Ashdown's Culture Also Endangered by Housing Committee
I am writing regarding the articles ["Deans Consider Moving All Undergrads To West Dorms," Nov. 1, "EC, Senior House Residents Meet to Discuss Housing," Nov. 4] which have recently been published about the possibility of moving residents of East Campus to Ashdown House.
Much has been said about opposition to this possible plan on the part of undergraduate residents of East Campus, but one point of view which seems not to have yet been expressed is that of the graduate students affected by this plan.
As a resident of Ashdown House, I, like many others who live there, do not like the idea of Ashdown being converted to an undergraduate dormitory. It may seem that Ashdown is not suited for graduate housing, or that graduate students would prefer to live in a different kind of residence, but in fact there are many graduate students who choose to live in Ashdown because of the sense of community which can be found there, and which is unique to this one dormitory.
The Ashdown community exists partly because of the housing style. Because people share kitchens and common living areas, there are many opportunities to get to know fellow residents. There is also an active student leadership in the dormitory, which organizes many activities for residents. In addition, there are events organized by housemaster Vernon Ingram and his wife which add to the feeling of community. This vibrant community could be lost forever if the plan to move undergraduates into Ashdown goes through.
Not only does Ashdown have a strong community, it also has a feeling of history and tradition associated with it. Ashdown House, MIT's first graduate dormitory, has served that function since the building was purchased by MIT in 1938.
Moving undergraduate residents to Ashdown House would not only affect the lives of those undergraduates, it would also affect the many graduate students who currently live in Ashdown, as well as those who will hopefully live there in the future. This plan has the potential to destroy a community which has an important impact on the experiences of many MIT graduate students.
Jennifer A. Sullivan G