Bedecked in House-themed paraphernalia and boasting festive Zoom backgrounds, undergraduates welcomed members of the Class of 2024 to their upperclassmen houses during the College’s second consecutive virtual Housing Day Friday.
Before the Covid-19 pandemic, Housing Day was a riotous affair replete with house-themed music videos, “dorm-storming,” and house-wide socials. This year, House Committee chairs endeavored to replicate those traditions and implement new ones in a remote setting.
The day commenced with freshmen congregating in a special Housing Day webinar hosted by the Dean of Students Office to chat with House Committee chairs and build anticipation for the imminent unveiling of their housing assignments.
Afterwards, freshmen shuffled into one of twelve virtual sessions where they were met with fanfare and music as they learned of the houses in which they would reside for the remainder of college.
Christopher P. Poon ’24 said he and his blockmates were joyous when they learned they will be living in Winthrop House for the next three years.
“We were all jumping up and down and screaming and all that, so yeah, just very excited,” he said.
Wamda M. Garo ’24 said she felt “relieved” after learning she was placed in Lowell House.
“At first, I really didn’t mind whatever house I got into — I know most first years do — but then as the Zoom was beginning I began to feel a little nervous,” Garo said. “I was really relieved when I got into Lowell because I wasn’t quadded.”
When Aleixos Stavropoulos ’24 found out he was “quadded” — a term for students sorted into one of the three houses in Harvard’s Radcliffe Quadrangle — he said he and his blocking group were shocked and speechless.
“We initially thought it was a prank from one of the other houses,” Stavropoulos said. “And then soon enough, like 20 seconds later when the screen didn't change, we were like, ‘okay, so we’re really in Cabot now.’”
Housing Day festivities spanned into the evening when some houses hosting trivia nights, virtual escape rooms, and virtual house dinners to welcome freshmen.
Despite the virtual format, some freshmen described their Housing Day experience as “memorable” and “exciting.”
Alexander J. “Alex” Estevez ’24 said he felt a sense of excitement throughout the festivities.
“I felt like there was a lot of excitement still, even if we were virtual,” Estevez said. “Everybody was really excited about finding out, and then all the upperclassmen were super excited, so I enjoyed it.”
Julia S. Casas ’24, who was sorted into Mather House, said she appreciated the initiative the College and upperclassmen took to pull off a remote Housing Day.
“I really appreciated the different panels and events that both the First Year Social Committee put on and also just the College-sponsored [events],” Casas said. “I also really appreciated all the effort the upperclassmen put into getting freshmen excited via Zoom about Mather — I think it was very fun, and it made it a very good day for me.”
Christina J. Zhao ’24 said her Housing Day experience was “as good as it could’ve been.”
“It was definitely a memorable experience — just not as much as it would have been on campus,” she said. “But I’m happy that Harvard found some way to have some of the excitement and attention that normal Housing Day has.”
—Staff writer Hannah J. Martinez can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @martinezhannahj.
—Staff writer Sixiao Yu can be reached at email@example.com.