Every day between now and Housing Day, Flyby will release two new House rankings. The top two Houses will be revealed on Wednesday, March 13. Check back daily for updates!
Dunster House was built in 1930, and has the history (and housing) to match. Sure the nine minute walk from Dunster to the Yard isn't exactly ideal and the housing is at best subpar, but Dunster makes up for its flaws with fantastic House spirit and a dining hall that serves the best you can expect from HUDS. And if you're the type of person that values looks, Dunster House with its iconic red dome is one of the most beautiful buildings at Harvard.
House Spirit: Dunster House does Dunster House spirit pretty damn well. Dunster "meese" are overflowing with D Haus pride. The stein clubs are consistently well-attended and the House's other events—its annual goat roast for instance—draw students from across Harvard's campus.
Housing Quality: The quality of Dunster housing might be the its greatest shortcoming. Walk-through bedrooms are the most common setup in Dunster, and although seniors are generally guaranteed n+1 housing, juniors and sophomores consistently have to settle for n housing. Dunster's rooms are also known for being smaller than those in other Houses. The House is slated for renovation in June 2014 as part of the College's ongoing House renewal project, and hopefully that update will eliminate walk-throughs and boost Dunster in future Flyby rankings. And for now, there's always DeWolfe.
Dining Hall: The dining hall is one of the highlights of Dunster House. Covered in dark oak paneling, illuminated by chandeliers, and filled with long tables, the center of Dunster House life breeds a communal vibe and screams "Old Harvard." The food in Dunster's dining hall is arguably the best on campus, but most students don't realize that the trek to Dunster is worth it. As a result there are rarely long lines in the servery, meaning you'll get to the red spice chicken that much faster.
Facilities: Dunster is one of the few Houses on campus with an in-House grille, meaning when another snow storm hits Harvard, you won't have to leave the comfort of your home for some late night mozz sticks. The library boasts the same classic architectural vibe that gives the rest of Dunster its charm. The House also has a pottery room that offers semester-long courses and six squash courts, some of which have been converted into a weight room, cardio room, indoor basketball court, and indoor volleyball court.
House Masters: Government Professor Roger B. Porter and his wife, Ann Porter, are among the longest-serving House masters at Harvard. The Porters are pleasant and loving leaders of Dunster. They rarely introduce new events or ideas into House life, but there's something to be said for sticking to and maintaining traditions.
Extra: Part of what makes Dunster so unique is its annual events, including the Dunster House Opera, the goat roast, and the Hoedown Throwdown. The House has been home to a long list of celebrities, including Al Gore '69, Tommy Lee Jones '69, Norman K. Mailer '43, and Deval L. Patrick '78. Dunster may not be the most centrally located of Houses, but at least it's one of the closest to Trader Joe's. And hey, at least it isn't the Quad.
Our rankings so far:
Disclaimer: Flyby's 2013 House Rankings, though unscientific, are based on careful research and review by the Flyby Staff. We encourage you to read the full posts—rather than the rankings alone—to learn more about each House. As difficult as it makes our jobs, there is good to be found in every one of the twelve.