Second East's culture is constantly evolving, and so many of our traditions fluctuate with the times. Some active traditions include:
- Weekly GRT sponsored hall feeds - our awesome GRT Harold makes us noms!
- Cooking co-op - hall members have the option of taking turns cooking & having dinner together on school nights
- Board games - an ever growing collection! including Betrayal, Settlers of Catan, and Dominion
- Serious Sunday - when we gather to watch a classic cinematic drama on Sunday nights
- Resident coordinated hall dinners (Thanksgiving, Easter, Passover, Pi Day, etc)
- Dinner mobs to local restaurants
- Dim sum runs
- Awesome hall parties
- Classy hall parties
- Annual Disney princess vs. LAN party
- Clotting in the halls (residents passing by just cannot help but clot in the hallway)
We have a number of projects right now:
- Blinkenlights - A line of LED nodes about the length of one-third of the hall. Controlled from a serial port. Lights are pretty. Currently the lights (mostly) work, but we need more interesting patterns.
- Betterack - Our server tower rack. Contains three ES40 Alpha Servers, but we don't know what to do with them other than talk about them.
- Aural Sex - Streaming music system that provides music to the Bemis, shallow Walcott, shallow Goodale, and deep Goodale bathrooms. Currently works, but we want to write a better web interface.
The Beast is not without its own features:
- Godless Central - Our mighty projector is usually showing something of note - mostly episodes of Futurama, Family Guy, or Monty Python's Flying Circus - but games (computer or console) are pretty common, as are heinously bad movies.
- NannyCheese - Our state-of-the-art server with over a terrabyte of storage.
- Hate Shell - An old linux box was turned into a sweet arcade machine - play any game written before the 2000s.
- King of Pop - Our home-brew vending machine sells sodas for only $0.50! And you can use your Charlie card to buy sodas.
History of Second East
People always ask us why we're called "The Beast from the East". These days if you meet residents of 2E you won't find any of them particularly "beastly" at all (except maybe when problem sets are due the next morning). Our nickname is a rather old one with a couple of different stories behind it.
- The most common story is that 2E was the last hall in East Campus to become coed; since it was an all-male hall, it earned the name and reputation of "Beast."
- Another story is that at one point in history all 2E residents were African-American males, and they gave the floor the nickname "Black East," which eventually got shortened to "Beast."
Several Beast Alums stopped by our website and offered different possible versions of the story:
Andy Michael '81: In 1978 we decided the hall intramural teams needed a more imposing name than 2E. Someone suggested the name Beast from the East and a couple of t-shirts were drawn up showing the hand of the Beast tearing the Green Building and the Great Dome apart.... After a short while the name got applied to the hall and not just the teams. The other t-shirt was the word BEAST transliterated into Greek letters because we were told we were acting like the frats we professed to despise. This T-shirt actually seemed to anger some of the frats. This didn't bother us. However, we never had one that showed the entire Beast like the new logo.
Actually, this mural still exists, and has been recently refurbished. "Beast" done up with greek letters has also been brought back to our hall, and is expressed in all our new t-shirt designs.
Tyrome Brown '90: Yes, 2E was the last EC floor to go coed, but the name predates the conversion of 3W which I believe occurred in the late 1980s. When I first moved to 2E (Fall '86), 3W was still all-male. You have to realize that at the time having an all-male living group didn't seem strange. MacGregor was all-male too. Women only made up 10% of the entering class of 1985 (20% in 1986 which made big news around campus).
As to the "Black East" story, I can assure you 2E was never all African-American (not even close - in the early 1970s the number of African-American attending MIT per class year probably numbered around 5 or so). Prior to 1986, 2E basically reflected MIT's demographics. However, in 1985 or 1986, MIT started to house underrepresented minority students (African-Americans and Hispanics) at EC for the Interphase programs during the summer (6 week or 2 week orientation to MIT and Boston). As a result, a disproportionate number ended up staying at 2E (4 to 6 people per year), including myself. Frankly, the number of international students outnumbered any one group.
Roy Brickley '79: As of 1979, The Beast from the East was still all-male, and was not the last all-male floor at that time (or at least it wasn't as of 1976). It was already known as "Beast from the East" before 1979. I believe it was being called that when I arrived in 1975, but my memory of exactly when I first heard it called that is pretty fuzzy.
During those years, The Beast was a mix of jocks and dopeheads (which is why I'm fuzzy on the exact facts...). The "Thursday" rag comic strip often featured a few Beast residents - I recall one was called Ralph, a particularly notorius dealer on East Campus. Residents of 2E were also peripherally involved in the sex scandal that brought down "Thursday". During my years, the floor was not all-black.
We may have originated the Beast moniker, though I doubt it. I know we came up with one of the first T-shirts with the Beast slogan, since I saw one at Fry's in Fremont, California in 2001! If our years originated the Beast name, it may have had something to do with the jocks reputation.
Location of Second East
2E is the second floor of the east parallel of MIT's East Campus dormitory. We're in the long brick building on Ames St. between Building 66 and the tennis courts and across the street from the MIT Media Lab.
We're conveniently close to Kendall Square, the MIT Coop, the Kendall T stop, and branches of both Cambridge Trust and Fleet banks as well as all main campus buildings. See us on the map, we're in Building 64.