Julius Wade (right) and fellow PfoHo residents celebrate being the second to arrive at the John Harvard statue for the annual delivery of housing assignments.

Rose Lincoln/Harvard Staff Photographer

Campus & Community

It’s Housing Day, with snowballs

As nor’easter slackens, freshmen throng the Yard after learning where they’ll live next

3 min read

A little snow wasn’t going to put a damper on Harvard’s annual Housing Day festivities, as hundreds of students took to the Yard outside University Hall Thursday morning. Dressed in everything from tie-dyed shirts and moose antlers to fish hats, they made the most of the moment despite the winter weather.

Housing Day, traditionally the last Thursday before spring break, is when freshmen, who reside in the dorms ringing the Yard, find out which of 12 undergraduate Houses they’ll live in as upperclassmen. This year’s event dovetailed with the last vestiges of a major nor’easter, which brought a day of rain and a night of snow.

“There’s so much spirit here, so much energy,” said Pforzheimer resident Julius Wade ’20, one of several students dressed in full-body polar bear costumes to represent his House’s mascot. “Pforzheimer is in our element here in the snow; it’s great.”

Students from Kirkland House throw snowballs to defend their territory as they raise their flag (right). They were first to the John Harvard Statue, arriving at “an undisclosed early hour.”

Rose Lincoln/Harvard Staff Photographer

In between lobbing snowballs and good-hearted barbs at each other, the House groups managed to unite around a giant sing-along to The Killers’ “Mr. Brightside,” prompted by Danoff Dean of Harvard College Rakesh Khurana, who propped up a loudspeaker in his window in University Hall.

The noise from the Yard could be heard beyond the gates, and several passersby paused to watch the cheering, costumed students. Meanwhile, representatives from each House went into University Hall to get the letters to deliver to the freshmen, officially informing them of their assignments.

“Some of the freshmen might be a little frightened to see us,” given the odd costumes and loud noisemakers, Wade said. “But I think they will learn to love us.”

Mather House residents look for the rest of their army on Massachusetts Avenue, as reinforcements cross the street.

Rose Lincoln/Harvard Staff Photographer

Freezing temperatures, not a problem.

Rose Lincoln/Harvard Staff Photographer

Olivia Saretsky, age 5, with her dad, Harvard proctor Jason Saretsky, the director of track and field and cross country, had a snow day but couldn’t sleep with the commotion from upperclassmen like these Kirklanders delivering housing assignments to freshmen. Freshman Umut Arslan celebrated being assigned to the “Treehouse” (Currier).

Photos by Rose Lincoln/Harvard Staff Photographer

Snowball fights were part of this year’s fun.

Rose Lincoln/Harvard Staff Photographer

Charlie Colt-Simonds ’20 (left) and Tori Tong ’20 welcome students to Adams House during Housing Day festivities at Annenberg Hall.

Kris Snibbe/Harvard Staff Photographer

Martha Kebeh ’20 (left) and Christian Floyd ’18 welcome people to Leverett House during Housing Day festivities at Annenberg Hall.

Kris Snibbe/Harvard Staff Photographer

Overview of Housing Day festivities at Annenberg Hall. Hannah Humes ’21 (left) and Peyton Benac ’21 smile near a statue of John Adams while being welcomed to Leverett House during the day’s festivities at Annenberg Hall.

Photos by Kris Snibbe/Harvard Staff Photographer

Dylan Wile ’19 (from left), Quincy House Dean Deb Gehrke, and Daishi Tanaka ’19 welcome people during Housing Day festivities at Annenberg Hall.

Kris Snibbe/Harvard Staff Photographer

Fotini Anastopoulos ’20 (from left) welcomes Verena Lin ’21 to Winthrop House.

Kris Snibbe/Harvard Staff Photographer