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The Radcliffe Quadrangle at Harvard University, formerly the residential campus of Radcliffe College, is part of Harvard's undergraduate campus, in Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA. Generally just called the Quad, it is a traditional college quad slightly removed from the main part of campus. It should not be confused with Radcliffe Yard or with Harvard Yard — where most classes are conducted.
The term "the Quad" can refer to the rectangular green field bounded by Cabot and Pforzheimer Houses, or it can refer to the entire section of campus bounded by Garden, Linnaean, Walker, and Shepard Streets, plus the Jordans, which are east of Walker Street. This larger area consists of the Quad green itself as well as Hilles, which formerly contained the Quad Library, and all of Pforzheimer, Cabot, and Currier Houses, including the Cabot Masters' Residence and the Jordans.
Currier and Hilles are separated from the rest of the Quad by a landscaped walk and paved road, a private way used mainly by campus shuttlebuses, that runs north-south through the Quad.
Other adjacent portions of campus, such as the Botanic Gardens, Kittredge, the Quadrangle Recreational Athletic Center (Q-RAC), and the Observatory, are often also grouped as part of the Quad.
Residents of the three Quad Houses are called Quadlings (after the Quadlings of the Oz books); they tend to be extremely loyal to their Houses and to each other as an outgrowth of their shared relative separation from the main campus.
All nine other Houses (called River Houses for their proximity to the Charles River), all freshman dorms, and almost all undergraduate classrooms and department offices are located in the main part of campus surrounding Harvard Square, which is located about half a mile from the Quad, and which is often called the River by Harvard students. Although not all the houses are equidistant from Harvard Yard, shuttles run to the Quad and the more distant river houses to transport students to class.
Freshmen, who have no control over which upperclass Houses they will be randomly assigned to, often fear being assigned to the Quad (also known as being "quadded"). However, many find a sense of community in the Quad and come to love it.
The benefits of Quad life include fervent spirit and Quad community; better housing arrangements than the River, with larger modern rooms and more common spaces; and the suburban and residential atmosphere of the Quad neighborhood as an area distinct from the academic parts of the Harvard campus. The drawbacks are also often exaggerated, as the Quad is no farther from the Science Center than Mather House or Dunster House, and shuttlebuses run to the Yard throughout the day and to the entire campus at night.
The Quad began as housing for (female) Radcliffe College students in 1901; male students first moved in around 1970. The Quad became fully coresidential in 1972, when Radcliffe College and Harvard University agreed to let their respective students live on the other institution's campus.
Early in its history, Radcliffe College was unofficially called "the Harvard Annex," and its dorms were called "Annex housing" by Harvard students. Within Radcliffe culture, however, the collection of dormitories was officially called the "Radcliffe Quadrangle". Because of the terms of the merger agreement between Harvard University and Radcliffe College, the Radcliffe Quadrangle and the Radcliffe Yard are designated as "Radcliffe" in perpetuity. For more on Radcliffe's shifting role in the University, see Radcliffe College.
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