Social Life at Harvard

  • Fans at Harvard-Yale Freshman Tailgate

    Go Crimson! Harvard and Yale meet every November for a historic football rivalry

  • Freshman Formal

    The Freshman Formal is an annual tradition. This year’s “Great Gala” was Gatsby themed.

  • Celebrate Halloween with Scaritas

    Trick or treat? Halloween brings costume parties and pumpkin carving contests.

  • Gingerbread House Decorating with Friends

    Be a kid all over again and enjoy house-decorating during the holiday season.

  • Ice Skating on Boston Common's Frog Pond

    Make the most of New England winters and join classmates for an afternoon on ice.


Meeting new people, making friends, and visiting new places makes college a unique time in life. Given how hard students work, it is important to take a break, relax, and have fun! While freshmen are welcome to attend performances, events, and dance parties that are often being hosted by the Houses and student organizations, there are also a number of freshman-specific social opportunities hosted by your peers with support from the Freshman Dean’s Office. Check out the events-list for regular updates and let us know if you have an idea for a fun event.

Class-wide Parties and Social Events

During each month of the year, the First-Year Social Committee (FYSC) sponsors social events for the entire freshman class. Some of the traditional annual events include the Freshman Formal, a Halloween Costume Party, and a Housing Day Eve celebration. All events hosted by the FYSC are no cost, alcohol-free, and open to the entire class (except for the Formal which is a ticketed event).

Student-Initiated Events

First-year students may reserve Yard Common Rooms to host standard events, which are open to the whole Class, and private events, which are restricted to invited participants. Please visit the Common Room Reservations page of our website for more information.

First-year students may also host private gatherings in their suites. These events can be held Fridays and Saturdays until 1:00 am. A party registration form must be submitted to a student’s Proctor for approval no later than 3:00 pm the day before the party.  

Make Your Own Fun

First Year FUNds offer funding to first-year students for a social event, cultural activity, or excursion that encourages you and your classmates to get together and have fun. The full or partial cost will be provided by the FDO. Another source of funding for alcohol-free social events is provided by the Drug and Alcohol Peer Advisors (DAPAs).

College-wide Social Happenings

The College Events Board (CEB) plans occasional campus-wide social events. While the CEB offers tons of events, three of their most popular annual events include:

  • Welcome Back! A carnival-like party for the entire student body held in September.
  • Harvard-Yale Pep Rally. A late-night, spirit-filled rally in Harvard Yard.
  • YardFest. Famous artists play in a blow-out, outdoor concert.

Cambridge Queen’s Head Pub

Located on the ground level of historic Memorial Hall, the Cambridge Queen's Head is a student-run pub serving the entire Harvard community. With three HDTVs, a shuffle board, pool table, and dartboard, the CQH is a fun, relaxing, and safe social space for freshmen, as well as the site of brain break on Mondays, Tuesday, and Wednesdays during term. Check the events calendar for weekly wing nights, team trivia, and karaoke are hugely popular.