Their voices landed in the Yard far ahead of their feet. Hundreds of sophomores, juniors, and seniors raced through the gates before 8 a.m. Thursday with colorful signs, playful accessories, and cries of House pride.
In other words, the scene was classic Housing Day — a festive tradition in which first-years find out which of the 12 undergraduate Houses they will live in for the next three years.
Kirkland House arrived first to claim the coveted spot in front of the John Harvard Statue.
“We pride ourselves with always being the first House to John Harvard,” said Adam Aleksic ’23. “We take shifts guarding the statue overnight from 7 p.m. until 7 a.m. We’re all coming together and showing what this House means to us and sharing that with others. It’s the biggest culmination of Kirkland spirit.”
As the crowd grew around University Hall, passersby paused to smile while students erupted into celebration, laughter, and good-natured rivalry. All ages danced or bopped along to College Dean Rakesh Khurana’s upbeat Housing Day playlist. Signs boasted House spirit with clever phrases like: “No place I’d Mather be” and “Welcome to Throp-ical paradise.” In a nod to Currier’s mascot, another one read: “No tricks, just TREEts.”
“Housing Day is an opportunity to welcome first-year students into their House, which in coming years will feel like home,” said Khurana, in between posing for photos with undergraduates. “For upper-level students, it’s a means of reaffirming our commitment and our values, that our diversity is a source of infinite possibility.”
“This is one of the best days of the year for all of the Harvard College student body,” said Sam Woolf ’23, a Dunster House aide who served this year as the moose mascot. “It’s one of the days that we get to show the most pride, come together, and celebrate being a Harvard student.”
Around 9 a.m., representatives from each of the Houses stormed the rooms of first-years to deliver long-awaited news of their House assignments.
“It’s so heartwarming to see all of Adams House rally together and get excited about living together,” said Jennifer Guo ’24, who couldn’t wait to give first-year students a warm welcome. Guo donned head-to-toe Adams-themed attire: maroon boxers adorned with the House coat of arms, red-and-gold striped bowtie with matching socks, and a T-shirt that riffed on the Jif peanut butter logo in honor of the House’s acorn mascot.
First-years were thrilled to take part in one of Harvard’s best-loved traditions. “We got Eliot!” Olivia Callander ’26 shared with a smile. “We’re super excited to go celebrate for the rest of the day.”
“It was an early morning, but it was definitely worth it,” said Joey Perriello ’26, a new Adams resident. “It means a lot to take part in this tradition with my closest friends. We’ve been looking forward to this for a while, because we’re scattered all over the Yard and we can’t wait to live near each other next year.”
For many seniors, the celebration was bittersweet. “We got sent home freshman year, sophomore year was online, and last year I had COVID,” said Kirkland’s A.J. Veneziano ’23. “This means so much to me as someone who is having his Housing Day for the first and last time. It’s one of the best traditions of all time.”