University Merges Allston-Brighton, Cambridge Community Football Days

This year’s Harvard Community Football Day, an annual event put on by the University for neighboring residents, saw a number of departures from  its past incarnations.

Saturday’s event—which coincided with Harvard’s 375th anniversary celebrations—garnered over 11,000 RSVPs from Cambridge and Allston-Brighton residents, but drew a relatively modest turnout at the community tent.

While in past years there have been separate community days for Allston-Brighton and Cambridge residents, the University decided this year to merge the separate days into one event for all Harvard community members to foster a sense of unity in honor of the 375th anniversary.

Residents were invited to mingle in the community tent—featuring two round tables, a raffle, party hats, temporary Harvard tattoos, and crayons and coloring pages for children—before watching the football team play Bucknell University.

University President Drew G. Faust made an appearance at the event, stopping by for about 15 minutes to greet residents.


“This is a very upbeat time for us to be neighbors and share a positive community experience with each other,” Faust said. “This is one of the special parts of living in a college community.”

In a departure from previous Allston-Brighton community days, which traditionally served sub sandwiches in the community tent, residents were given vouchers good for one hot dog, one bag of chips, and one beverage from a stadium vendor, a model used during past Cambridge community days.

The University opted for the coupon system in order to accommodate the expected large turnout and allow residents to eat in the stands while watching the football game.

While Cambridge resident Sarah Klein said the event “makes her feel very kindly toward Harvard,” other attendees were not so complimentary.

“The event should go back to the way it used to be. Before, they were more fun, and the food was right here,” said long-time Allston resident Rita M. DiGesse, who said she has been attending community day for years.

She recalled that in previous years, hundreds of people would attend the event.

“Now you’re lucky if you see 50,” she said.

Furthermore, DiGesse added that the group was largely Cambridge residents, noting the absence of an Allston presence among the gaggle of community members mingling in the tent.

However, DiGesse did praise the University for making the event—which was once dominated by adults—more fun for children.

Allston resident Timothy K., who declined to provide his full last name to protect his privacy, came with his two sons—nine-year-old Aiden and thirteen-year-old Liam—both of whom had the opportunity to talk with Faust.