Students in Service and Leadership at Harvard

Semper Cor: The Story of the Cabot House Committee

Every house at Harvard offers something a little unique. They each have their own amenities, architecture, and communities. However, one thing that every house has is a house committee (HoCo) tasked with fostering those communities. At their core, HoCos function to build an inclusive, fun, welcoming community within the house. As a Co-Chair of the Cabot HoCo, I want to make Cabot, as cliché as it sounds, a home for all of our students. HoCos work with several layers of administration, and we are overseen by the Dean of Students Office, as well as our individual houses.

Cabot HoCo has several regular programs we run to foster community: 

However, in addition to regular programming we host special events throughout the year like a Harvard-Yale Tailgate, a party before Yardfest, and a Dutch Auction where people in the house bid for “random” things auctioned off by other members of the house (example from the past include help moving out at the end of the year, piano lessons, 6 loaves of their mom’s famous banana bread).

As a co-chair, I oversee all of it, and am expected to provide ideas, support, and lead the committee. Our committee consists of 17 members and includes 2 co-chairs, 2 social chairs, 3 stein chairs, 2 publicity chairs, 2 IM czars, a wellness chair, a game room czar, a weight room czar, a secretary, a treasurer, and a meme chief.

I am so fortunate to be able to serve in my role. Creating a community is no easy task, and it would be practically impossible to make everyone in the house happy, but I love my house so much. I invested in house life from the beginning of my time in Cabot, but , unfortunately, for most people this is not the case. The community of the house has been one of my largest support networks at Harvard, and many of my best friends come from my house. For this reason, choosing to invest my time in house life and HoCo was an easy decision. I had personally gained so much from the community that I felt it was right to run for a position that would allow me to try and create the same community for others. I was elected by the house in an election, and take great pride that the house entrusted me with this opportunity.

After one weekly meeting that was particularly divisive I leaned over and told my fellow co-chair, “I didn’t think it would be this hard.” He agreed. In that week alone, we had finalized a formal date, visited the bank twice, replied to 8 house administrator emails, recovered a HoCo email account unused since 2016, set up a reimbursement system for ubers to intramural games, opened up Cabot’s new game room, held two social events, and dealt with committee members not doing their part. Through it all, it is hard to find evidence that we were doing anything towards our ultimate goal. It is impossible to quantify a community. Yet, my co-chair and I remained as determined as ever.

Running a HoCo is a challenge. Our budgets seem too small and our target audience seems too disinterested. The houses are one of the more unique communities at Harvard. It is a rare opportunity for a diverse group of students from multiple friend groups, class years, and concentrations to come together and be a part of something larger than themselves. Yet, the housing system is a community unlike any other at Harvard because the students are not choosing to be there. Housing day, when first years are sorted into upperclassmen housing, is random, and Cabot is not a community of which any of our students asked to be a part. Cabot is a slightly further walk from the yard than other houses, and many of the freshman whose doors we knock on for housing day wish that it was somebody else at their door. I do not want this to be a stigma that defines the Cabot community for sophomores entering the house in the fall. Cabot is so much more than a 0.7 mile walk. We are a vibrant community. We actively live our motto of Semper Cor (translates to "Always Heart") by representing our values of kindness, openness, and inclusivity. Yet, we are fun, wild, quirky, and unafraid to be ourselves. Cabot is my home. We are a tight-knit family with so many things to offer our community, and no matter how hard my job as co-chair gets, I am determined to show our new students that we deserve a chance.


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