Thursday, March 8 was Housing Day! It’s really similar to how students are sorted into the houses in the Harry Potter series. Here, there’s no Sorting Hat, but students can “block” with up to 8 people freshman year that they’ll be randomly placed with into an upperclassman house for the next three years (if you don’t like living there, you can switch houses after a year–but most people fall in love with wherever they end up). These people are referred to as “blockmates” or your “blocking group” and, for me, have been a huge part of my experience at Harvard. Once put into a house, freshmen won’t move in until the fall of their sophomore year, but they can fully enjoy their respective house’s offerings and advantages. For example, my house, Quincy, has community dinner in the dining hall on Thursday evenings that only Quincy residents can attend.
As the House Committee (HoCo) Co-Chair, I spent hours and hours planning Housing Day festivities with the 7 other HoCo members. I was literally on my feet from 7:00 am in the morning to 10:30 pm–no exaggeration. I was present at every single event listed below. Many things had to be taken care of for Housing Day, and while we all worked together, it took a significant contribution on everyone’s part.
Pre- and night before:
- Pick a theme (“Q-Men: Freshman Class” — our play on “X-Men: First Class”)
- Create a video (can you spot my cameo?)
- Have the House vote on a t-shirt design (see photo below)
- Think of a free gift for freshmen (see photo below)
- Hold a sign-making event
- Stuff the informational folders for the incoming class
- Organize Big Penguin/Little Penguin groups (a Quincy House program to pair incoming students with upperclassmen buddies)
- Organize breakfast and face painting the morning of for upperclassmen (7:00 am – 8:00 am–about 150 came out to storm the Yard and dorms!)
- Hand-deliver letters with other upperclassmen to each blocking group (8:15 am – 9:30 am)
- Trek to freshmen dining hall, Annenberg, and set up table to check students in and give free t-shirts (10 am – 2:15 pm)
- Meet and greet and speak at Community Dinner (5:00 pm – 7:15 pm)
- Meet and Greet freshmen at the Master’s Open House (7:30 pm – 10:30 pm)
There were delicious desserts at the Master’s Open House event, and we showed the Housing Day video again. It was incredibly well attended, but towards the end of the night, I was so tired that I almost couldn’t wait for it to be over. I ended up falling asleep on my House Master’s couch, and my friends apparently took photos of me (which I have yet to see). How embarrassing.