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Dormitories Boast Unique Personalities

By Jennifer Lane
Staff Reporter

In the hasty nature of Residence and Orientation Week, freshmen must enter dormitory preferences on Athena by 3:00 p.m. tomorrow. Residents, dormitory presidents, and rush chairs have plenty of information to help students decide. As a supplement to rush visits, below is a quick overview of the structure and atmosphere in the Institute dormitories.

All in all, there are 15 choices for women and 14 for men in the housing lottery, comprising 10 dormitories, Chocolate City, and four language hoses.

It is important for freshmen to see all the dormitories and not just listen to upperclassmen, according to Residence and CampusActivities Staff Associate Phillip M. Bernard. "Everyone gets a chance to visit the places they might be interested in," Bernard said.

Bernard advised freshmen preparing for the lottery that "there is no way to fix the lottery system" and they should put down serious choices for housing.

Baker House

Baker House is an extremely social dormitory with an open-door policy among residents, said Rush Chair Christina Perez de la Cruz '97.

With 350 students, there are always upperclassmen around to help out new students, Perez said. Baker is one of two dormitories on campus that has their own dining hall, adding to the social atmosphere, she added.

Unlike other dormitories, different floors in Baker don't have different personalities, Perez said. "We're just one big dormitory."

Bexley Hall

The student who answered the phone at Bexley replied that the dormitory has neither a president nor a rush chair.

She then said, "We don't want freshman. It's a terrible place to live and we all hate it here."

Upon discussing her comments with everyone else in the room, the group decision was made that Bexley's message to freshmen is, "no comment." The dormitory is known for its tradition of an "anti-rush."

Burton-Conner House

Burton-Conner House is home to 375 people. The dormitory features suite-style living on 9 floors, said Diana M. Dorinson '96, Burton rush chair.

Each floor in the dormitory has a different personality, and people are into lots of different things including intramural sports and parties, Dorinson said. She added that many Burton-Conner residents cook for themselves, which is made possible by the kitchen in each suite.

East Campus

East Campus is the largest dormitory, with about 400 residents divided into 2 long buildings, each with 5 floors, said Rush Chair Bahman Rabii '96.

The dormitory has the reputation as being the "weirdest and wildest" dormitory on campus, Rabii said. However, since there is so much diversity among the floors, this reputation is true for some floors and false for others, he said.

There is a kitchen on every floor with many appliances, making the kitchen facilities "the best on campus," Rabii said. East Campus also has a lounge for parties, a courtyard, weight room, and laundry facilities, he said.

The dormitory has a good location, Rabii said. It is close to classes, the MBTA subway stop in Kendall Square, and Walker Memorial.

MacGregor House

Ninety-five percent of MacGregor's rooms are singles, said Rush Chair Lisa M. Jellett '96.

Macgregor is arranged in 9 entries that span different floors. Each entry is broken into suites of 6-8 people. Each entry has its own personality, Jellett said.

MacGregor has house parties where each entry sponsors a different activity. "This way, we get a large diversity of events," Jellett said.

"We have probably the best weight room on campus," Jellett said. Residents can use the darkroom, and are eagerly awaiting the arrival of new arcade games, she said.

McCormick Hall

McCormick Hall is the only all-female dormitory on campus. The dormitory houses 270 women, and is divided into an east and west tower, said Rush Chair Angela Kwan '97.

McCormick has many things to offer residents including living room spaces for parties and studying, a gymnasium, and two penthouses, Kwan said.

McCormick holds many social events throughout the year including semi-formals, formals, trips to the ballet, and hiking trips, Kwan said.

There is a kitchen on every floor and in any suite, and most freshmen triples have a river view, Kwan said.

New House

New House is composed of four numbered houses, four language houses, and Chocolate City. It is the only dormitory that has air-conditioning, said Karen T. Kohl '96, New House rush chair.

"A lot of people really like the individual houses because you really get a family feeling," Kohl said. "You get to know a small group of people really well."

New House tries to have activities incorporating the entire house, but Kohl said that people mainly associate with members of their own house. (See below for descriptions of the four language houses and Chocolate City).

Next House

Next House has about 360 residents divided into floors with different personalities, said Rush Chair Sarah B. Tegen '97.

Despite the fact that each floor is different, residents are very free to roam the floors and have friends all over the dormitory, Tegen said. "It isn't very cliquey," she said. In fact residents move between floors quite often, creating a very dynamic environment, she said.

Every April, Next House puts on Next Act, a resident-produced musi cal, Tegen said. They have intramural athletic teams ranging from B-league volleyball to D-league hockey, she said. Next House is also the newest dormitory, and has its own dining hall, she added.

Next House has residents very involved in activities, including Undergraduate Association President Carrie R. Muh '96, Tegen said.

Random Hall

The only dormitory located north of campus is Random Hall. Random is very independent and close-knit, according Mark L. Gottlieb '96, the dormitory's president.

Random is a small dormitory, with only 93 residents, Gottlieb said. Its location is convenient for restaurants and the T stop in Central Square. Random boasts a roof deck, games in the basement, and cheap laundry machines, he said.

Random is divided into floors each of which has its own name and personality, Gottlieb said. Each floor has a kitchen and lounge and houses 13 to 14 people, he said.

Senior House

Senior House is located in east campus and has an ideal location for commuting to and from the main Institute buildings, the Sloan School of Management, and the Kendall T stop, said Rush Chair Chris H. Barron '96.

Senior House offers a large, semi-private courtyard, a tire swing, and many kitchens, Barron said. A variety of different people live in the house, which is divided into 6 sections. People at Senior House try to have at least a little respect for one another, Barron said. The philosophy is basically "live and let live," he said.

Senior House President Sam L. Johnson '96 added that residents at Senior House pretty much "do whatever they want to do, and we don't give them any crap for it."

Next year renovations of the dormitory's interior begun this past summer will be complete, and current residents will help determine how the dormitory will look, Johnson said.

Chocolate City

Chocolate City and the four language houses in New House are also options in the housing lottery. Each has different requirements for acceptance into the house.

Chocolate City houses 28 minority, mostly African-American, males, said Chocolate City Rush Chair Anthony D. Stewart '96. Entrance to the house is based on what freshmen can do for the house and the MIT community, he said.

Language Houses

French House, German House, Russian House, and Spanish House make up the four language houses. Each living group has between 20 and 30 people who know or are interested in learning the particular foreign language and culture, according to the rush chairs for the language houses.

Language House residents cook dinner six nights a week for other members of their house, the rush chairs said.