The Department of Housing provides a safe, secure and well-maintained environment for our students, faculty, and guests by maintaining facilities at the highest quality in support of the Institute's broader educational mission. Through our programs of assignments, special needs support, capital construction, renovation, repair and maintenance along with programs in fire and life safety, recycling, off-campus housing, and evening security, we provide our residents with a place to call home.

I/T Administration

I/T Administration continues to work with the Department of Facilities (DOF) providing maintenance and support for the electronic repair work order system, Maximo. The Maximo system is online in all 19 of our residence halls providing computer ease in reporting repair needs and status, thus providing an electronic work repair tracking system.

We continue to maintain and support the newly implemented Morse Guard Watchman System that has enhanced our Nightwatch patrol security accountability procedures.

As part of an overall computer upgrade program, we deployed approximately one-third of new/replacement desktop machines for staff as well as ordered and set up new desktop computers for each new employee.

Construction, Renovation, Repair And Maintenance

Major Capital Projects

Housing continues to work with the Department of Facilities on the completion of construction for Simmons Hall, W79. The focus at this time is to complete construction in areas of the building, which do not affect the day-to-day activity of the current Simmons Hall residents.

Simmons Hall

Housing has recently completed the renovation of the front entrance of Next House (W71) as part of our ongoing program to meet ADA standards. Housing secured funding for several of these projects in recent years. Burton-Connor, McCormick, New House, and Next House have all been completed as part of our commitment to meet ADA standards.

The final phase of the Westgate playground renovation has also been completed. MIT families have benefited greatly from the new design, landscaping, and playground equipment.

Sidney-Pacific Resident Hall

The kitchen and its adjacent rooms in a housemaster apartment located at Ashdown House were renovated. This final phase of the housemaster renovation program has improved on physical space providing for more efficient, workable, and attractive space in which housemasters interact with the house residents who depend on them. The result was so successful, funding for further renovations of other housemaster apartments was attained and only one renovation remains.

Housing has completed all the Bathroom and Kitchen renovations in several of our buildings. W13, W5, NW61 and W61 Low rise have had all the student bathrooms completed. Housing completed all the student Kitchen renovations in W13, W85 Low rise, W61, W51, W70, W71 and W4.

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Capital Maintenance Projects

Housing also completed a number of capital maintenance projects this year. These projects include the following:

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This year we opened two new buildings: Simmons Hall, our new Undergraduate Building with 350 students; and Sidney/Pacific, our new Graduate Building, housing 700 students. Both buildings are fully staffed with managers, cleaners, and maintenance personnel.

With the new levels of response from the Homeland Security Advisory System, Housing continues to place emphasis on our desk security as well as overall building security. We have developed plans for staffing for each of the five risk levels, as defined by the official USA Homeland Security Advisory System, as well as a Housing-Emergency Response Leadership Team. Our Emergency Action Plans are up to date and our Shelter-in-Place Plans have been written.

House staff working with our students and Environmental Programs Task Force (EPTF) continue to improve our recycling efforts. Housing, for the first time, was able to recycle over 300 old mattresses, and working with our laundry vendor we replaced 180 washers that use less water per load. We also replaced 190 dryers with new energy efficient models.

Security and safety are top priorities in Housing. We have developed a new "Fire Safety Inspection Report". We use this check off report to inspect all student living spaces annually. For the second year, we were able to work with the Cambridge Fire Department to have our drills in the afternoon for our family buildings, which include the MIT Day Care Centers. Cambridge Fire Department brought their equipment to each site, demonstrating how the equipment works and had their picture taken with the children in the Fire Trucks.

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Evening Operations and Nightwatch

Evening Operations/Nightwatch continues to enhance our security and safety standards for our 19 residential facilities. We worked closely this year with each House Team to better understand their specific security and safety needs so that we could meet the needs of our own residential community and ease anxiety wherever possible. Our staff continues to attend various safety and security-related conferences and workshops and recognizes the value of helping students to feel safe so that they can focus on academics.

In response to the Homeland Security Advisory System, we have followed the Housing Departments response plan. This requires heightened security awareness and extra staffing during higher risk levels as defined by the US federal government.

With the opening of Simmons Hall undergraduate dormitory and Sydney-Pacific graduate dormitory, four additional Nightwatch personnel were hired and trained. During the construction and post construction of Simmons Hall, our Nightwatch personnel were called upon to provide up to 24hr day security coverage.

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Undergraduate, Summer, and Guest Housing

For the first time in MIT's history, all freshmen were housed in on-campus residence halls. Freshman housing assignments were made via a lottery to which freshmen entered their preferences in June. Assignments were posted to the housing lottery web site in July. Freshmen arrived already knowing their residence hall, room and phone number. Undergraduate Housing ran a second lottery called the 'Orientation Adjustment Lottery' during Orientation for students who wished to change the housing assignment they received over the summer.

In the Summer Lottery result,967 students entered preferences:

Orientation Adjustment Lottery

A total of 140 students requested an alternate assignment (the remainder located dormitory accommodations there were good fits for them). Of the 140 who requested a move, 85 received a new assignment. 75 percent of these students received their first choice.

We devoted much time and many resources to upgrading the Guide to First-Year Residences. We also worked with Residential Life Programs and the Dormitory Council to produce a CD showcasing the 11 residence halls and 5 cultural houses. This CD accompanied the guide.

We continued our work with the Residence Systems Implementation Team and helped gather feedback to the new residence system by meeting with and presenting the lottery data to various staff and groups within the MIT community.

To maintain a high level of customer service, all housing change requests, housing confirmations, cancellations, summer and guest housing requests, and early return requests continued to be available via our web sites.

To alleviate crowding problems in undergraduate housing, the "Senior Segue" program was offered to rising seniors for the 2nd year in a row. This gave 90 undergraduate students the opportunity to move into graduate housing and guaranteed them housing for their first year of graduate school at MIT.

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Graduate and Family Housing

Forty percent of MIT's graduate students received on-campus housing this year.

The Graduate Housing Office has developed and implemented new systems to enhance its ability to serve MIT's graduate student community. These systems include an entirely new, online, efficient, transparent, and fair building assignment mechanism; online notification procedures; online sublicense request and advertising systems; and a new customer service based operations orientation. These changes mark dramatic improvements in three key areas: our ability to provide graduate students with timely and fair housing assignments; our ability to minimize vacancies across the graduate system; and our ability to communicate and collaborate with the graduate student community, its housemasters, house governments, and the GSC.

The Housing Office, in close consultation with DSL's Administrative Services, the deans for the Graduate School and Student Life, the Graduate Student Council, and the Graduate Housemasters set a new schedule of rents for graduate housing reflecting the rising costs of housing and inequalities across the residential system.

In fall 2002 the new graduate residence hall, Sidney and Pacific (NW86)—the largest residential facility on campus—opened. The opening of this building added an additional 650 spaces for graduate students in efficiency, two bedroom, and quad (shared) bedroom accommodations.

The Graduate Housing Office continues to play a key role in the implementation of the Senior Segue Program and is extending its efforts to integrate and collaborate better with other offices—the GSO, SLP, ISO, the academic departments—which are of critical importance to the graduate student community.

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Off Campus Housing Service and Special Projects

Off Campus Housing Services

Our online listings continue to be well utilized, and the feedback is positive. This has greatly reduced our walk-in visitors, and will eventually free up the staff to address other projects. Our office assists approximately 10,000 cases per year and we process an equal amount of rental postings per year. This includes available apartments, space in shared apartments, furnished rooms, free or reduced rent in exchange for service, and short-term accommodations.

Advising on landlord/tenant law issues continues at the same rate. We are receiving rental postings from many new property owners who have not advertised with us in the past. We expect this may increase the need for guidance for our affiliates living off campus. Typical problems are: nonreturn of security deposits, failure to make necessary repairs, eviction threats, roommate conflicts, need to leave the apartment before end of the lease, and lease reviews prior to signing. Our office guides the affiliate through a problem solving process. In most cases the process is successful, however, some are advised to seek legal assistance.

MIT-owned property off campus is still in a state of transition. The properties continue to be popular, despite the increasingly competitive rental market. Students and affiliates feel more secure in housing affiliated with MIT rather than dealing with an unknown property owner. These apartments are owned by the MIT Treasurer's Office and are used to accommodate affiliates of MIT, primarily students and their families. In the past, rents were significantly below market, but in the past two years the rents have increased between 10–20 percent, opposite of the general rental market trend.

Special Projects

Housing is required to provide information on our students and staff residing on campus to the City of Cambridge annually for its census. We provide the name and address of all of our student and employee occupants (housemaster and spouses, GRT spouses and RLA staff). With the student's permission, we also provide date of birth. We also survey all on campus residents on how many children are living here and provide that data to the City based on the survey response.

Housing Staffing Changes

Anthony Gray was hired as the project director, Graduate Housing. Carmine LaRocca retired from Construction, Renovation, Repair and Maintenance. Denise Lanfranchi was hired as house manager at Ashdown House. Charlene McLaughlin was promoted to assistant manager of Evening Operations/Nightwatch. Leonard Newton was hired as the administrative assistant for Evening Operations. Nikki Johnson was chosen as the student summer intern.

Karen A. Nilsson
Director of Housing

More information about Housing can be found on the web http://web.mit.edu/housing/.


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