Eve Sullivan <email@example.com>
(original work, copyright of the author, Eve Sullivan)
MIT: a new view
WHAT IS MIT?
It is a place of intellectual challenge and a community of about 20 thousand individuals -- practically a small city.
WHO ARE WE?
We are people from all walks of life:
WHAT DO WE DO?
We work together
HOW DO WE HARM EACH OTHER?
The worst harm we do is through dishonesty.
WHY DO WE HARM EACH OTHER?
The answer may be in the answer to the first question we posed.
WHAT IS MIT?
...a place where we engage daily in intellectual challenge
We gain a great deal from our battles and victories, in the laboratories and at our desks, with problem sets and with the greater problems they anticipate.
But we may also lose, in the course of our struggles, a sense of intimacy and compassion among the members of our work groups and living groups.
In the next few "snapshots" you will see Institute life and work as we want it to be -- and as it often is. Then we will look at the hidden side, at the unhappy pictures we often ignore or hide.
After looking at both sides, the happy, successful, public reality, and the other, unhappy, private reality, we will present
"MIT, a new view"
that may serve to anticipate and perhaps avoid some of the unhappiness -- addictions and other harmful behaviors -- and some of the tragedies in our work and our lives here. The intellectual challenge that is the Institute Credo involves a process, often repeating:
We may come to MIT as a new community
We decide to become involved and concerned
We arrive at our goal inspired and confident
HOW DOES THIS HAPPEN?
Sometimes success comes: through luck, serendipity, hard work, good will, persistence, intelligence . . . . Any number of factors can play a role.
But no success comes without some struggle. And the sad reality involves unhappy pictures we would rather ignore. Some individuals in our community continue to struggle with work problems or life problems.
These individuals, our classmates, officemates, colleagues, remain isolated and confused, often despite the role they play in the happy public reality of accomplishment.
These people may harm themselves and others. How can we create a recognize early warning signs of isolation and confusion in ourselves and others in our community?
What can we do to counter the harmful behaviors, including substance and other addictions, that threaten the foundations of our community and its achievements?
We need a new view of MIT.
With a new vision of the Institute, we can begin to look for problems and challenges in the life of our community -- our emotional and interpersonal life -- with the same energy and dedication with which we engage the intellectual challenges of our work and study.
But, WHY WORRY ABOUT EMOTIONAL PROBLEMS?
After all, we have special people in our community whose paid job it is to help others with these problems. However,
UNLESS WE ALL ACKNOWLEDGE THE VALUE OF ASKING FOR HELP
This new view of MIT places intellectual challenge in a context of constant dialogue between the individual and the community.
HOW DO WE FRAME THIS DIALOGUE?
What do you like about MIT?
We can ask these questions
WHO WILL UNDERTAKE THIS INTERVENTION?
Many participants, many links, will be needed for this chain of change, among these are:
TAs, faculty, and postdocs . . . academic council . . . residence advisors & deans . . . safety . . . medical and social work . . . health education . . . unions . . . campus police . . . personnel . . . nightline . . . support staff working group . . . women's forum and women's league . . . chaplains . . . family & work council . . . family resource center . . . physical plant . . . planning . . . admissions & R/O . . . alumni . . . parents . . . special community services . . . mitac
Representatives of these groups and other interested individuals will form an
to organize activities like those mentioned above.
What will the Intervention Coalition accomplish in the short term?
Through discussions of the three agenda questions, participants in the
intervention effort will work to:
We're great, but we're not perfect!
Individuals in the community will become more aware of the warning signs of
serious problems. We will learn to notice early indications of
At MIT, a place of intellectual challenge, we are all students and all need to care for as well as learn from each other. We will do well to make these words part of the Institute culture:
I am an important person in this world -