Building & Maintenance Info

Mather House Building Manager: Miguel Casillas, Jr.
Tel: 617-495-4826 E-mail:

Do-It-Yourself Maintenance

The College must insist that all maintenance be handled through the Building Manager's office. Even well-meaning do-it-yourself maintenance can cause serious damage and liabilities. For example, using over the counter caustic drain cleaners to open clogged drains can damage pipes and be a threat to the safety of maintenance personnel.

Items Banned by the College and/or Building Manager

The following items are not permitted in Mather:

  1. Pets of any kind
  2. Waterbeds
  3. Halogen lamps
  4. Cooking appliances of any kind (except HSA-distributed microwave/refrigerator combos)

Reporting a Building-Related Emergency

Building-related emergencies (floods, black-outs, etc.) should be reported to the Building Manager's office, 495-4826. If the Building Manager's office is unattended, call the University Operation Center directly at 495-5560.

Window Screens, Drapes, Shades, Blinds & Doors

Do not remove any window screens, drapes, shades, blinds or doors, as they are easily lost or broken. Report any problem to the Building Manager. A charge for repair or replacement that can be attributed to neglect or student damage will be placed on your term bill.

Pest Problems

If you find cockroaches, ants, or other insects in your suite, the first thing to do is find the source that is attracting them. Make sure that absolutely all perishables are in sealed containers, that there are no spills or crumbs on the floor or empty unwashed beverage bottles. If the problem persists, report it to the Building Manager.


Toilet paper, trash can liners are available at the Building Manager's office. Equipment such as vacuum cleaners, brooms, dustpans, may be borrowed from the Building Manager's office. Please return the equipment borrowed on a timely manner so others can use.

Vacuum Cleaners: You can borrow a vacuum cleaner in the Building Manager’s Office. There is a half-hour loan period. Please return the vacuum cleaner in a timely fashion and report any malfunctions so that it will be available to other members of the House.


Students must request replacement keys from the Building Manager. Keys lost during the term cost $10.

Laundry Facilities

Ample washing machines and dryers are provided in the two laundries: Fourth floor B-entry and Tower basement. Click here:
to report a problem with a washer or dryer. LandryView, which lets you see open washers and driers is here: Lowrise or Tower.

Lock Outs

During business hours (M-F 8:00 AM to 4:00 PM), the Building Manager's office will let you into your room. From 4:00 PM to 8:00 AM the Security Guard will let you into your room. During the day on weekends and holidays, the Tutor-on-Call will let you into your room, though you might have to wait if he/she is away from Mather when you call. Contact information will be posted on the door of the Building Manager’s Office.


Mail is delivered daily, Monday through Friday. The official Mather House mailing address is:

Student Name
[Box Number], Mather Mail Center
Cambridge, MA 02138
Some mail carriers will not deliver to a box number, and in those cases you can use
Mather's street address (10 Cowperthwaite Street) IN ADDITION TO your box number.


In Mather House, you will be notified of any package, special delivery, flowers, etc. delivered to the Building Manager's office by e-mail. Please come by at your earliest convenience to pick it up.

Bathroom Cleaning in Student Suites

Tower bathrooms are normally cleaned every two weeks (Thursdays - Fridays) and the Low-Rise bathrooms are normally cleaned on a weekly basis by C&W Services Porter Program. If your bathroom is not cleaned at this interval or to your satisfaction, please e-mail Miguel (Building Manager) at

Telephone/Network Information

Please direct any questions about setting up or maintaining your network connection to the Computer Services Help Desk at (617) 495-9000 or You can also visit for more information.

Trash Procedures

Residents should bring trash to receptacles in the following locations:
- Low-Rise A Entry basement.
- Low-Rise B Entry Trash Room (at the bottom of the stairwell)
- Tower basement by the elevators

Liner bags for trash are available in the Building Manager's office.

Recycling Program

Mather House's recycling program depends entirely upon your cooperation. Please do not put trash in recycling receptacles, and pay attention to the specifications throughout the house. Remember: have respect for those who process your recyclables. Your carelessness will create more work for them. Receptacles for recyclables are situated near the trash stations listed in "Trash Procedures" (see above).

Entry & Suite Doors

Entry doors are not to be propped open at any time. Doing so constitutes a breach of security. The majority of thefts each year occur in suites where the door to the entry has been left unsecured.


A centrex phone is located at the main entrance gate of Mather House.
For your safety and that of the Mather community, please follow these guidelines.

  • Do not prop open or leave your suite door unlocked.
  • Do not copy or lend your keys to anyone.
  • Do not allow anyone access to the House unless you know him/her or he/she can show a Harvard identification card.
  • Report all faulty locks and burned out lights to the Building Manager's Office.
  • Report any suspicious looking or acting persons immediately to the University Police at 495-1212.
  • Do not leave your keys unattended (particularly when accompanied by an identification card) as this creates a safety threat to you and your roommates.

Lock Changes

If your keys have been lost or stolen and you have reason to believe that your security is threatened, you and your suitemates may request to have your suite door lock changed. There is a charge of $150 for replacing the lock and keys.

Emergency Exit “Fire Doors”

The fire door locks emit a very loud alarm when the door is open. They can only be turned off with a key carried by the Building Manager and the guards. This primary alarm is local and will not initiate a response from the Fire Department, but everyone in your entryway will hear it, so please don’t try to open these doors.

If you wish to open a fire door between two suites on a permanent basis in order to expand into a larger suite, all residents on both sides of the fire door must request in writing that it be opened and the Building Manager can disarm the alarm. State law requires that these passages be kept clear at all times.

Fire Safety

Please read all fire safety information that is given to you during the orientation conducted in your entryway. Familiarize yourself with the locations of emergency exits and fire extinguishers. Evacuation procedures are posted on the inside of each suite door.

Tampering with fire extinguishers (including breaking the seal on the handle) is viewed by the College as a disregard for the safety of fellow occupants. Individuals deemed responsible for tampering with or altering emergency equipment will be charged for service and repairs and will face college disciplinary action.


Each and every room, closet and hallway has been appointed with new sprinkler heads. When the temperature reaches 130 degrees, the sprinkler head breaks causing water to flow at about 70-90 gallons per minute. The average response time for the Cambridge Fire Department is 8-10 minutes which translates to between 550 to 900 gallons of water at any location.

If a resident, through horseplay or negligence or even accidentally sets off a sprinkler head, the College takes the position that the individual causing the water damage will be held financially responsible for any damage to the building and the personal property of others.

Residents should be especially mindful of the above when engaging in any activities that might result in activating this system. It isn’t just about water, its about a LOT of water in a very short period. This system was designed and put in place to keep you safe. Like any other source of power, it must be treated with respect.

Under no circumstances may anything be attached, hung from or propped against a sprinkler head. Sprinkler heads are VERY SENSITIVE and are easily set off by even a tiny amount of direct pressure. Water damage is a serious problem not only to personal property but it most certainly result in students being displaced from their rooms.

Pull Stations

The pull stations throughout the House have been equipped with protective covers to avoid accidental operation of the system. These covers (when lifted) will also emit a clearly audible alarm that will be heard by occupants. This primary alarm is local and will not initiate a response from the Fire Department.


The fire sprinklers are specifically engineered and licenses for the existing configuration of your suite; therefore, partitioning suites is not allowed. Building a partition could block the discharge of a sprinkler and allow a fire to start and grow in an unprotected section of the suite. If you build a partition, you will be asked to take it down immediately and term-billed for the cost of removal and related repairs.

Cooking Appliances

City of Cambridge ordinances and Harvard College regulations forbid cooking in any room or apartment not equipped with permanent cooking facilities. Cooking equipment (toaster ovens, hot plates, microwaves, electric coffee makers, tea kettles, etc.) is prohibited in such places. Please don't bring them; we can't let you keep them.

Suite Inspections

Suites will be inspected periodically during the year and at the end of the academic year. The purpose for inspections is to make sure all rooms comply with safety regulations, to check for needed repairs and that the guidelines noted in this booklet are being followed. Inspections during the academic year will be conducted with proper notice.

Decorating Your Suite

Please make yourself familiar with the following guidelines:

  • No nails, tacks, picture hooks, or other objects that create holes in may be used on walls, doors, moldings, ceilings, or floors.
  • No masking tape, scotch tape, two sided tape, glue-backed corkboards, or other adhesives may be used.
  • Only College-provided poster gum ("HOLD IT"), or molding hooks and picture wire may be used in these rooms.

These supplies are available in the Building Manager's office. The cost to you of filling in nail or tack holes, sanding and spray-painting one wall will be a minimum of $100 and could be more than $200. These rules will be strictly enforced.

Painting of Suite

Residents will not be permitted to paint their rooms or suites. If there is a section of a suite that is in particularly bad condition, the Building Manager may arrange to have it painted at his discretion. Please note that any change to the fabric of a suite or apartment will be considered damage subject to charge.


Each student is allocated one bed (including mattress), one desk, one chair, one lamp, one built –in dresser and one bookcase. The in-suite common room is furnished as well (a sofa, two chairs, and two occasional tables). Student furniture may NOT be removed from your suite. DO NOT leave furniture in entries or hallways because it is a fire hazard. There is no furniture storage. If you are bringing your own bed the student bed provided must be stored within your suite. Furniture removed from your suite will result of a term bill charge.

Space Heaters

The use of space heaters is strongly discouraged because they are fire hazards and are an inefficient use of energy. Ideally, they should not be necessary; if your room is overheated or cold, bring it to the attention of the Building Manager so that the necessary alterations can be made.


Students may keep a refrigerator in their room for personal use if the unit meets the following specifications: Size: not to exceed 36" high x 24" wide x 24" deep. Weight: 85 pounds or less. Defrosting: if there is a freezer, try to obtain an automatic defrosting mechanism. Refrigerators must be thoroughly cleaned before storing for the summer.


Cats, dogs, birds, reptiles, or any other animal may not be kept in Mather House.

Term Time Storage

There is no term-time storage. You must keep everything you bring in your suite. Items (including bicycles) left in hallways, stairways, and basements will be removed at the student's expense.

Bicycle Racks

Bicycle racks are located outside by the Tower. Bicycles locked to handicapped ramps, stairs, or in any of the common areas of the House (other than the bike racks) will have their locks cut and will be removed, we will not responsible for the damage to your lock.

You are urged to register your bike with the University Police Department online or at HUPD headquarters at 1033 Massachusetts Avenue. The registration sticker on your bicycle will ward off many prospective thieves, it will give you a way of proving that you own the bike (should you, for example, lose the key to your lock and need to get it removed), and it will also greatly improve the chances of locating and identifying your bicycle should it be stolen.


Poster and distribution materials meeting the criteria outlined in the Handbook for Students may be posted on House bulletin boards only. Postering on corridor walls, stairwells, suite doors, entry doors, windows and dining room tables is prohibited.


Any Harvard University publication may be placed in the Distribution Center located in the main lobby.

Heat Information in Suites

Mather House is heated by circulating hot water. To prevent rooms from overheating each radiator has an automatic control valve that may be adjusted by the occupant. This valve is meant to give you control of the heat level in your room and to prevent the wasting of energy.

1. Locate the gray or white handle dial protruding from the valve. The valve is attached to the radiator and the handle is mounted on the radiator board/cover.
2. Select the setting between 1 (lowest temperature) and 5 (highest temperature) on the dial at which you are most comfortable. Forcing the valve beyond the maximum setting will not produce more heat but may damage the valve.


1. Please check that all windows and storm windows are closed tightly. Windows should not be open during the heating season. Lock windows to minimize drafts.
2. Remove furniture, clothes and books from around radiators to allow air to circulate.
3. Please contact the Building Manager if your room is overheating and you feel it is wasting energy or if your room feels too cold.
4. Set the gauge on the snowflake symbol when you know your room will be unoccupied for 2 or more days.
5. Take advantage of curtains, drapes and blinds to keep the cold out and heat in by closing them at night. THANK YOU FOR YOUR HELP IN REDUCING ENERGY COSTS.

Moving Out

The "move out" deadline for NON-Graduating Students is Sunday, May 14, 2017 at 5:00 pm. For graduating seniors it is, Friday, May 26, 2017 at 5:00 pm. Students are typically asked to vacate their suites 24 hours after the College's last scheduled spring term final examination. Seniors and those students who belong to undergraduate organizations given permission from the Dean of Students are allowed to extend their stay through Commencement.