A celebration inside Annenberg Hall marked Harvard’s annual Housing Day, when freshmen receive their housing assignments for the next three years.

Jon Chase/Harvard Staff Photographer

Campus & Community

A sort of homecoming

5 min read

Harvard’s Housing Day brings a lot of ecstasy, and a little agony

Not even cold weather or the threat of rain could keep Harvard students down. Nay, actual precipitation might galvanize them further, making them stronger.

After all, today (March 10) is Housing Day, the day of fantastical Mardi Gras-like costumes and parades, of yelling until your voice is gone. And if you’re a freshman, Housing Day means a sleepless night awaiting that early morning letter assigning your living quarters for the next three years.

Soundbytes: Sounding off on Housing Day

Amid frantic cheers audible from the subway station, friends Kyle Krueger ’14 and Rose Bailey ’14 were making their way through the Yard to Annenberg Hall to meet up with others assigned to Pforzheimer House. “PfoHo!” the pair yelled in unison when asked where they’ve been assigned. “We’re really excited,” said Krueger. “We’ve heard good things about PfoHo and they have a lot of House pride.”

Outside of Annenberg Hall, Devon Williams ’11 of Mather House was caught sitting down for a rare breather, a “Mather Haus” banner rippling behind him. Decked out in red shirt, red jeans, and ’80s sunglasses, he’d probably been awake all night, readying himself for pouncing into the freshman dorms to deliver the news “that they’ve just won the housing lottery,” he said.

Joined by his rhyming-named roommate Nevin Britto ’11, the pair described just what exactly it felt like to be a part of Housing Day: “It is the most fun I’ve ever had at 7 a.m.,” said Williams. “Everyone in the House treats 7 a.m. as if it were midnight.”

There’s the ecstasy of Housing Day, and then there’s the agony.

Maura Church ’14 and Danielle Ithier ’14 were less than enthused to learn they’d be moving to Cabot House, even when the Cabot welcoming crew arrived with Swedish Fish and free sunglasses.

“It was number 12 on my list,” revealed Church.

“But it’ll be a good year,” chimed Ithier.

Yolanda Borquaye ’14 and Renee Motley ’14 were also assigned to Cabot.

“I really like the historical factor of houses like Eliot or Kirkland,” said Borquaye. “But I’m looking forward to making history in Cabot!”

Shelbi Olson ’14 and Jessica Perillo ’14, two softball players, were bummed about their PfoHo assignment because it’s far from where the team practices.

Olson and Perillo said they misheard what the PfoHo greeting party was chanting that morning — thinking they were saying the name of another House. “Then they ran in screaming and we were sad,” said Olson.

“They told us that they cried last year, too,” said Perillo.

But most students are eventually won over by their House and its offerings. And next year they’ll be the ones touting their House’s awesomeness to bleary-eyed freshmen.

Sophomore Corinne Wee ’13 of Quincy House did just that.

“It was so fun to deliver the letters and see everyone so excited,” she said. “Last year I was so excited to receive my assignment, but it was nice to be on the other side, jumping up and down!”

Hip, hip, hooray!


“The foundation of the Harvard College experience is the idea that living together means learning together,” said Dean of the College Evelynn M. Hammonds. “The Houses are vibrant intellectual communities where students encounter new ideas, explore creative and cultural activities, and form relationships that last a lifetime. I congratulate the newest members of our undergraduate Houses.”