Adding to the kaleidoscope of costumes representing the mascots, flags, and traditions of Harvard’s dozen undergraduate residential Houses, Catherine Katz ’13, Quincy House Committee co-chair, stretched her arms into a penguin mascot suit and dabbed her cheeks with stripes of red before parading into Harvard Yard on Housing Day.
“Our Quincy letter-delivery team charged up the stairs to the third floor in Weld to find a group of freshmen eagerly awaiting their housing assignment,“ said Katz. “When they realized we had come for them, they threw one of their blockmates on someone’s shoulder and started jumping and cheering as if they had won a billion dollars.”
Gabriella Herrera ’15, a new Quincy House member, said of this rite of passage, “Housing Day is the day our fate is determined. Those 15 or so minutes that my blockmates and I stood hand-in-hand inside my dorm room felt like an eternity. We were all absolutely hysterical: shaking, jumping, laughing, crying, cringing, sweating, among other emotions and reactions. When we finally heard the chants of ‘Quincy!, Quincy!, Quincy!,’ and heard the knock on the door, we released all of our tension, and celebrated the news amongst painted faces, penguins, and horns. This was the kind of morning we could only have experienced at Harvard.”
Later that morning, outside Annenberg Hall, Herrera received a hug from Katz after passing through a gallery of cheering, banner-waving students from all of the Houses. “In that specific moment,” said Herrera, “I remember wanting to simply immerse myself in this new community and take part in all the excitement and fun. It was amazing how the upperclassmen were so welcoming, as if we were long-lost family members. So at that moment, I was really happy to be part of this penguin family.”