Dave Latham <email@example.com>
Adulthood is a time of responsibility and privilege where issues such as finance, health and balance, shelter, citizenship, and values system definition are largely left to the individual to establish. Which responsibilities and privileges of adulthood should be expected of all members of the MIT community, and which should be developed over time for one or more segments? What must occur within the residential system to foster that development?
I believe that undergraduates should be free to choose among various options when they make key decisions about the directions they wish to head: examples are field of study, career goals, physical exercize, social interactions, and residential environment.
I am a firm believer in regular physical exercize as an importrant component of a balanced lifestyle. It is my own experience that I get more done when I take out time for physical exercize on a regular basis, and I feel better for it. The options should include relatively informal competition (e.g. as part of a living group), and serious competition as a representative of MIT. Intercollegiate athetics are a strong force for building a sense of community.
Another important component of a balanced lifestyle is social interaction with interesting people in other fields, from other backgrounds, and with different ideas. A difficult aspect of social interaction is the role of alcohol, and I don't think the problem can be solved by prohibition. I support an environment in which young people can chose to learn how to use alcohol moderately and responsibly.
One of the great benefits of the present system of Independent Living Groups is that the members are given the opportunity to take on the responsibility for running their daily lives; for making decisions and then living up to their decisions; for running the practical aspects of a small community, including financial planning, food service, community relations, and member education. When at their best, ILGs harness one of the most valuable resources at MIT, the energy and commitment of the undergraduates. This environment has had a powerful impact on the education and development of many MIT undergraduates in the past. It would be a pity to lose this option in the future.