Since creation of the House system by Harvard President Abbott Lawrence Lowell in the 1930s, the cultures and traditions of the residential Houses have been continually transformed by students and members of the Harvard community. During the school year, students engage in a range of activities such as staging a performance about race relations in the Adams House Pool Theater, collecting historical items to renovate the suite where President Franklin Roosevelt once lived, and dressing up for a Halloween drag night. The activities explore the intersection of contemporary life with sociopolitical issues.
In her writings about religious pluralism — which can be viewed in relation to House life — Lowell House Co-Master Diana Eck explained how religions have evolved based on how individuals practice them: “Our religious traditions are not boxes of goods passed intact from generation to generation, but rather rivers of faith — alive, dynamic, ever-changing, diverging, converging, drying up here, and watering new lands there.”
In that spirit, these photographs show the diverse streams of student experiences that revolve around the activities and traditions that define Harvard’s Houses.