Apart from its beautiful exteriors that are featured extensively in Harvard postcards, Dunster House shines on the inside, too — through its community and community-wide events. This past year, Dunster has held some unique steins, including both an ice cream and fries tasting event. For Halloween, the House pulled a few tricks out of its sleeves to bring the community together by designating certain rooms as “Trick-or-Treat” destinations.
Some other classic Dunster events are the Goat Roast, a spring-barbeque and field-day-like event. Dylan Zhou ’23 said the Goat Roast tradition once used to feature an actual goat that was roasted in the courtyard, but fortunately, that tradition has become a bit more wholesome. Zhou said it now features an outdoor barbeque with a stuffed animal goat and “roasts–as in jokes,” delivered by the Resident Dean. Perhaps Dunster’s most quirky feature is its hand-washing station located in the dining hall itself, where residents can wash their hands. It’s decked out with scented soap and stickers that one can put on afterward to signal that their hands are squeaky clean.
From its traditional aesthetics to its tight-knit community and all the sinks in between, these elements work together to make Dunster a sought-after house every year. To the freshman hoping to win the lottery and get placed in Dunster, HoCo co-chair Leslie Arroyo ’23 said, “I want to emphasize the community. Yes, Dunster is an amazing and beautiful house, and the fact that it's been renovated and its rooms make it special — I personally really love my single. But I think what really makes Dunster amazing is the people. I have just been able to make so many friends outside of my blocking group and feel truly included within the house! I've just felt very close to everyone in the house, including our house administrators and our Resident Dean, and it's been amazing living here.”
Sophomore housing features either a hallway double or a quad with two doubles. These quads are either within Dunster itself or a short walk away in DeWolfe. (Even if you end up outside the main Dunster courtyard in DeWolfe, fear not, because you’ll end up with a quad that has a kitchen and AC!)
And the housing just keeps getting better. As a junior or senior, you’ll likely live in a hallway single or a suite with all sorts of room combinations - you can pick the perfect layout for your friend group! HoCo Co-Chair Miyu Imai ’23 said she loves the architecture of the spaces that Dunster offers. “Since I spent a year and a half away from campus, this is my first time living in Dunster. The moment I stepped in here last fall I really loved it.”
What is your favorite place in the house?
LA: I really enjoy [having] the library. There are times when I might have a big assignment coming up, or something I really need to concentrate on, and I enjoy being in the library and being able to study there for a few hours. But besides that, I think the basement is one of my to-go places. A lot of times I find myself coming down here just to study with friends and sometimes even play ping-pong or foosball.
MI: I love the dining hall! It is the best dining hall ever. It's beautiful. It's spacious. It has really high ceilings and is really pretty, but also it's a place where the community comes together. It's also a place where I can study. I love how there are a lot of people coming in and it's a place where you see friends, but you can also focus and study. And you can also grab food if you're hungry. For me, the dining hall is my go-to place.
What do you think is the biggest misconception about the house?
LA: I feel like I've heard a lot of people say that it's just as far as the quad houses. I will admit it is a little far, but I think I love that we are still part of the river and that we're still close to Harvard Square. So if I want to stop by a restaurant or CVS we're still somewhat close. I think the walk is enjoyable in the sense that you are still connected to the rest of the houses here. You're still able to walk through Harvard Square, so I personally don't think it's too far. I enjoy every walk that I take.
MI: Just walking by the river is an amazing walk on its own. I’ve never found the walk to something like Smith to be too much just because it's so beautiful around here.
If Dunster was a HUDS dish, which one would it be?
MI: Clam Chowder. I love clam chowder. I think it's like the building itself—it has that slightly traditional aspect, but once you're inside, it's beautiful. Sorry, I am a huge fan of clam chowder!
Read more about the other Houses here!