Office of Government and Community Relations
The Office of Government and Community Relations (OGCR) is the Institute's primary liaison with city/town and state government. The office also supports the mission of the MIT Washington Office to reinforce the efforts of the president, faculty, and administrators in their contacts with the federal government and several national higher education associations. The principal focus of OGCR is the Cambridge/MIT relationship. OGCR endeavors to promote understanding between Cambridge residents, neighborhood organizations, elected officials, businesses, and MIT in order to develop constructive working relationships, nurture partnership efforts, and collaborate on matters of mutual concern.
This year, OGCR provided background and guidance on various licensing, permitting, zoning, taxation, safety, and transportation processes and issues in Cambridge and in other towns. The office led the effort to prepare the Institute's annual Town-Gown Report and the subsequent presentation to the Cambridge Planning Board. OGCR monitored the establishment and launch of the Cambridge City Council's new permanent Committee on University Relations and prepared for several meetings between the committee and MIT staff, including one large-scale public session with MIT senior officers.
OGCR supported President Vest's monthly visits to Washington, D.C., by preparing background material and establishing the itinerary for various meetings with members of the executive and legislative branches of the federal government. The office represented MIT on several committees of national associations focusing on community service, work-study financial aid, and other educational topics. The office continued its annual practice of managing the president's mailing to the members of Congress providing each with the names of freshmen admitted to the Institute from his or her state. The office has continued to advance MIT's productive relationship with regional Environmental Protection Agency officials as the Institute and the EPA work on improving the water quality of the Charles River. Toward this end, MIT hosted and sponsored a competition to uncover creative ideas in storm water management.
The office worked closely with the Cambridge public school system, the MIT Public Service Center, the MIT Museum, the Edgerton Center, and others to carry out a wide variety of educational programs and initiatives on behalf of Cambridge school children. The office's activities included hosting the Academic Year Kickoff Program for all 1,000 Cambridge schoolteachers and administering the donation of a video production studio to Cambridge Rindge and Latin High School. OGCR managed MIT's hosting of the Massachusetts State Science Fair and assisted in the planning of the Elementary School Science Expo. The office also collaborated with neighborhoods adjacent to the MIT campus in order to enhance educational and after-school activities for residents.
Office staff accommodated dozens of community-based facility use requests such as providing a venue for the Community Art Center's teen film festival and hosting a conference for the Cambridge Office of Workforce Development. OGCR also managed the Institute's response to a multitude of "constituent service" inquiries and requests. Staff represented MIT on more than 20 nonprofit boards and committees.
The office hosted the 10th annual Cambridge First Day at MIT celebration, honoring agencies providing services to homeless individuals. OGCR also hosted the 8th annual President's Community Service Awards program, honoring an MIT and a Cambridge volunteer for exemplary community service. The office participated in a panel discussion on Cambridge town-gown relations sponsored and aired by Cambridge Community Television.
This year, the 34-year old Community Service Fund—which supports the efforts of MIT volunteers in the community—was integrated with the Institute's overall community giving campaign. As a result, contributions to the CSF increased and the office oversaw the disbursement of $90,000 from the fund to local nonprofit organizations.
More information on the Office of Government and Community Relations can be found on the web at http://web.mit.edu/govt-relations/www/.