Student Life Programs

The Department of Student Life Programs (SLP) focuses on supporting the learning experience for all students at MIT in the areas of intellectual, personal, and social development that occur beyond the classroom. Through our collaborative work with students, SLP seeks to create a variety of opportunities designed to promote faculty and student interaction, encourage student responsibility and concern for others, and foster the development of essential life skills allowing students to establish meaningful relationships within the MIT community and beyond. We strive to enhance the student experience at MIT by working closely with colleagues throughout the Institute as well as staying abreast of current professional knowledge and best practices within higher education and student life.

SLP includes the following units: Fraternity, Sorority and Independent Living Groups (FSILGs); Latino Cultural Center; Lesbian, Bisexual, Gay and Transgender (LBGT); Public Service Center (PSC); Residential Life Programs and Faculty in Residence; Student Activities Office; and SLP Administration, I/T, and Finance.


The 2002–2003 year has been very successful with significant accomplishments achieved by the various offices comprising SLP and described in the report that follows. The SLP staff came together to identify four key areas for focused attention this year. Those areas included: building a stronger sense of community at MIT with a special focus on students; developing connections with faculty for the promotion of a shared agenda involving student learning; creating opportunities for student leadership development; and improving collaboration and communication with students and colleagues at MIT. Each of these areas has involved significant improvement this year, providing a foundation for the future.

Among the most noteworthy accomplishments is the implementation of the new residence system in fall 2002 in conjunction with the opening of two new residential communities—Simmons Hall for undergraduates and Sidney-Pacific for graduate students. Implementation of the decision to house all first-year undergraduates on campus beginning in fall 2002 was very successful as assessed by a variety of measures including feedback from the first-year students. The absence of any crowding in the residence halls this year further contributed to a very positive experience for students. The addition of Simmons Hall and Sidney-Pacific provided high quality living and community environments for students and contributed to a great deal of positive energy and enthusiasm for student life across campus this year.

During 2002–2003 the continuation of SLP efforts to enhance outreach to our students included relocation and renovation of the office spaces. The PSC moved from W20-549 to newly renovated offices in 4-110. The SLP offices in W20-549 were renovated and space was redesigned to accommodate staff from Residential Life Programs, the FSILG Office, the Student Activities Office, as well as the Office of the Associate Dean. The welcoming environments and energetic staff have increased interaction with our students. Further, the SLP staff has established ongoing relationships with colleagues at MIT through engagement with Institute committee work as well as partnerships with key departments within DSL and DUE. The key accomplishments of the SLP units follow.

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Faculty in Residence

2002-2003 was a watershed for our team of housemasters. In the previous year, the housemasters worked with DSL staff to address the issue of overcrowding in our residence halls. More limited enrollment of the first year class combined with the opening of Simmons Hall resulted in less crowding and a more content student population than in any year in memory. Second, all first year students lived on campus for the first time, and the housemasters were close observers of cultural changes brought about by this sociological change. In some cases they found that students who decided to join an FSILG became disconnected early on from the social activities of their residential house. In other cases students who decided ultimately to join an FSILG formed close bonds with the house, and it is likely that those bonds will continue and create a growing level of amity between the FSILG and residential communities. In discussions between the housemasters and the leader of the IFC, the issues leading to the aforementioned tensions were discussed openly and both sides agree that it is in their mutual interest to work together, and harder, during the upcoming year to address the central issue—maintaining the robustness of the FSILG community without undermining the spirit of community in the residence halls. It is likely that additional human resources will have to be committed to boot up this program, as the ad hoc methods used last year did not work.

A third area of change encountered by the housemasters was the experience having first year students, in the second semester, on grades. Stress was perceptibly higher than in previous years, but that stress was at a manageable level. Crowding affects the first year students disproportionately and having a low crowd factor helped us deal with the situation. The graduate housemasters have taken the lead, working with the Housemaster Council, to help DSL formulate plans for temporarily utilizing the increase in graduate housing space due to the opening of Sidney and Pacific to lower the current level of undergraduate crowding. With this work came an enhanced understanding of the need to look at undergraduate and graduate residential life as one shared system. An exit strategy for the senior segue program should be on the agenda for the housemasters and the DSL in the upcoming year.

As indicated above, the Housemaster Council took an active role in working out the details of the process to house all freshmen on campus in the fall of 2002. Ellen Essigmann represented the Housemaster Council on the Residence System Implementation Team (RSIT). In response to DSL's decision not to require residence halls to permit first-year students to "squat" their initial summer assignment, the Housemaster Council worked with DSL to develop a policy of "home rule" whereby each residence hall would establish its own rules for first-year room assignments. As a result of this cooperative effort, first-year students reported satisfaction with the process as measured by both survey data as well as the absence of concerns brought to the attention of the Housing Office.

Housemasters are also playing a role in facilitating the transition to a new campus dining model. To give one example, William Watson served as a key player on the Dining Review Board. An important advance during the past year was the opening of Simmons Dining in Simmons Hall. The students and house team in Simmons studied the system in place at MIT and decided, with DSL support, to create an experimental dining program based loosely on the model experienced by students in the Cambridge-MIT Exchange program. One year ago Simmons faced a difficult problem. They are at a remote location and the dining hall was not going to open until February. They knew that a dining program, if successful, could help the house bond as a whole and grow as a community. They instituted a mandatory program, involving a $200 per term up front fee (which covers staff salaries); after paying the fee, the students obtained a roughly 50 percent discount on the cost of dinners and food at the Night Cafe. This discount brings the cost paid by students at mealtime to the cost of goods, not the cost of labor. Once the labor costs were covered, the dining staff was secure in their jobs and eager to work with the Simmons community in order to experience the mutual benefit of quality food and secure jobs throughout the school year. The program was successful in that twice as many students ate in Simmons as in the next most frequented dining hall. On their own initiative, Next House and Baker have embraced a modified version of the Simmons model for their own dining programs, commencing in fall 2003. In two years, they will adopt the full Simmons model.

Another new program begun by DSL this year is the Visiting Scholars Program. Four apartments in Simmons Hall are available and two were staffed in January. An ocean engineer and his wife from Australia occupied one. The second was occupied by a physicist and Martin Luther King, Jr. visiting professor from Duke University. A third slot has been offered to a Buddhist monk who recently received a divinity degree from Harvard. The purpose of the Visiting Scholars Program is to provide MIT undergraduates with cultural and scholarly perspectives from outside the MIT community. The scholars have taken ownership of early Friday evenings and presented movies and held discussion groups in the Night Café area of Simmons Hall.

Housemasters have completed their second year of experience with the Residential Life Associate (RLA) program, administrated by DSL. Reactions to the program are mixed but most agree that it has provided a valuable new resource to the housemasters and residents. The program has been most successful in the undergraduate system and in the graduate areas where there are not housemasters, and yet there is a need for advocacy and support. The RLAs have their own programs in the residence halls and, in addition, provide a backstop to complement the housemaster-GRT resource in the living groups. The housemasters and DSL staff members will work closer next year to fine-tune the position to the needs of the graduate system. Finally, two documents have been developed to clarify the Roles and Responsibilities of the Housemasters and the Roles and Responsibilities for the Graduate Resident Tutors (GRTs). The housemaster document was compiled and approved in June 2001 and the GRT document was completed by a committee with housemaster and GRT representation.

Fraternities, Sororities, and Independent Living Groups

The major initiatives this year for the Fraternities, Sororities, and Independent Living Groups (FSILGs) were leadership development and strategic planning. To support the FSILG community, five professional consultants were hired during the year to work with students, alumni, and staff on strategic planning, recruitment, and vision setting. Such programs included an Alumni Academy for the AILG, two recruitment workshops during the fall and spring semesters, a Panhellenic Vision-Setting Retreat, a Panhellenic Planning Retreat, and individual strategic planning sessions for chapters in April. These leadership development and strategic planning initiatives were funded by the Chancellor's Office.

Other programs completed during the year included a Council and President's Dinner, a New Member Retreat, an IFC Executive Council Retreat, and several roundtables. New programs included an Emerging Leaders workshop during IAP and a community service roundtable. Several members of the IFC and Panhellenic Councils attended the Northeast Greek Leadership Association (NGLA) Conference in Philadelphia. In addition, 12 students attended the Undergraduate Interfraternity Institute (UIFI), a values-based fraternity and sorority summer institute.

The Resident Advisor program continued to evolve and improve. In addition to a new Resident Advisor Brochure, the FSILG office has streamlined the application and hiring process for new RAs.

There were six judicial cases during the academic year plus one administrative/alumni review. Sanctions ranged from educational programming to probation. Judicial cases were heard by either the IFC JudComm or an administrative hearing panel.

With the implementation of the residence system changes in the fall, including the requirement that all first-year students reside in the MIT owned and operated residence halls, MIT provided direct financial support to the FSILGs. To assist chapters with this transition, MIT allocated approximately $750,000 towards the 2002 transition. Approximately $35,000 of the transition money went towards programs and initiatives designed to further assist the community in the transition, the remainder was distributed to the residential FSILGs.

All 23 Boston FSILGs took part in the Life Safety Inspection by the Boston Fire Department. The 10 Cambridge chapter houses completed their annual egress inspection. Over the year 4 house manager roundtables were held. The first one was centered around fire safety and understanding how fire detection systems and sprinkler systems are linked to a monitoring substation, the second was targeted at understanding winter closings, the third targeted officer transition, and the fourth targeted the summer months; move-out, summer boarders, and work weeks. The house manager's manual was again revised and disseminated to house managers. A new sprinkler company (Mik-Ron Fire Protection) was contracted to inspect all the sprinkler systems in the FSILG community.

Finally, in April 2003 a Fraternity, Sorority, and Living Group Task Force was created by President Vest to review the FSILG system and determine ways to support the 37 FSILGs as well as propose any modifications and/or changes that should be initiated. The report from the Task Force is expected by January 2004.

Latino Cultural Center

The 2002–2003 academic year was a landmark year for the Latino community at MIT. In the fall of 2002, the newly formed Latino Cultural Center acquired a suite of offices and the former game room in the basement of the Stratton Student Center (W20). The office underwent minor renovations and was functioning by early fall 2002. Seven Latino student groups were successfully recruited to join the Center: La Union Chicana por Aztlan, Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers, Mexican American Engineers Society, Association of Puerto Rican Students, Mujeres Latinas, Club Mex, and Venezolanas at MIT. The student leaders formed an executive board with six committees working on the following areas: alumni relations and fundraising, small event planning, advertising and marketing, facilities and space design, Mes Latino (March celebrations), and inaugural events. MIT departments, corporate sponsors, parents, and MIT alumni donated furniture and computer equipment for the center. The construction project to turn the former game room into a lounge and function space lasted until early March of 2003. The mural project that began in the winter was completed in June 2003. The lively artwork that surrounds the Lounge attracts visitors and welcomes them to the LCC.

Programmatically, the LCC also had a stellar year. In the fall of 2002 the student executive board held a meeting and invited staff and faculty from across the Institute to hear more about the center and learn how to become involved. This event proved to be very successful in helping the center find more support and connections in the MIT community. Throughout the fall the students held small events such as study breaks, meetings, receptions and dinners. To commemorate Dia de los Muertes students built an altar in Lobby 10. During IAP the focus shifted to the March Inauguration of the LCC designed to kick off Mes Latino, a month-long celebration of Latin culture. The event was the highlight of the year and included food and performance that reflected the diversity of the students that helped to plan the festival. The event brought together MIT faculty, administrators, students, and community members—more than 200 people attended the day's festivities. Once the lounge was complete the LCC continued to host events during the spring semester.

In addition to their work within their own community, the students in the center have also formed partnerships with other communities on campus. Throughout this year they have worked with Advocates for Awareness to support Race Relation Forums, the Black Student Union to protest the Supreme Court case on Affirmative Action, and lbgt@MIT to discuss homophobia in Latin cultures.

Lesbian, Bisexual, Gay and Transgendered at MIT

This has been the most active and successful year for Lesbian, Bisexual, Gay and Transgendered at MIT (lbgt@MIT) programs since its inception, particularly in terms of a significant increase in student activism and leadership within LBGT campus organizations. As we continue to work towards our goals, some new initiatives and efforts have resulted.

"To ensure appropriate resources are readily available," the Rainbow Lounge was staffed 12 hours a week by Counseling and Support Services and SLP and efforts were made to improve the services and resources available through the lounge, including significant additions to the video and reading libraries. During Campus Preview Weekend, a more coordinated effort resulted in an opportunity for over a dozen potential undergraduates to benefit from the opportunity to talk to current students about LBGT life at MIT. Faculty participation in LBGT initiatives and student life has not been as strong as from other constituents, thus a luncheon of LBGT faculty was held to begin discussing their perspective of MIT's community and how they might best be supported. Finally, the LBGT Issues Group led a campus effort to develop a proposal to add protection for "gender expression and identity" to MIT's nondiscrimination policy. With the support of student governance and the Faculty Policy Committee, the proposal is awaiting action from vice president for Human Resources Laura Avakian. This effort comes at a time when we are seeing a transgender voice emerge at the Institute.

"To foster campus-wide dialogue," lbgt@MIT coordinated the distribution of funds for an LBGT Speaker Series with funding from the chancellor. Four panels or speakers were organized and planned by students on the following topics: "Transgender People Representing Themselves," "Bisexuality 101: Myths and Realities," "Schoolgirls and Superheroes: Gender and Sexuality in Japanese Animation," and "Plural Perspectives on Lesbian Artificial Insemination." These events reached out to MIT's LBGT and friendly community in new ways with over 400 individuals, the majority of which are not regular attendees at LBGT events, engaging in one or more of the topics. The remainder of the chancellor's grant to develop a LBGT speakers series has been allocated to bringing Margaret Cho as part of Fall Festival 2003. In addition, the leadership of the various LBGT student organizations collaborated to organize Circuit Unity, an LEF sponsored campus-wide party with the explicit theme of welcoming straight allies to support the LBGT community. In addition, MIT hosted the first National Gay and Lesbian Athletic Conference with support from DAPER and lbgt@MIT. The founding of the conference's sponsoring organization and the planning of the conference itself would not have occurred without the vision and leadership of several MIT alumni, as well as current students.

Finally, "encouragement of participation and collaboration" is a theme in all of our work and accomplishments. With the emergence of heightened student leadership of LBGT organizations, a large part of our energies were focused on supporting their efforts and growth. Each month, the leaders came together to work with us to plan upcoming activities and discuss issues—resulting in a stronger sense of community and dialogue about the needs and issues of our community. To better support the development of community among the LBGT students, we received a Chancellor Leadership Grant to support a spring 2003 leadership retreat on campus and a fall 2003 community-building and leadership retreat in Provincetown, MA. Finally, it is important to note that volunteer efforts or informal allocation of staff time continued to provide the majority of efforts to support LBGT individuals, continuing to cause concern regarding sustained and ongoing services.

Public Service Center

The MIT Public Service Center (PSC) continued to thrive this year, improving its local community services, expanding international public service opportunities, and increasing integration of academic work and public service. For example: CityDays attracted 600 students this year to work with 39 community agencies; Science Expo involved 350 Cambridge middle school students and 200 MIT student volunteers; the Giving Tree filled all 900 gift requests from disadvantaged children in the greater Boston area; and 250 students celebrated volunteerism at the PSC community service celebration. A new approach to Public Service Fellowships resulted in more than 100 qualified applicants for summer and IAP opportunities. Fellowship projects have made significant contributions to local schools and communities, as well as to communities in other areas of the US, India, Ghana, Kenya, and other international sites. In addition, $20,000 in PSC and Coop Grants were awarded for student service projects.

The partnership between the PSC and the Edgerton Center, established two years ago to support Service Learning at MIT and the MIT IDEAS Competition, remains strong. Service Learning at MIT served 199 students in 18 classes this year, including the senior mechanical engineering capstone course, 2.009. The IDEAS Competition, now in its second successful year, has attracted corporate and foundation support and participation, as well engaging alumni to work with current MIT students. This year, 8 teams were awarded $27,000 for their creative projects to address community needs. Papers and conference presentations by PSC and Edgerton staff have publicized the IDEAS Competition, which will serve as a model for similar competitions now being developed at universities in Germany, England, and Appalachian region of the US.

Working collaboratively with Career Services, the Technology and Culture Forum, and various student organizations including the Sloan Socially Responsible Business Club, the PSC sponsored several lectures and panel discussions to increase student awareness of international development issues and opportunities, and socially responsible career choices. The first International Development Forum was a great success, displaying dozens of departmental and student initiatives that represent MIT's involvement in development issues worldwide. Likewise, IAP classes and other presentations heightened awareness of professional development through public service work.

This year, the PSC has made substantial infrastructure improvements with the help of temporary additional staff. A manual and training program for student staff has resulted in a well-integrated, collaborative team of student program leaders. A new online volunteer database system enables prospective volunteers to find opportunities more efficiently and to receive improved support and tracking. All PSC programs have updated assessment materials, with databases and analytical systems being developed. The web site has been substantially revised and developed, and the new central location of our office has substantially increased student office visits.

Residential Life Programs

2002-2003 was a year of growth and change in Residential Life Programs. Having completed its second full year, we saw a major increase in programs and events in all of our residences due to the work of the residential life associates and program managers. A decision was made to change the zones to reflect the specific needs of graduate and undergraduate students. This proved to be valuable for the staff and also gave us an opportunity to look at the needs of the system as a whole. In particular, students in family housing saw a major increase in support, advocacy, and programs.

With the assignment of a program manager in Eastgate and Westgate, family housing was able to receive more consistent, dedicated support for initiatives in those residences. Some of the major successes include the development of student governments in Eastgate and Westgate, facilitation of a smoke-free environment in Eastgate, the formation of a family housing-focused subcommittee of the Housing Strategy Group and the creation of a family resource network.

The Graduate Coordinators (GC) Program went through some changes this year. We decided to eliminate the graduate coordinators in Tang Hall as Tang already had both housemasters and an active student government. A proposal was developed and approved for GCs in the residences without housemasters—Eastgate, Westgate, and Edgerton. The job description was revised and training was organized for all three coordinators this spring.

The Residence Based Advising program continued to strengthen this year in both McCormick and Next House with 19 resident associate advisors. The Next House program expanded to over 180 first year students.

The Dean on Call system proved to be a major success over the past year. As the primary responders, the RLP staff served the entire community by responding to crises both big and small. The key enhancement included more follow-up on incidents that occurred. In addition, many of the RLAs played the role of crisis responder even when they were not on call. This is the kind of support system that we intend to provide to both our residential system and the entire MIT community.

Developed by a committee with broad representation, a Roles and Responsibilities document was developed to guide the Graduate Resident Tutor Program. It was received well by both the housemasters and the tutors. The August training was successful and participation was strong. The Tutor Program continues to be well received as we had 70 applications for our 20 open spots. The tutor contract was reviewed and updated, and now includes a number of requests made by the housemasters.

RLP submitted a grant request to the chancellor to hold student government leadership retreats in the residences. We were funded in the amount of $16,400. With those funds, we created a request for funding proposal that each government had the opportunity to submit. We received and are funding retreats in McCormick, MacGregor, New, Next, and Simmons. The Next House retreat was held in May, and the remaining retreats will be held in the fall of 2003. Most retreats involve not just student leadership but other members of the house team as well.

We currently have 35 house fellows that serve 12 different residences on campus, both graduate and undergraduate in addition to the 20 house fellows associated with the Residence–Based Advising Program. This year, we had 15 new house fellows. This spring we surveyed the current House fellows, housemasters, tutors, and students in an effort to evaluate the Fellows Program. We have 109 respondents, and will be assessing the data this summer to make improvements for next year.

All housemaster finances are now supported through the Residential Life Programs office. In addition, many tutors and all House Governments now receive all of their financial support through the Student Activities Financial Office; this transition went very smoothly and provides better accountability and support.

Student Activities Office

The Student Activities Office (SAO) had a successful year programmatically. Due to increased staffing in SAO, each of the Class Councils were appointed a specific advisor this year, which led to more effective programming and advising. The 10th anniversary of Charm School was also celebrated, and an estimated 800 students attended the 28 different classes taught by over 50 faculty, students, and staff. Spring Weekend 2003 included a concert by Jurassic 5, which sold 2200 tickets. And finally, SAO hosted the third annual Student Leaders Reception for all organization presidents and treasurers as a way to provide more visible celebration and recognition of student leaders. About 300 students attended.

Leadership development was also a major focus for the SAO staff this year. LeaderShape, now in its 9th year, was again a great success with 65 student participants and 13 faculty, staff and students serving as facilitators. Additionally, a new service provided by our office this year was tailored leadership development consulting services. Our two program coordinators were available to meet with an interested group and create leadership programs/workshops geared specifically for that group's needs (topics ranged from group dynamics, to conflict resolution, to goal setting, to how to run a meeting, etc). In addition, the SAO staff took a lead role in developing the proposal and curriculum for the New Student Government Leadership Initiative, which was approved by the chancellor. This two-part program consisted of a skills-based conference for about 40 student government leaders this past May, and will be followed up by a one-day program called, "the chancellor's Summit" in September which will include those same 40 students as well as members of the administration and faculty.

The SAO also tackled a number of more challenging issues this year. Following the Institute decision to no longer allow the use of outside bank accounts, our office worked to ensure a high level of service and support. With upwards of 350 student organizations, residence halls, and club sports needing to be fully housed inside our internal system, the Student Activities Finance Office (SAFO) had to significantly improve and increase the services provided. These new services had to be clearly defined and communicated to the students, which involved updates to our web pages and some clarification of our policies and procedures. In addition, SAO staff members worked closely with MIT's Audit Division to review the outside bank account records of The Tech following their embezzlement scandal last spring. The recommendations that came from that report were also rolled into some of the educational materials and policies/procedures that the office puts together. Finally, the SAO staff started the development of a Risk Management Guide which will include guidelines, recommendations and suggestions as well as PDF files with standardized contracts, travel guidelines, accident reports, release forms, medical forms, checklists, etc.

Supplemental Funding Allocation

The 2002–2003 fiscal year marked the implementation of funding for a wide array of student organizations and programs through the student life fee. The allocation of $400,000 distributed by Dean Benedict as a result of the new student life fee solidified funding for programs like Fall Festival and Spring Weekend, for the Freshman, Sophomore and Junior Class Councils, and increased funding to the Large Events Funding Board (LEF). Some of the monies also led to the development of the Assisting Recurring Cultural and Diversity Events (ARCADE) fund, which funds annual cultural events on campus. Allocations are determined by a board made up of students representing the various student governments on campus, some cultural group representatives, and an advisor from the SAO staff.

The Weekends@MIT fund allocated approximately $30,000 to various student organizations and living groups in support of community building programs cosponsored by one or more group. Twenty-five programs received funding, and the average grant was $1,200. Events supported by Weekends@MIT funds included: social events such as barbecues, dessert parties and formals; cultural events such as the Uganda Cultural Banquet, the Ebony Affair, a Latin Salsa Party, and Grains of Rice; and a Panhellenic Carnival. The Weekends@MIT web site ( includes a complete list of activities and organizational cosponsors and reflects the depth and breadth of events that received funding.

The Thomas Glen Leo ('75) fund is handled by the Weekends@MIT Committee as well. This year, the money that Mr. Leo donated was used specifically to fund a Day Spa at MIT. The program was planned and implemented by students from the Black Women's Alliance, the Panhellenic Association, and MIT Latinas Unidas. Many MIT men and women took advantage of the free program before final exams began.

An additional $40,000 was allocated through the MIT Fund to 25 different groups/programs, with the largest allocation being $3,000 for any one program. The Student Activities Discretionary Fund allocated $44,000 to 25 different event/groups/programs this year as well. And finally, the Student Life Now Fund began the fiscal year with $8,868 on July 1, 2002, with an additional $11,821 in gifts made this year by parents. $11,000 was allocated from the Student Life Now account to support 7 different programs and events this year.

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Undergraduate Association

The Undergraduate Association (UA) is committed to serving the student body in all aspects of life. Support through educational councils, judicial councils, extracurricular activities, and social events are just some of the services that have helped enhance student life here at MIT.

This year the UA started the fall semester with the annual UA Retreat that was held at the Cape Codder Resort in Hyannis, MA on September 20–21, 2002. All members of the Class Councils, committee chairs, and senators were invited. Students learned about the inner workings and organizational structure behind the UA and spent time networking with fellow peers. The weekend brought the group together to brainstorm ideas and projects for the upcoming year. Senators decided upon projects they would undertake for the coming year, and they sought guidance and resources from each other to attain their goals.

This year also saw incremental change to the UA legislative body. On February 24, the UA Council decided to change its name to the UA Senate. The change was aimed to reduce confusion among undergraduates; some formally supposed that Class Council officers serve on the UA Council while others seemed to think that the two were the same body. Eliminating these myths is the first step towards increasing the presence of the UA Senate on campus. All elected officials sitting on Senate were renamed senator to help students understand how they are represented.

Due to the momentous changes following the requirement that all first-year students live on campus, the Senate also took steps to increase undergraduate representation on campus. The old Senate election system, where senators were elected each spring for the following year, assumed that most undergraduates would maintain the same residence year after year. With the vastly increased number of freshman moving from dormitories to FSILGs, this assumption could no longer be relied upon. When proposed patches to the system failed to produce a solution, the UA Election Commission reached a decision to postpone senator elections until the fall term. The new schedule will also produce side benefits such as mobilizing senators right after their election and allowing for the possibility of freshmen senators.

Two key spaces in the Stratton Student Center were also major topics of discussion this year. Since the Coffeehouse shut down earlier this year, many suggestions and proposals have been submitted by students to find a replacement for late night snacks and food. Many students voiced a desire for other food chains, social lounge areas, and even bubble tea. These ideas are being reviewed for the coming year and there is hope for a new vendor for the Coffeehouse. Furthermore, the 5th floor reading room was also under concern this year. There was a student proposal to convert part of the Reading Room into a Science Fiction Library. The UA wanted feedback from the student body to see how students felt about a change to the Reading Room. A survey was conducted via email to the entire 4,000+ undergraduate student body. The response was phenomenal with much of the MIT community supporting to maintain the reading room as is, with suggestions to renovate and provide greater study area and lighting for students. This provided students with the opportunity to provide their opinions about their campus.

The reorganization of the Nomination Committee was another milestone this year. The Coordinating Committee helped to restructure the method which nominations are conducted for Institute Committees and other Council positions. A new set of individuals was selected to chair this committee and they have taken much initiative to devise a system to help the student body participate and serve on the various MIT committees.

UA Elections caused a lively debate on campus once again this year as many strong UAP/VP and Class Council candidates vied for the opportunity to lead. An animated UAP/VP debate in the student center lobby over issues from orientation to student involvement to daytime saferide lasted a full hour longer than expected. Candidates generally followed the rules, and only a few complaints resulted in sanctions. Pius Uzamere '04 and Jacob Faber '04 narrowly defeated Parul Deora '04 and Harel Williams '05 by under 150 votes out of over 1800 cast.

The UA had a great year serving and working to help the MIT community. It is our goal to serve students above all and we look forward to another year this coming fall.

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Staffing Changes

Along with the allocation of $400,000 in additional resources to support student activities, SLP received an additional headcount to provide enhanced advising through the hiring of a second program coordinator for student activities; Thomas Robinson was hired to fill the position.

Brenda Cotto-Escalera joined SLP from the School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences to serve as the interim program advisor to help organize the new Latino Cultural Center. After several months, Brenda left MIT to focus fulltime on her graduate studies.

Advising needs for the center were evaluated, and Karina Vielma '02 was hired as the first graduate assistant for the center, with support and supervision from Linda Noel.

Travis Wright continued as the graduate assistant for lbgt@MIT.

After reevaluation, it was decided that Green Hall's vacant housemaster position would be filled at the associate housemaster level; Soosan Behesti was appointed to fill the vacancy.

An additional residential life associate position was created, which resulted in a reevaluation of the distribution of zones. Anthony Gray and Gabrielle Pardo became program managers, focusing on graduate residences. Chandra Mincher, Aaradhana Prajapati, and the newly hired RLA, Sharon Snaggs, were assigned zones of several undergraduate residences each. Anthony Gray was promoted to a position within Housing, and the allocation of staff time among the graduate and undergraduate residences is currently under reevaluation.

Matthew Clifford was hired as the program assistant for residential life and recently left to pursue a graduate degree in student affairs.

Lauren Wojtkun, who was hired as the first financial assistant to support the increased activity in the Student Activities Finances Office has been promoted to the program assistant position. Jennifer Au-Yeung has been hired as the new financial assistant.

Frank Council and Kaya Gerberich were hired as coordinators for FSILGs.

A one-year, temporary service learning and outreach coordinator position was created for Amy Banzaert '98 in the Public Service Center to enable her to stay on to help solidify MIT's service learning program. The appointment has been extended for an additional year (through August 2004).

Finally, the Sloan School has made Sumedha Ariely available to the PSC to support assessment and evaluation efforts, as well as connections with Sloan's work in public service for a two-year period (through the 2003–2004 academic year).

Barbara A. Baker
Associate Dean for Student Life Programs

More information about Student Life Programs can be found on the web at


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