Inside HARVARD: The inaccessible Dining Halls: Part I

Harvard University - dining halls - streettrotter

Last year I interned as a photojournalist with the Harvard Gazette at The Harvard University. Less did I know that this was my once in a lifetime opportunity to explore the hidden and inaccessible corners of Harvard – historic, legendary and sometime so unbelievable.

This gallery is a peek inside the day-to-day life of an undergrad at the Harvard University, and one can see that the different dining halls spread across the 12 houses on the campus, are the heart and soul of every Harvard-ian’s journey. Not only do these spaces cater with healthy planned meals for the students, but also become their comfort spots overtime, a place they like to call home outside of their own dorm room.

ANNENBERG HALL 

Every house has its own dining hall with a unique decor and charm, making each one of them stand apart from the others on the campus. The grandest of all is the Annenberg dining hall restricted only to the freshmen, with a dim-lit wizardry feel to it. Imagine high wooden walls, a wooden carved ceiling, tall gold chandeliers hanging through the roof, stained glass window paintings filtering the sunlight, portraits and statues mounted throughout the side walls. The dining hall is nothing less than a step inside timeless royalty, much like an year long Hogwarts experience for the freshmen.

Harvard University - dining halls - streettrotter
A scene of the Annenberg dining hall, Harvard University. Photo by Shraddha Gupta.
Harvard University - dining halls - streettrotter
A scene of the Annenberg dining hall, Harvard University. Photo by Shraddha Gupta.
Harvard University - dining halls - streettrotter
The glass stained windows at the Aannenberg dining hall, Harvard University. Photo by Shraddha Gupta.
Harvard University - dining halls - streettrotter
One of the iconic stained glass paintings inside the Annenberg dining hall, Harvard University. Photo by Shraddha Gupta.
Harvard University - dining halls - streettrotter
Amelia Lamp ’19 studying at the Annenberg Dining hall, Harvard University. Photo by Shraddha Gupta.
Harvard University - dining halls - streettrotter
The decor inside the Annenberg dining hall, Harvard University. Photo by Shraddha Gupta.
Harvard University - dining halls - streettrotter
The decor inside the Annenberg dining hall, Harvard University. Photo by Shraddha Gupta.

KIRKLAND HALL

Contrastingly different from Annenberg is the Kirkland house dining hall, a beautifully lit room full of friendly faces including students, dining hall staff, tutors, maintenance staff, house staff, and the faculty deans, who all converge here in a common space.

Harvard University - dining halls - streettrotter
A morning scene at the Kirkland house dining hall, Harvard University. Photo by Shraddha Gupta.
Harvard University - dining halls - streettrotter
A morning scene at the Kirkland house dining hall, Harvard University. Photo by Shraddha Gupta.

“Kirkland’s dining hall is the nexus of all that happens in the House. Most of all, it’s a space where many things can happen. In one single mealtime, a multitude of things are occurring all at once: a tutor works on her dissertation while students wish her luck; a group of juniors dine with their roommates and unwind; a student sits down and meets a new friend; another reads the Crimson; several students have a group meeting; a student catches up on email; a sophomore adviser and sophomore advisee chat about academics; and everything in between,” said Kate Drizos Cavell, House Administrator of the Kirkland House, Harvard University.

“I think it’s rare that one single place can be so many things at once for so many people: an office, a study space, a meeting place, a lounge, a dining room, and most of all, a home.”

Harvard University - dining halls - streettrotter
Wall decor inside the Kirkland house dining hall, Harvard University. Photo by Shraddha Gupta.

MATHER HALL

The dining hall of Mather house is notably one of the most modern looking dining halls with urban brick walls and tall glass windows overlooking the Charles river. As refreshing as it can be, students claim to love studying in this particular space, simply because of its stimulating view and lots of natural light to soak in. “I study here a lot. I think it’s one of the most welcoming space in Mather. A lot of people study here while looking at the river, and when its sunny, its really pretty”, said August Strover ‘18.

Harvard University - dining halls - streettrotter
A scene of the Mather house dining hall, Harvard University. Photo by Shraddha Gupta.
Harvard University - dining halls - streettrotter
Hanaa Masalmeh, a sophomore studying at the Mather house dining hall, Harvard University. Photo by Shraddha Gupta.

Another resident student of Mather hall, Jing Qui ‘16 shared, “You can see the sunset from the glass wall, and when it’s the Regatta at the Charles, most of us just sit and watch it from here in our pajamas”.

Harvard University - dining halls - streettrotter
August Stover ’18 studying inside the Mather house dining hall, Harvard University. Photo by Shraddha Gupta.
Harvard University - dining halls - streettrotter
Margaret Pruce ’17 studding inside the Mather house dining hall, Harvard University. Photo by Shraddha Gupta.
Harvard University - dining halls - streettrotter
Jing Qui ’16 studying inside the Mather house dining hall, Harvard University. Photo by Shraddha Gupta.

For more pictures of the other dining halls at Harvard, visit part II for this post here: https://streettrotter.com/photo-diaries/inside-harvard-dining-halls-part-two/