By Madeline R. Conway, Crimson Staff Writer
“The concrete jungle,” “concrete seduction,” or just “concrete” are all words Mather House residents throw around when describing their home. Opened in 1970, Mather is among the most recently established of Harvard’s 12 upperclassman Houses, and its primarily gray exterior makes that fact apparent to passersby. Although peers in Adams might be quick to make condescending remarks about Mather’s distance from Mass. Ave. and shortage of wood paneling, students who call Mather home are quick to highlight its unique amenities (chief among them its abundance of single bedrooms).
Housing: What to Expect

Ask a Matherite for the highlight of living in the House, and chances are the phrase “singles for life” will come up. Mather residents get a single every semester they live there—it’s the only one of the 12 Houses with that guarantee. And you know what they say: singles for life means you won’t be single for life.

Sophomores often populate the House’s low-rise building, composed of duplex suites with single bedrooms on one floor and a common room on the other, though some score singles in Mather Tower. Many upperclassmen choose to live in the Tower, where they live in enormous single bedrooms with views of Cambridge, Boston, and the Charles River—the higher up you go, the better the view, made all the better without the Tower in the skyline.

The low-rise’s “corner suites,” which feature singles off huge common rooms, are popular party suites in the House. Residents will tell you that you won’t need to leave Mather to find a party on a Saturday night—just walk through a hallway in the low-rise, and chances are, you’ll find more than a few. (As for pests, you’re unlikely to find many in Mather, with its thick walls and concrete exterior.)

The Lowdown

If you favor traditional Harvard architecture and wood flooring, Mather may not be your first pick—or your 9th. Still, Matherites say they get used to their House’s exterior after a while, and note that with its network of underground tunnels, you can walk from any one point in the House to another without going outside.

Residents praise their dining hall, too, which has a view of the Charles River and its own kitchen. Mather’s distance from the Yard means that the dhall is never too crowded, so you’ll always be able to find a seat. The students who eat lunch in Mather’s dhall usually live there, so some residents say meals help foster a community feel.

The Mather House Committee hosts Happy Hours roughly every other week, usually on Fridays. And although some have noted a decline in Mather’s House spirit over the past few years, HoCo Co-Chair Damian Pietrus ’15 says that the Committee is working on building up House spirit this year and hosting events that appeal to a lot of students.

Matherites speak highly of their beloved resident dean, Luke Leafgren, who hosts regular movie nights for House residents. Their House Masters, Christie McDonald and Michael Rosengarten, host regular open houses (complete with monkey bread and heated stone floors!).

Why Your Friends Will Be Jealous

It probably goes without saying that one of Mather’s biggest assets is the lure of its many single bedrooms—have we mentioned this yet?—but there’s more to the House than n+1. Mather boasts some famous alumni, including Conan O’Brien ’85, and is home to one of the more notorious House traditions, Mather Lather, an annual foam party held in the dhall, which is always well-attended by drunk freshmen on the prowl.

Mather residents also enjoy a number of extra facilities, among them its Big TV Room and a pottery studio located in the basement of the Tower. Mather is also home to its own art gallery, the Sandra Naddaff and Leigh Hafrey Three Columns Gallery, which you can admire while walking to the dhall.

And freshmen, if you get placed in Mather on Housing Day, you’ll be joining the ranks of two House mascots—a lion (like on the Mather crest) and a gorilla (you’ll probably see someone dressed up in a gorilla suit amidst all the fanfare next Thursday).

And, of course, we can’t forget the Mather Express, the shuttle servicing Mather that runs frequently throughout the day. If you take the shuttle, you can travel to Northwest Labs in a fraction of the time it would take your friend in Kirkland to walk.

But Don’t Get Too Excited

Every House, though, has its flaws, and to call Mather’s distance from the Yard inconvenient might be an understatement. It’s the farthest River House from the Yard, so good luck waking up 10 minutes before class starts and running to section on time. That said, the shuttle stop outside the front gate will become your best friend, and walking will always present an opportunity to exercise.

You’ll also miss out on living in a House that’s what you might think of as traditional “Harvard,” and although some students will praise Mather’s unique exterior, others just call it ugly. That might be more of a drawback, though, for the Dunster residents whose windows overlook it. But who cares about Dunster?