Housing Day — the annual tradition where Harvard freshmen find out their upperclassman housing assignments — will take place in-person with significant Covid-era restrictions on Thursday.
Harvard College’s Dean of Students Office announced last Friday that the school will allow upperclassmen to conduct dorm storming — where house residents notify freshmen of their assignments — in small groups. The event will mark the first in-person housing day since 2019.
The College considered two Housing Day proposals as it sought to adapt the tradition to pandemic rules. After holding a vote of undergraduate House Committee chairs, the DSO selected a plan allowing for in-person dorm storming, rather than an outdoor option.
The announcement comes amid an uptick of positive Covid-19 cases among Harvard undergraduates. Last week, 145 College students tested positive for the virus — more than any other week of the pandemic to date. The Dean of Students Office, which worked with HoCo members and Harvard University Health Services officials to develop a modified plan, announced the Housing Day regulations to freshmen in a March 4 email.
At 8 a.m. Thursday, upperclassmen representing each of Harvard’s 12 houses and the Dudley Co-Op will gather in Harvard Yard to prepare for the festivities. Promptly at 8:30, the upperclassmen students will “storm” the freshmen dorms in groups of three. In a break from tradition, upperclassmen will only be allowed to enter hallways — not rooms — while they celebrate for a maximum of five minutes. Masks will be required.
Prior to the pandemic, upperclassmen students were allowed to enter freshmen dorms with no time or capacity limits.
Freshmen will be allowed to opt-out of dorm storming and instead receive their housing assignments via email at noon on Thursday.
After all freshmen receive their assignments, the path to Annenberg Hall will be decorated with tables from the houses and Dudley, where freshmen will be able to pick up merchandise on their way to lunch.
Per tradition, freshmen will then attend in-person events in the evening with their assigned house.
On the eve of Housing Day, many freshmen also take part in River Run, a tradition where they take shots of alcohol at each of Harvard’s nine river houses in an ill-fated bid to avoid being assigned to the oft-undesired Radcliffe Quadrangle. The DSO said it would assign security guards to monitor Harvard Yard and the River houses to “ensure a safe and fun night.”
—Staff writer Audrey M. Apollon can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.