About Fall Clean-Up


Fall Clean-Up with Dorm Crew began in the 1950’s as a student employment and leadership opportunity for incoming first-years and returning students. Harvard sought to create a University program of, by, and for students that could provide valuable management and work experience as well as financial support to undergraduates. Joining Dorm Crew—and Fall Clean-Up in particular—soon became a popular community-building and bonding experience for the incoming students who participated. One of the oldest alumni testimonials in our archive captures a sentiment still common among participants half a century later:

[T]hat first week or two of freshman year, with the bonding with my fellow freshman Dorm Crew members, was an extraordinary stress reliever as we found out about each other and that we were all scared to death that Harvard had made a mistake admitting each one of us! I will never forget those initial few weeks in Cambridge. 
—Ray Peters '69  

Fall Clean-Up Today

As the 70th Fall Clean-Up approaches, the program's guiding philosophy remains the same: we believe the bonds of community formed over shared work and accomplishment engender the empathy and openness that are foundational to a Harvard education.  The program is still one of, by, and for students, and the basic structure remains the same:  small teams of first-years led by returning student managers work together to clean and prepare the dorms for move-in, make friends, and learn about life at Harvard.

Today, Dorm Crew offers not only employment and management training, but mentoring, support, and alumni networking to more than 800 students annually.  Dorm Crew is just one of many on-campus employers committed to creating valuable work experiences for undergraduates that offer not only a paycheck, but  also opportunities for personal growth, skill-building, and leadership development. During Fall Clean-Up, students will have the chance to explore and engage with Harvard’s campus and community through various planned events and programming:

  • Get to Know Campus
    • Tours of Harvard and Cambridge
    • Gym tours
    • Cross-campus scavenger hunt
  • “How to Harvard”
      • Captain/Alumni Q&A Panel                                                                           
      • Small group discussions led by Captains about life at Harvard
      • The Dorm Crew Alumni Network connects students with Harvard alumni willing to share their expertise and career advice as you navigate through Harvard and beyond. 
    • Get to Know the Community
      • Community meals in the dining hall with Captains and fellow FCU participants
      • Ice cream social
      • Trivia night
      • Movie screenings
    • #HarvardWorks
      • What to do with Your First Paycheck: workshop with the Harvard Credit Union
      • More Than a Job: learn how student employment can be a valuable and integrated part of your undergraduate experience
      • Open House with the Office of Career Services

    Why Fall Clean-Up?

    Year after year, students have found Fall Clean-Up to be a rewarding experience that offers a great community of friends and an unrivaled introduction to the diversity of the Harvard community, the aged beauty of Harvard's student residences, and the vibrant life of Harvard Square. Under the guidance of our upperclassman captains, we aim to deliver a Fall Clean-Up experience that truly orients students to what life at Harvard is all about. 

    “I loved FCU because I met some of my best friends at Harvard and found a community that has been really important to me throughout my time in college.” 
    Sarah E. Lagan ‘19