About Fall Clean-Up

"As I reflect back on my life, that 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

Why Fall Clean-Up?

For more than sixty years, Dorm Crew has welcomed Harvard first-years to campus for our annual Fall Clean-Up (FCU). Today, FCU is one of Harvard College's six pre-orientation programs—and the only one that pays! Every year, more than 300 incoming first-years join us to forge lasting friendships while learning their way around campus and preparing the dorms and houses for move-in. 

Year after year, students have found Fall Clean-Up to be a rewarding and challenging experience that offers a great community of friends and provides an unrivaled introduction to the exciting diversity of the Harvard community, the aged beauty of Harvard's historic 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 you to what life at Harvard is all about. To learn even more about FCU, check out the experiences of past FCU participants.

What is Fall Clean-Up?

During the six days preceding first-year move-in, Dorm Crew prepares Harvard dorms and upperclassman Houses for students’ return to campus. FCU participants work on small crews of 10-15 fellow first-years led by one of our captains. Most students find their captains—sophomores, juniors, and seniors from around the world—to be a valuable resource with whom they can discuss the transition to college and hear candid reflections about life at Harvard. More importantly, FCU participants consistently develop a strong sense of community and friendship while working with their crews. The conversations crew mates share throughout the work day foster this camaraderie and are the lifeblood of Fall Clean-Up: our philosophy is that the bonds of community formed over shared work and accomplishment help engender the empathy and openness that are foundational to a Harvard education. 

FCU participants start the day by getting breakfast with their fellow FCUers and Captains, then head to different buildings to work for the day. Although the work is demanding, lunch is provided every day and each work day is followed with community dinners and a variety of fun events and activities including upperclass student panels on how to navigate through Harvard, an ice cream social, a trivia night, a 300-person water blaster battle, scavenger hunt and more! 
These events are great opportunities to get comfortable with being at Harvard, to help students make friends with whom they can enjoy their first meals at Annenberg, and hear from other captains about their Harvard experiences. After FCU, Captains remain available to help and guide their crews with understanding how to pick classes, manage time during the semester, and get the most out of the Harvard experience! Check out the "Meet the Captains" page to see what each Captain is studying and how they might be able to advise you.