Give Us Our Housing Day

Give Us Our Housing Day

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Katherine Zhu started this petition to President Lawrence Bacow and

As a Harvard first-year, I just heard the devastating news that Housing Day is postponed. Even while I was merely a hopeful high school senior applying to Harvard, I already knew about Housing Day and its reverence as one of Harvard's most beloved traditions: from talking to alumni to my upperclassmen friends to parents of past Harvard students, Housing Day was described as an experience that one would always remember.

I understand and am grateful for the administrations' steps so far in responding to the chance of COVID-19 being present on Harvard's campus, but I do not understand why Housing Day needs to be postponed and, as it seems to be, eventually cancelled entirely. 


Housing Day involves only members of the Harvard Community, and mainly just the undergraduate student body. The storming of dorms by upperclassmen to notify freshman of what houses they have been placed into - the part of Housing Day that most of my fellow first-years were looking forward to - not only does NOT involve a gathering of more than 100 people within a confined setting, but does not change any of the interactions that already take place on Harvard's campus daily. Annenberg dining hall continues to be open, gathering hundreds of first-years (and upperclassmen for breakfast) every day; large lectures continue to be held in confined settings that exceed 100 people; and midterms continue on, gathering more than 100 students in one hall for an extended period of time.


We do understand that some aspects of Housing Day could be more dangerous in encouraging the spread of a possible COVID-19 case, but most of us would agree that we would be willing to sacrifice not experiencing certain parts of Housing Day in order to still preserve and keep this tradition alive in one way or another for the Class of 2023, and we would be very open to changes to be made to have a modified Housing Day.


The most important thing is that us first-years will never get to "redo" Housing Day. It is simply an experience that cannot be recreated again, unlike other big events that could be pushed back and still give the same effect for its participants. A postponing of Housing Day almost certainly ensures that the entire event will get cancelled altogether, as it makes no sense to storm dorms after first-years already know what House they are in, and the virus will only get worse from this point on, not better. 


If any time, the time to have Housing Day is NOW. 


Continue on with Housing Day on March 12, 2020. Do NOT take away this experience from my entire class of Harvard who will never be able to experience the magic of it ourselves. And with the cancellation of so many other events already that have already ruined many people's spring semester experiences, please: give us this ONE tradition, this ONE thing, this ONE memory that we will hold in our hearts forever before the entirety of the rest of our spring semester might get taken away after spring break. 


Speaking for myself, I don't want to look back at my first-year here and have the disappointment in my heart be the reigning emotion I feel over all the love I have developed for Harvard in the fall semester. 


Give us our Housing Day.

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