Harvard students who lived on campus during the summer reported poor communication and a lack of support regarding housing logistics from administrators.
Some students were eligible to live on campus during the summer from May 15 to August 14. The College has also provided “bridging” accommodation to some students – including those with “extenuating personal circumstances” – for the week leading up to the fall semester.
Some students living in summer and transitional housing described their residential experience as stressful, citing worries about food availability and repeated moves on campus.
Julia Welsh ’23, a resident of summer and bridge housing, urged top Harvard administrators to better support low-income students as they transition to bridge housing in a letter to Harvard officials. the school, including University President Lawrence S. Bacow, Harvard College Dean Rakesh Khurana, and Faculty of Arts and Science Dean Claudine Gay.
In the letter, Welsh wrote that the summer move to transitional housing was placing a financial burden on her low-income peers, leaving some of them without the means to eat. Many students were unaware that they would not be allowed to eat in the dining halls during their transitional accommodation, she said.
Although Welsh herself had access to the dining hall throughout the summer due to her attendance at a summer program, she sent the email on behalf of her peers.
Bridging accommodation students had access to communal kitchens at Eliot House and Leverett House. After initially restricting access to undergraduate dining halls, Harvard College’s housing office informed residents of the bridge on August 16 that they would receive a $75 stipend and have access to dining halls from the August 18.
Students had access to kitchens — either en-suite or communal — for the duration of the summer, according to a Harvard spokesperson.
Jenny H. Lé ’24, a low-income first-generation college student, said she was unexpectedly relocated to alternate accommodation in July, forcing her to take time off from work to move her belongings.
“We were all in shock because we were all working over 40 hours a week – like more than full-time jobs,” she said. “So we just didn’t know when we would find the time to move.”
Amiel Bakshi ’23 described a lack of communication from administrators regarding the move of summer and transitional housing.
“In terms of support and resources during the moving and moving in process, there were zero resources,” he said. “I was on the verge of tears trying to figure out how to literally move all my stuff from place to place, to place.”
Bakshi said one of his teachers helped him move his boxes between his summer, transitional and term housing.
Lé said she also recruited a teacher to help her move her things to summer accommodation.
Kwaku O. Adubofour ’24, a member of the football team, said Harvard could have put in place “more efficient” ways to handle staging accommodation for athletes.
“I just wish the school could find a way to help their athletes move into their accommodation in a smoother way that takes into account the rigor of playing the sport in pre-season and the rigor of moving in. “, did he declare.
Student-athletes participating in the fall pre-season were not required to apply for bridging housing, as the College automatically marked them eligible. Other students had to apply individually and were approved on a case-by-case basis.
Harvard College spokesman Aaron Goldman declined to comment on student criticism of summer and transitional housing.
James C. Glaser ’25, who lived at Winthrop House over the summer, said Harvard housing is “such a hot commodity,” making it difficult to arrange.
“It ends up feeling a bit [like] patchwork, which can be frustrating,” he said.
Despite the challenges, Lé said she was “tremendously grateful” to have summer accommodation.
“I know there’s a bunch of people who had jobs here in the summer but didn’t have summer accommodation,” she said. “For that, I’m extremely grateful because I don’t know where I would live if I didn’t have on-campus housing.”
—Editor Audrey M. Apollon can be reached at [email protected]
—Writer Dekyi T. Tsotsong can be reached at [email protected]