Pforzheimer House: Pride, Spirit, and Community
Written: Sep 20, 2000
a Somewhat Helpful Review
by the Epinions community
Pros:Tight-knit house community, Excellent administration, residents, tutors, and support, Dining hall is beautiful, Spacious Rooms, Peaceful setting of dorm
Cons:Long Walk to Harvard Square, Little Late night food nearby, Long walk to Friends by the River.
Freshman year when I opened my lottery placement envelope to find which of the upperclass houses at Harvard I would be placed into, I saw Pforzheimer House and my heart sank into my stomach. I had been "quadded." I had been banished to the old Radcliffe Quad, a region that seemed miles and miles away from the freshman dorms that I considered my homes. Fortunately, this sinking feeling did not last long. That afternoon in fact I got my first taste of the spirit and energy that would make me fall in love with this close-knit community of the second smallest house at Harvard College. That day as I went to the dining hall to receive my house t-shirt, I walked out of the yard and was inundated by the vision of 30-40 "Pfoho" residents waving signs and screaming at us, the newest members of the house. Despite being the second smallest house, they were easily the most well-represented at the house welcoming and I began to think to myself, "Maybe it won't be so bad living in the quad."
Every upperclass house at Harvard has its positive and negative aspects. Over the past year I have grown to appreciate both these aspects in Pforzheimer house. After being "quadded" the negatives of the house were the first to jump out at me. The distance of the 3 Radcliffe Quad Houses (Cabot, Currier, and Pforzheimer) from both Harvard Square, Harvard Yard, and the River Houses was an enormous concern of mine as I entered my upperclass house. Would I keep in touch with my friends when they were so far away? Would I grow tired of the walk down to classes or Harvard Square. The walk can be inconvenient at times when you are visiting friends down by the river or if you have athletic practices/workouts across the river. That said, the administration does do a lot to ease this walk and the perceived separation from the other River houses. A shuttle runs every 10 minutes from the Quad down to Harvard Square and the Science Center throughout the day, and continues running, but less frequently well into the night. Fly-by lunches and Pfoho's newly acquired dining priveleges in Adam's House(the closest house to Harvard Yard) both alleviate problems students would have with eating lunch or other meals during classtime. After a busy day of classes, I have even grown to like the 10 minute walk back to Pfoho as a means of relaxing and enjoying being outside. After a day of hectic activity, the quiet calm of the Quad is actually quite relaxing. Another problem I had with living in the Quad was that while the River houses had bustling Harvard Square to entertain them and feed them well into the night, the Quad was more suburban and the areas surrounding it generally shut down around 12-1 AM. The administration throughout the Quad plans many Quad wide-activities to ease this problem. Also, in recent years, the Quad has developed a reputation for having many late-night student gatherings and has become a social center for upperclassmen. The walk to the Quad has seemingly become shorter from the River.
Weighing against these negatives are the many positive aspects of living in the Quad and Pforzheimer. The rooms in the Quad are generally much more spacious than River houses, especially for Sophomores. In Pforzheimer, the Junior and Senior duplex rooms are amazingly spacious with a common room and a bedroom on the first floor and a staircase up to 2 bedrooms and a private bathroom on the second floor. Oh, did I forget to mention the skylights?!?!?! The Pfoho Dining hall is beautiful, with large windows allowing natural lighting in and a second floor overlooking the main dining area.
The last thing to mention in regards to Pfoho, but perhaps the most important is the community that encompasses the house. The small scale of the house allows one to recognize faces throughout the house, and culminates enormous spirit in the house. This contributed with the Quad spirit that develops throughout the years makes Pfoho an amazing environment in which to live.
Despite some of its downsides, the Pforzheimer and Quad spirit eventually won me over to life in my dorm. In the end I love the spirit and community that I have become a part of and I do not miss the Square as much as I expected to.
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