Harvard University Dining Services

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One of my favorite things about HUDS (Harvard University Dining Services) is that there is always dessert. Actually, dessert is only officially available with lunch and dinner. That being said, there are some really sugary cereals available during breakfast (think Lucky Charms, or rather Marshmallow Mateys), so I’m going to go ahead and count that as dessert.  The point is, if you are looking for a sweet treat after your meal you are well cared for.

Most importantly, there is no shortage of dessert diversity. HUDS lunches feature a variety of cookies. The flavors change from day to day and from House to House, so there’s pretty much something for everyone. Sometimes I am in the mood for a classic sugar cookie, but if I am feeling more adventurous I might prefer a peanut butter cookie. Thanks to HUDS, both flavors have the potential to be a part of my lunchtime reality, and that’s a beautiful thing. The dessert at dinner has even more variety to it, so it feels like more of a surprise. It could be bread pudding. It could be pie. There could even be a selection of whoopie pies. There really is just no telling.

Now, all of this dessert diversity is thrilling for someone with an adventurous sweet tooth (like me). However, HUDS also offers frozen yogurt at every meal for the student that appreciates a consistent dessert option.  There are typically two flavors available at each meal.  The featured flavors are usually vanilla and chocolate, since they are the classic choices, but every now and then HUDS surprises us with a less conventional option (dulce de leche, red velvet cake, etc.).  For example, the other day at dinner the dining hall in Currier introduced “Graham Cracker Pie” frozen yogurt, and it the best flavor yet. I wish I could share the experience with you, but you’re just going to have to trust me on this one. Think about it. It was so good that it inspired me to write an entire post about HUDS dessert. Honestly, just reflecting on the whole experience has put me in the best mood. It really is the little things…

Graham Cracker Pie Frozen Yogurt in Currier<3

Also, to be clear, some people do choose to treat themselves to healthier options (frozen yogurt without toppings, fruit, etc.) and some people choose to skip dessert altogether. I’m just not usually one of them.

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There’s an overwhelmingly negative connotation associated with college Greek life, which fairly arises from the too frequently heard about news articles of hazing gone wrong. Although the behavior concomitant with such tragedies are inexcusable, it isn’t the defining factor of Greek life. The Greek system still exists nationally and I believe the reason it continues thriving lies in the fact that there are endless (literally! The alumni networks are as massive as whales!) positive influences it can have on a member’s life.

I can personally attest to these benefits – connecting to a new support group, feeling more connected to campus, and expanding study groups – and that’s why my involvement in Harvard Greek life progressively dives deeper. This semester, I’ve been transitioning into my new role of Panhellenic Council Vice President of Philanthropy! Although I hate admitting that I have a natural tendency to snap at good news, I love the new opportunities my role avails to me – like participating in Relay for Life, an incredibly inspiring and national event to support those fighting cancer.

Three male fraternities and three female sororities exist at Harvard (although not officially acknowledged due to the institution’s rule against recognizing single gender groups): Alpha Epsilon Pi, Sigma Chi, Sigma Alpha Epsilon, Kappa Alpha Theta, Kappa Kappa Gamma, and Delta Gamma, respectively. Over the course of these last few months, representatives from each group met with me to organize fundraising events for the annual Harvard Relay for Life. Each year the Harvard Greek Team raises thousands of dollars for the amazing cause through personal appeals as well as creative ways, some of them exemplified below:

Pie Cancer in the Face: AEPi (Alpha Epsilon Pi) held an event where people could purchase a pie to throw in a brother’s face. Who needs dignity when cancer is looming as a threat? Haha, the boys definitely took pies in the face like the manliest men I’ve ever seen and raised over $300 in the span of four hours! Bonus points for the pun too!!

Date Auction: The Cambridge Queen’s Head (a restaurant/pub) located in the basement of Annenberg (the freshman cafeteria commonly referenced to as the Great Hall from Harry Potter) graciously donated their stage to the Harvard Greek community to hold a date auction for two hours. Twenty generous and studly fraternity brothers of Harvard volunteered themselves to be auctioned. Girls across campus (even some graduate students!) came to bid for a magical hour with these men, 100% of proceeds going directly for Relay for Life. The “Date Contract” read that the men had to be at their utmost gentlemanly behavior…but we’ll just see how my two dates go before we get excited. Yes, I did buy two. Hey now, it was for charity!!

BBQ: HUDS (Harvard University Dining Services) has some of the best programs!! Check out the stellar grade HUDS (and Harvard in general) got! On weekdays from 11am-2pm, HUDS serves prepared sandwiches, hot entrees, fruit, etc. in the Cambridge Queen’s head for upperclassmen too lazy/too busy (usually the latter in our defense!) to return to their upperclassmen House (dorm) for lunch – this is colloquially termed “Fly-By.” You can also request a brown bag to be prepared from your own dining hall when you know you won’t have time in between lectures, sections, and meetings for lunch! Another way HUDS ensures students stay nourished is by providing cookout food. The philanthropy chairs of each fraternity and I wanted to hold a BBQ before and during the Relay for Life event so we gathered students’ ID numbers and submitted them into HUDS who then provided us hamburger patties, hotdogs, condiments, buns, fruit, chips, and basically everything else we could ever dream of asking for. The BBQ was a hit and people even donated money in exchange for some BBQ! Sorry for not having any pictures 🙁 I was too busy grilling … or at least supervising the grill! 🙂

Overall, the events leading up to Relay and Relay for Life itself was successful! I had a blast working behind the scenes in my first Spring Philanthropy event and can’t wait for the one in the fall, which I’m hoping to organize with Cradles to Crayons. I can only hope that my last round of midterms (yes, I did have a midterm on the last day of class), presentations, papers, and final exams go just as well!!!

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I think something like 98 or 99% of students live in the awesome dormitories on campus, but there are a handful of people who choose not to. Two of my blockmates (a group of up to 8 people who you choose and are all put in the same upperclassmen House after freshmen year), Lauren and Wes, moved off campus last year, and they have a nice apartment about a 10 minute walk away from where I live in Quincy House. This weekend, they invited a group of us over for a Super Bowl party. Lauren and Wes had prepared wings, oatmeal cookies, brownies, chips and dip, and a lot of other delicious treats for the big game. I don’t really follow football (I’m more of a basketball guy–go Celtics!), but, born and raised in Massachusetts, my allegiance was to the Patriots, of course. I apparently fell asleep during Madonna’s halftime performance, and then dozed right through all the screaming and cheering until there were 4:00 minutes remaining in the last quarter. Oops?

Things have started to pick up a bit. The first few weeks on campus are always very social and lively since everyone is back and reuniting and talking about their breaks. I haven’t gotten into a routine, nor have I been too stressed out just yet, but I guess I shouldn’t be complaining. One new thing I’ve noticed since being here are all the new food choices from Harvard University Dining Services (HUDS)! While there are always multiple entrees available, a sandwich, soup, and salad bar every night, and a grille, the following new foods are just some of the specials on their schedule:

  • Monday – Peking chicken and tofu bar
  • Tuesday – fruit bar
  • Wednesday – Korean beef barbecue

Being Korean-American, I’ve become very used to my mother’s home cooking. Therefore, HUDS’ Korean food isn’t exactly authentic, but it’s definitely a great imitation. The students here love it. I’ve heard people talking about Korean BBQ night during the day on Wednesdays, as well as going up for seconds and thirds. Personally, my favorite HUDS initiative is the new line of frozen yogurt flavors, which they describe as tasting more like the flavor options at Berryline, a super popular frozen yogurt shop in Harvard Square. If you have a chance to go, Berryline is definitely a staple that you need to check out. I have friends who go once every week or two, even in the cold weather, because they love it so much. HUDS conducts a school-wide survey at the end of each semester, where students can voice their opinions online. The dining hall staff have told me that the Korean BBQ is the most popular and most demanded meal out of anything they offer. My one request? Cheesecake! It’s funny because I’m that person who begs for cheesecake on those surveys, regardless of what the comment box is actually asking for. If a survey question asks, “What are the most important aspects of your meal? (i.e. temperature, appearance, etc.)” or “What is your favorite breakfast offering?” or basically any question that includes a box for an open-ended answer, I usually dodge whatever the actual topic is supposed to be and just write something about cheesecake. I’m still hoping they’ll have it on a more regular basis, but I’ll make sure I keep you updated. I’ll probably take a picture of the cheesecake if they decide to put it in there. But I’m guessing I might have to recruit some more folks to fill out the survey in a similar, aggressive, cheesecake-minded manner. Cheesecake for all!

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Hi all!

I just finished my first week of class, and the outlook is bright.  I’m all settled on my courses for the semester and it’s great to be done with stress of shopping classes.  This semester I am taking the sophomore tutorial for History and Literature (my concentration), an English seminar about the American Civil War, a history class on the British Empire, and an introductory course in French.  I feel really good about things right now and it should be a fantastic semester, but only time will tell.

In other news, this Thursday was the Hasty Pudding Theatricals’ Woman of the Year celebration.  The Hasty Pudding Theatricals is an undergraduate theater company that features an all-male cast, which means that Harvard men in drag portray female roles!  This year the Theatricals honored Claire Danes as their Women of the Year (WOY) and she did not disappoint.  It’s a daylong affair and includes a parade through the streets of Cambridge, a roast of the honoree, and a preview of the Hasty Pudding Theatricals’ annual spring show.

I joined in on the festivities after class, so I caught the tail-end of the parade.  The parade featured a marching band, On Harvard Time (a student-produced comedy news program), members of the company, and of course the Woman of the Year herself!

Claire Danes in the WOY Parade.

Claire Danes in the WOY Parade. Unfortunately, I caught her mid-blink…

The press trolley in the parade.

The press trolley in the WOY Parade.

The band in the WOY parade.

The band in the WOY Parade.

On Harvard Time in the WOY Parade.

On Harvard Time in the WOY Parade. Please note "Drew Faust" in high spirits!

This year the show is called “There Will Be Flood”, and based on the preview it is going to be filled with hilarious puns, over-the-top costumes and sets, and fantastic talent.  The show is a student-run musical, so it’s a lot of fun to be a part of the audience and see my friends and classmates on-stage and running things.  I have already purchased my ticket to see the show in two weeks and I cannot wait!  If you’re going to be in the Cambridge area between February 4th and March 4th, then you should really consider stopping by Farkas Hall to check it out!

…On a completely separate note, I was having lunch in Adams house with my friend Lanier the other day, and I couldn’t help but notice that she got a little creative with her meal.  It doesn’t happen often, but every now and then HUDS (Harvard University Dining Services) has an off day, and the dining options are bleak.  Instead of resigning herself to the salad bar and grill (solid safety options), Lanier thought outside of the box and prepared a makeshift pizza!  She had pita bread, pasta sauce, shredded mozzarella, and a microwave at her disposal, so she made it work.

Chef Lanier with her fantastic creation!

Chef Lanier with her fantastic creation!

A closeup of Lanier's Lunch.

A closeup of Lanier's Lunch.

Alright, I’m actually not in Cambridge right now because I am on a board retreat for the Crimson Key Society in Chatham, Massachusetts, so I have to run.  I’m already looking forward to checking in with you all next week!

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