The Tech - Online EditionMIT's oldest and largest
newspaper & the first
newspaper published
on the web
Boston Weather: 36.0°F | Overcast

Current housing system helps individual search for diversity

With Residence/Orientation Week memories still fresh in my mind, I can state unequivocally that R/O should not be removed from the MIT experience. It acts as an unequaled and irreplaceable introduction of freshmen to the autonomy and diversity of the MIT community. My friends from high school, all assigned to their dorms randomly their freshman year, were jealous when I described how I could choose my residence and the freedom of the MIT environment which allowed me to do so.

I do not believe my R/O experience was in any way unique or an anomaly. I ran the gamut from getting asked to spend a night at a fraternity to getting flushed. When I was flushed, it was done with extreme politeness, kindness and friendliness. The brothers suggested several other living groups I might like, and I thanked them for it. I felt no animosity towards them, and no rejection at all. Were I to encounter them now, I would thank them even more, because it made me look at more living groups and find one in which I was truly excited to live. Once I realized that the place I wanted to live was a dorm, it became clear that I would not have been as happy being part of a frat.

The whole point of the current housing system is that it helps freshmen to find groups of people whose styles and personalities complement their own; people with whom they can live happily and in a productive environment for the duration of their MIT career. Heavily emphasized was the fact that each independent living group and each dorm, even the floors within the dorms, have their own distinct personalities, and that no one place is right for everybody just as no one is right for all places. There are groups of people in which others just do not fit, and it is R/O that allows each freshman to pick exactly of which group he or she feels most a part.

The system works. The fact that some people get flushed further supports the efficiency of the system. It is a decision made in the best interest of both the student and the ILG, and it in no way means that the student won't find another ILG or dorm at which he or she will be happy. Often, this can encourage the student to continue searching.

The report of the Freshmen Housing Committee criticized the present system because it divided the campus resulting in "the lifestyles of some dormitories and ILGs being very different from those of other residential groups." ["Forum collects views on student housing system," Dec. 8.] This is a point to be celebrated, not criticized. Does the FHC want some average lifestyle with an average personality for every living group? As everyone knows, there is no such thing as an average MIT student, and when one tries to mix all the brightest, most beautiful and individually vibrant colors together, the result is a dull gray.

Brian Rubin '93->