great about Adams is tied to its past. Newly renovated Randolph Hall features sleek, well-lit gathering spaces just a few steps away from the art-filled Coolidge Room. Some of Adams’ traditions, such as the annual Winter Feast and its postprandial carols, are timeless. Others — like the Drag Night that takes place each October — are newer (founded in 1980), but no less central to life in Adams.

Cabot House

Gabe LeBlanc ’25 and Chris Hidalgo ’25, HoCo chairs
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Chris Hidalgo (left) and Gabe LeBlanc tour Cabot Tunnels in the section between Briggs Hall and Barnard Hall.

Kris Snibbe/Harvard Staff Photographer

One of the three Houses in the beautiful Radcliffe Quadrangle, Cabot is home to an extensive tunnel system that runs underneath the Quad Lawn and connects most of its residential buildings. Tucked into one corner of these tunnels is Cabot Café (CabCaf), a beloved student-run business that serves tea, lattes, and pastries several days a week. Other much-celebrated facets of Cabot life include the Third Space Art Studio, which supports all kinds of art-making from painting to pottery, and Cabot Theater, which stages a student-run musical every year.

Currier House

Necati Unsal ’26 and Sam Vitale ’25, HoCo chairs
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Necati Unsal (left) and Sam Vitale stand within the fountain and greenery in the middle of the Currier House dining hall.

Photo by Dylan Goodman

The Quad’s Currier House is known for its lovely dining hall, which is centered around a plant-lined fountain, its giant common room, and its legendary security guard, Bill Oliviero. Currier’s reputation as particularly extroverted comes not only from the Ten-Man suite and its social dining hall, but also weekly Food Drops, in which HoCos treat Currier-ites (and their guests) to food from a local restaurant in the dining hall for much-needed study breaks. Also, fun fact: Currier is the only House to be named after a woman, Radcliffe College’s Audrey Bruce Currier ’56.

Dunster House

Conner Huey ’25 and Paz Meyers ’25, HoCo chairs
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Conner Huey (left) and Paz Meyers celebrate one of their favorite spaces, the Dunster House dining hall.

Photo by Dylan Goodman

Dunster’s dining hall is especially gorgeous — decked out with chandeliers, paintings, and dark-wood walls. It’s also open later (8:30 p.m.) than any other dining hall on campus. Equally pretty is Dunster’s library, which hosts not just study sessions but occasional concerts. One of Dunster’s quirkier traditions is its annual Goat Roast, which used to feature an actual goat but has since evolved into an outdoor banquet, paired with a petting zoo and a comedy roast led by the faculty dean.

Eliot House

Felix Chen ’25 and Helen Scarborough ’25, HoCo chairs
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Helen Scarborough (left) and Felix Chen speak about the Eliot House dining hall.

Kris Snibbe/Harvard Staff Photographer

Eliot House has a deep social calendar, with the most famous event being Fête, an annual spring formal featuring live music and dancing in the House’s majestic courtyard. Another highlight is the fall holiday dinner, where residents play music, recite poetry, and give speeches. Eliot is notable for its “record room” with a large collection of vinyl — and a restored record player — and an underground tunnel with a movie theater. HoCo chairs say Eliot’s pipes have excellent water pressure and encourage anyone to come to Eliot and wash their hands.

Kirkland House

Giselle Chiprez ’25 and Nena King ’25, HoCo chairs
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Giselle Chiprez (left) and Nena King in front of a trophy case in the Kirkland House Junior Common Room.

Jon Chase/Harvard Staff Photographer

Kirkland’s best-known tradition might be its newest. The weekly Choosening brings Kirkland residents to the dining hall to settle on a “theme” for the week — a process supervised by the Choosening Elders. For the rest of the week, foods, activities, and gift-giving gatherings are organized around this theme. Life in Kirkland features numerous other events, including the Build-a-Boar workshop in the fall (exactly what it sounds like), a semester-long Beer Seminar that deals with the history and art of brewing beer, and a House-wide Secret Santa. And this isn’t any old Secret Santa. In some cases, Santas have even arranged to fly in the gift recipient’s family members as their present. Clearly, community is one of Kirkland’s biggest strengths.


Leverett House

Carly Chen ’26 and Hayden Graham ‘26, HoCo chairs
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Carly Chen (left) and Hayden Graham favor the McKinlock Hall courtyard at Leverett House.

Stephanie Mitchell/Harvard Staff Photographer

Leverett’s mascot is a bunny because the House name comes from leveret, which means “young hare” in French. Leverett’s courtyard is typically teeming with them. The House calendar also teems with events, which range from community nights (where delicious monkey bread is usually served) to the newly inaugurated Lev Love Feast, with treats like bread bowls filled with soup and a chocolate fountain. Leverett is the biggest House, so there’s no shortage of friends to be made.

Lowell House

Sofia Giannuzzi ’25 and Linh Vu ’25, HoCo chairs
Sofia Giannuzzi (left) and Linh Vu ring a large bell in the Lowell House bell to

Sofia Giannuzzi (left) and Linh Vu ring a large bell in the Lowell House bell tower as part of a Sunday House tradition.

Jon Chase/Harvard Staff Photographer

Lowell boasts a dazzling, spacious courtyard, overseen by its celebrated bell tower and a yellow-walled dining hall. But Lowell’s underground is just as impressive, with a squash/basketball court, screening room, foosball tables, and party space. Lowellians look forward to the fluorescent-filled Glowell dance party in the fall and weekly teas hosted by the House faculty deans.

Mather House

Thor Reimann ’25 and Anna Dean ’25, HoCo chairs
Mather House HoCos Anna Dean and Thor Reimann.

Thor Reimann (left) and Anna Dean celebrate the tower of Mather House, which boasts views of the Boston skyline and the Charles River.

Jon Chase/Harvard Staff Photographer

Known colloquially as the “concrete jungle,” Mather’s distinct architecture is a hallmark of its stunning, high-ceilinged library as well as its intimate dining hall. The House is best known for its singles, a guarantee for all students. For those seeking peace of mind, Mather’s Tranquility Room is a space for quiet meditation and reflection. But for those in search of a thrill, something like the Mather Lather — an annual party in which soapy foam is blasted into the dining hall areas — may hold more appeal.

Pforzheimer (Pfoho) House

Derek Hu ’25 and Adrian Munoz Krans ’25, HoCo chairs
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Adrian Munoz Krans (left) and Derek Hu play old-school video games and air hockey on a tour of The Den (Pfoho Arcade) at Pforzheimer House.

Kris Snibbe/Harvard Staff Photographer

Pfoho-dwellers enjoy plenty of “pfun pfeatures” (as co-chair Derek Hu puts it). There’s an arcade, a double-decker dining hall, the student-operated Quad Grille, and even a Pfojo (dojo). Pfoho sponsors plenty of excursions for its residents — including an annual ski trip — and hosts weekly winter Hygges, Danish-inspired gatherings where residents and guests enjoy donuts and sip tea around a cozy campfire.

Quincy House

Honor Pimentel ’25 and Jack Towers ’25, HoCo Chairs
022924 Quincy HoCo 098

Jack Towers (left) and Honor Pimentel stand inside the dining hall of Quincy House.

Photo by Dylan Goodman

It’s ironic that Quincy’s mascot is a penguin — a creature suited to cold environments — because the House is the only upper-classmen residence to serve hot breakfast in its dining hall. Not only is Quincy’s dining hall always abuzz; it’s also the home to “Cake Boss,” the annual cake-decorating competition with awards for top finishers. Another beloved tradition is the Quincy House Exorcism and Field Day, a cathartic affair in which students “denounce evils from Quincy House” (in the words of HoCo co-chair Honor Pimentel) and engage in various competitions with other grades and Quincy staff. Marked by a bagpipe performance and ceremonial veneration of namesake Josiah Quincy’s cane, the event is one of the quirkier traditions among Harvard’s Houses.

Winthrop House

Adrian Guzman ’25 and Paurakh Rijal ’25, HoCo chairs
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Adrian Guzman (left) and Paurakh Rijal enjoy the Gore Hall courtyard of Winthrop House.

Stephanie Mitchell/Harvard Staff Photographer

Home to the John F. Kennedy Suite preserved by the Institute of Politics, Winthrop is known for its fantastic views of the Charles River. One of its buildings, Gore Hall, has a well-earned reputation as one of the most spectacular buildings in Harvard, with a tire swing and a hammock in its quiet, well-appointed courtyard. Another House highlight is Winthrop Grille, a student-operated joint that serves fried fare well past midnight. Four floors up is the Beren Rooftop Room, whose floor-to-ceiling windows give an unmatched view of the Boston skyline.

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