Before the Dudley Co-operative Society was founded in 1958 as alternative housing for Harvard undergraduates, it was a bed and breakfast where Teddy Roosevelt and Henry Cabot Lodge are reported to have slept.

Today, co-op resident and ethnomusicology concentrator Christopher Johnson-Roberson ’11 says life in the co-op, which houses 30 undergrads, two resident tutors, and a tutor’s spouse in its two buildings, supports his academic and social interests. “My academic work focuses on how music can be a means to promote social cohesion and also express political protest,” he said. “The jam sessions at the co-op represent a synthesis of all the components of the community that I appreciate.”

Residents do their own cooking and cleaning. Multiculturalism is reflected in the co-op’s cuisine during nightly communal meals. One evening, Iman James ’12 chopped fresh bunches of kale while Alice Gissinger ’11 dropped dabs of butter into a wok full of rutabaga for a special vegetarian menu: kale verde con rutabaga, curried couscous, salade de lentilles, and cheesecake.

When Gissinger was working intensively on her senior thesis recently, fellow co-op members helped care for her day-to-day needs according to a point system that is described in the co-op sutra, a book of house rules written and updated by previous residents and passed down each year.

“In the co-op, it’s not just my social life that’s provided for,” said Gissinger. “There is a feeling of reciprocity that encourages communication, respect, collaboration, and community.”

Opting for the Co-op

Kris Snibbe/Harvard Staff Photographer

  • Pick it

    Pick it

    Remeike Forbes '11 (left) plays a spirited rendition of “Old Joe Clark” while changing the words for comic effect. Iman James '12 listens.

  • Fit and happy

    Fit and happy

    "Fitness is an important part of co-op life," said Victoria Koski-Karell '12, who does pull-ups inside her room at the Dudley Co-operative Society, which is an affiliate of Dudley House that was founded in 1958 as alternative housing for undergraduates.

  • Karl Marx wall

    Karl Marx wall

    Daniel Schade '11 shows the "Tribute to Karl Marx" wall, which also includes a photo of Captain Jean-Luc Picard, the Star Trek character portrayed by actor Patrick Stewart.

  • Stirrin' and fryin'

    Stirrin' and fryin'

    Alice Gissinger '11 prepares "kale verde con rutabaga" for dinner.

  • Mise en place

    Mise en place

    Iman James '12 assists chef Alice Gissinger '11 with chopping and dicing.

  • Veggie delight

    Veggie delight

    Victoria Koski-Karell '12 (from left), Bethany Potter '13, Co-op President Daniel Schade '11, and Daniel Yavuzkurt '12 line up for a vegetarian buffet dinner.

  • Apple pancake sampler

    Apple pancake sampler

    Co-op President Daniel Schade '11 showcases some kooky art bedazzling the walls.

  • Family dinner

    Family dinner

    Remeike Forbes '11 (from left) bonds over food and talk with Iman James '12, Katharine Vidt '13, and Christopher Johnson-Roberson '12.

  • After-dinner music

    After-dinner music

    After dinner, Christopher Johnson-Roberson '12 strums a number next to Daniel Schade '11.

  • A good man

    A good man

    Christopher Johnson-Roberson does dishes.

  • Trio


    Bethany Potter '13, Victoria Koski-Karell '12, and Christopher Johnson-Roberson '12 unwind with some tunes.

  • Y'all come back now!

    Y'all come back now!

    Thanks for visiting Dudley House Co-op, where anything is possible...