Working as a Dorm Crew Captain offers invaluable management and leadership experiences that very few college jobs provide. Our alumni find the skills they develop as captains applicable across a wide range of fields (recent graduates include a magazine editor-in-chief, a campaign manager, and a tech startup COO, among teachers, doctors, lawyers, and more) and consistently point to their Dorm Crew captaincy as a foundational leadership experience even decades after graduation. 

Below you will find important information on what Dorm Crew captain positions entail and how you can earn one. Although this page and our guide to becoming a Dorm Crew Captain are helpful, the best resource for more information on Dorm Crew captaining is the Dorm Crew captain you work for. 

Learn More About Being a Dorm Crew Captain

Dorm Crew Captains are Managers

During the term, each captain is responsible for all Dorm Crew operations in a building. Captains recruit their own employees and build their own teams, possessing direct hiring and firing authority over their crews. Captains are responsible for training new Dorm Crew employees, thoroughly inspecting each employee's performance, and providing feedback and performance evaluations. 

During Spring Clean-Up, captains lead crews to clean undergraduate residences from top to bottom in preparation for Harvard reunions and commencement events. Clean-ups are fast-paced, high-pressured work environments where captains hold employees accountable to exacting standards of thoroughness while ensuring a large volume of work is done exceptionally well in a short period of time; captains have five days to make Harvard buildings look as picturesque as alumni remember after college students have occupied them for nine months.

Dorm Crew Captains are Leaders

Captains must motivate tired crews at the end of long weeks, train people with no prior experience to perform delicate tasks, and discipline employees who violate the rules. Captains hone their organizational skills developing careful plans that balance the competing interests of residents, employees, building staff, and other stakeholders; they learn to think on their feet when unforeseen circumstances necessitate new plans. Captains must inspire confidence, earn trust, and build successful teams. The best captains become equally deft at communicating instructions to their crews, following instructions from their supervisors, and collaborating with their fellow captains to accomplish important objectives.

There are Two Kinds of Captains

Most of the day-to-day operations of Dorm Crew are handled by the House Captains, two of whom are Head Captains. Each House Captain works 8-15 hours per week during the school year supervising Dorm Crew operations in a given building. They also perform administrative duties in the Dorm Crew Office.

Clean-Up Captains serve as captains during Fall Clean-Up and Spring Clean-Up. During the term, each Clean-Up captain works at least 4 hours per week. Their time is divided between cleaning and performing administrative duties assisting with Dorm Crew operations in the building.

How Can You Become a Dorm Crew Captain?

First, start cleaning bathrooms for us. If you work regularly, consistently, and well, your captain may nominate you for the position of Trial Captain during Spring Clean-Up. Trial Captain nominees submit a written application and participate in an interview. If you are selected from among the nominees, you will be trained to lead a crew during Spring Clean-Up. After Spring Clean-Up, you may be offered a position as a House or Clean-Up Captain based on our evaluation of your trial captainship.