At Harvard, incoming freshmen select their favored study, waking, and sleeping schedules before arriving on campus so that roommates can be matched to complement and enhance their lifestyles. As President Drew Faust said during Freshman Convocation for the Class of 2020, learning also takes place outside the classroom during everyday interactions in which students augment each other intellectually while living together harmoniously. “Everyone in this community has the right to be heard, to be listened to, to be treated with dignity and respect,” Faust has said. “Our life together, our success as a University, and our aspirations toward Veritas depend upon it.” The diverse interests of roommates enliven the living environment, combining to form a thriving undergraduate community. Echoing the concept of religious pluralism outlined by Diana Eck, faculty dean of Lowell House, student ideas and cultures can be likened to bodies of water that change and shift directions as they move organically to fill rivers and tributaries. Here are portraits of roommates from the Class of 2020.

1 Thayer Hall friends Kristie Colton (from left), Georgia Seidel, and Rebecca Chen still have an Instagram account their families and friends follow. Called “Thayer 403,” it is about their adventures and the highlights of their time together at Harvard. “My whole family follows us, even all my cousins,” says Seidel, who grew up on a sheep farm in Australia without the internet. Rose Lincoln/Harvard Staff Photographer
2 Kristie Colton of Utah (left) said she and Rebecca Chen cemented their friendship when they had ice cream together. Chen (right) disagrees: “It was when we arm wrestled and I won.” Georgia Seidel’s take was, “We all became friends when we went to CollegeFest together.” Rose Lincoln/Harvard Staff Photographer
3 Rebecca Chen (right), who comes from California, said, “Our prime passion is ‘The Office.’ We see ourselves in some of the characters, like Jim.” Kristie Colton (left) said, “We like the pranks and try to pull them on Rebecca. None of them have worked yet.” Rose Lincoln/Harvard Staff Photographer
4 Georgia Seidel (from left), Kristie Colton, and Rebecca Chen go to Tatte to get monkey bread and lattes. Rose Lincoln/Harvard Staff Photographer
5 Rebecca Chen (center) said she and her friends run a Harvard meme page. “I’m the admin and they’re the mods!” Rose Lincoln/Harvard Staff Photographer
6 Clifford “Scotty” Courvoisier (from upper left to right), Kenneth Shinozuka, and Abdul Saleh are framed by bunk beds in Holworthy Hall last year. “A group becomes a community when each person who comprises it discovers himself in every other,” said Shinozuka, “and that is the philosophy at the heart of our group of roommates.” Kris Snibbe/Harvard Staff Photographer
7 Luke Xu (from left), Abdul Saleh, Sung Ahn, Kenneth Shinozuka, and Clifford “Scotty” Courvoisier shared space in Holworthy Hall. “My roommates were always willing to listen when I voiced my opinions and this helped me adopt more liberal, progressive values,” said Saleh. “If this type of reasoned, respectful discussion was the norm everywhere, the world would be a much better place.” Kris Snibbe/Harvard Staff Photographer
8 Holworthy Hall roommates Kenneth Shinozuka (from left), Clifford “Scotty” Courvoisier, Abdul Saleh, and Sung Ahn talk outside Annenberg Hall, with the Science Center in the background. “Every other Tuesday, around midnight, we dressed in suits to grab a burger at Tasty Burger,” said Saleh. “It was our way of building a family away from home.” Kris Snibbe/Harvard Staff Photographer
9 Inside the Science Center, Clifford “Scotty” Courvoisier (from far rear left), Kenneth Shinozuka, Sung Ahn, and Abdul Saleh view a “Transit Circle” at the Collection of Historical Scientific Instruments. “My roommates challenged me to expand my mind and grow as a social creature. In the end, they helped me figure out what I wanted to say and how to listen to other people as well,” Ahn said. “Everything turned out much better than I would’ve ever imagined.” Kris Snibbe/Harvard Staff Photographer
10 Tatiana Patino (left) and Walburga Khumalo shared a space in Stoughton Hall. Patino is from Georgia, and Khumalo from South Africa. Ten minutes after the roommate assignments were delivered, Patino reached out to the more reserved Khumalo with an enthusiastic email: “Roommates!!!” She remembers explaining to her brother, “She’s going to live with me. I can’t act like someone else. She’s going to find out eventually.” Stephanie Mitchell/Harvard Staff Photographer
11 Tatiana Patino (left) and Walburga Khumalo first heard each other’s accents on their first day at Harvard, and they spent their first year getting to know each other’s sleeping patterns (Khumalo is an early riser, Patino is not), study habits (both prefer the libraries), and movie tastes (Patino scares easily at horror movies, while Khumalo does not). Stephanie Mitchell/Harvard Staff Photographer
12 “I’m hoping to major in environmental science and public policy. I work for an organization, the South African Institute of International Affairs, and I’m a United Nations ambassador for them. I attend conferences and the general assembly to represent the organizations and the South African youth delegation,” Walburga Khumalo (right) said. “Fun fact about my roommate, that’s it!” chimed in Tatiana Patino. Stephanie Mitchell/Harvard Staff Photographer
13 “Tatiana [Patino] is very good at socializing,” said Walburga Khumalo (left) about her roommate, while she herself made an effort to have meaningful conversations with everyone in the freshman residence. Patino wants to be a teacher and education administration. She is an education coordinator for a Hispanic organization promoting education, and coaches and mentors high school students in college preparation. Stephanie Mitchell/Harvard Staff Photographer
14 Over their first year, Tatiana Patino (left) and Walburga Khumalo grew tight, despite some of their differences. “I believe in alone time. I think it is important. And it’s cool to have someone who gets that,” Khumalo said. Their comfortable banter and stream of giggles reveals their closeness. Patino commented, “It’s interesting because we were roommates and then friends.” Stephanie Mitchell/Harvard Staff Photographer
15 Roommates in Wigglesworth on what they called their “porch”: Soheil Sadabadi from Iran (from left), Andrew Cho from Arizona, Michael Shadpour from California, Scott Kall from Massachusetts, and Arpan Sarkar from Tennessee. Jon Chase/Harvard Staff Photographer
16 Wigglesworth roommates Scott Kall (from left), Soheil Sadabadi, and Arpan Sarkar gather around a ping-pong table. Jon Chase/Harvard Staff Photographer
17 Scott Kall (left) and Soheil Sadabadi play air hockey. Jon Chase/Harvard Staff Photographer
18 Wigglesworth roommates Andrew Cho (from left), Arpan Sarkar, Michael Shadpour, Soheil Sadabadi, and Scott Kall. Jon Chase/Harvard Staff Photographer