By Daniel Um
Despite the distance, the Quad does have its perks.
Harvard freshmen are inculcated with two important lessons: Your enemy is Yale, and don’t get “quadded”. The remote Quad Houses of Pforzheimer, Cabot and Currier are feared by many freshmen primarily because of the extra ten-minute hike to Harvard Yard as compared to the nine other houses by Charles River. Even though there are shuttles that connect the Quad to Harvard Square, traffic and shuttle tracking glitches can make the commute somewhat challenging. For these reasons, Housing Day anxieties run high.
This year during Housing Day, members from Adams House were seen chanting “Pfoho” and parading with the Pfoho mascot, Percy the Polar Bear, as they stormed the dorms of their new housemates, before eventually welcoming them to Adams House. As daunting as it is to get quadded, it is a reality for 25% of the freshman. Neel Mehta ‘18 from Pfoho said that in a few cases, he was met with “blank stares” or even “tears” by those discovering that they have been quadded . However new Quadlings, as the residents of the Quad are often known, usually adapt to the lifestyle rather quickly upon realizing that getting quadded comes with its fair share perks. Taking advantage of these hidden gems is the first step to a happy quad life.
There are many advantages of living in one of the three Quad Houses. Because these houses have more space, they are well equipped with gyms and other special rooms. For example, Pfoho boasts of a recording studio, a Spa, a Dojo and a guinea pig room. Cabot has a dance studio, an art room and a theatre, while Currier, a relaxation room and over 50 kitchens. Also, as most of the parties and social events are held in Pfoho’s Igloo and Belltower, Cabot’s Aquarium, and Currier’s Ten Men and Solaria, quadlings don’t have to worry about any late-night treks back to their houses.
Quad houses generally have better living conditions as well: bigger rooms, more singles and more suite opportunities for sophomores. A well-informed sophomore has a good chance at N+1 housing, or if they are lucky N+1 duplexes. Furthermore, Admin has recently invested additional funds for the various House Committees (HoCo) to host bonding events such as deep-sea fishing, dog sledding, apple picking and excursions. Amanda Flores ‘18 states that the escape from the Yard’s tourists and the quad’s cute dogs are added benefits. According to Stephanie Wong ’18, Quad Houses also provide great summer storage for Quadlings to store their stuff.
To conquer the extra distance, many Quadlings bike or skateboard, become very well versed with the shuttle locator, or simply learn to enjoy the walk. Moses Kim ‘18 says that by biking he can get from his front door to his science classes in “five minutes flat”. Also, cutting through the Cambridge Commons or speed walking down Garden Street cuts down the walking time to close to ten minutes. Joyce Zhou ’17 claims that the ‘long’ walk is a good time to “chat with friends” or “zone out” and “listen to music” to “clear your head”. The walk is particularly manageable for “STEM” concentrators, as the Science Center and Northwest Labs are as far from the River Houses as the Quad. Furthermore, the Quad is walking distance from Porter Square and Harvard Square. It is also close to, the very popular, Cambridge Common restaurant and Star Market grocery.
Most importantly, the Quad community is extremely closely-knit. According to Mehta, the distance contributes to the inter-house unity within the Quad. The isolation of Pfoho, Cabot and Currier from the rest of the nine River Houses makes the Quad almost feel like a large house by itself. Hanging out in the Quad’s lawn on a sunny day or spending time in other common Quad spaces, such as the Cabot Café, is a good way to meet fellow Quadlings and become immersed in the close community. There are plenty of opportunities to bond with HoCos/House Faculty of each house organizing yearly events such as “#Quadded Ice Bar Party”, “Quad Formal” and Brain Breaks that are open to the entire Quad. So, despite the taboo surrounding the Quad and the initial struggle with the distance, the Quad has its silver lining.
Daniel Um ’19 (firstname.lastname@example.org) is looking forward to living in Pfoho next year.