Harkness Hall

The shark is the Harkness mascot.

Harkness Hall — often just shortened to Hark — is one of the most centrally located housing & dining co-ops on the Oberlin College campus. Harkness is located just across the street from Dascomb Hall and King Building, and shares a lawn with two dorms, Third World Co-op, and the Adam Joseph Lewis Center for Environmental Science. Because of our location, many housing and dining members can be found in the building at all times of day (including the few 3 AM studiers). With a ramp and elevator, Harkness is also one of the most accessible co-ops on campus.

Harkness houses over 50 members. As the largest housing co-op, we are home to many informal events, from concerts and touring bands alike to post-Pizza Night dance parties. There's even a Jellyfish Parade celebrated each full moon!

Harkness also has roughly 60 dining-only members. We serve vegetarian meals with vegan options at every meal. The Harkness dining room floor tiles proudly display the OSCA logo, a symbol of pride (and common tattoo) for many OSCAns. 

Harkness has a close-knit community. Here is a makeshift barber shop.

On sunny days, when not participating in discussions, many members eat meals outside in “Harkness Bowl”, the lawn in front of Harkness. Special meals in Harkness tend to be more extravagant and wackier-themed than those of other co-ops, with a strong dress-up tradition. Between the dining hall in the basement, the common room, the porch, and the Harkness Bowl, we have a number of places for people to eat their meals.

Opening in 1950 as a women's dorm, in September 1967 Harkness became the fourth OSCA housing and dining co-op. Our intense and often lengthy discussions have led to diverse and unique policies over the years... some more successful than others. In 1979, we created the Contraceptive Co-op, which eventually morphed into Oberlin College's Sexual Information Center. Also in 1979, Harkness became the first OSCA co-op to use consensus, a decision process that soon spread throughout OSCA. The very next year, we voted for the first time to use anarchy as a system of governance (a decidedly less successful venture). In the mid-90s, Harkness became the first OSCA co-op to have an elected head cook system.

Typical Double Room in Harkness

Did you know...

Harkness has traditionally been a space for radical discussion of ideas, arts, and music. Music is a common presence in the lounge, be it someone banging on the piano, a klezmer band practicing, or an ad-hoc dance party. Harkness also frequently votes to lend its space to performing arts groups, both musical and theatrical. 

A concert in front of Harkness Hall, 1994.