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New Corrdinator Runs Talbot House

Saul Blumenthal--The Tech
Talbot House, a popular retreat in Vermont for the MIT community, is currently undergoing organizational changes.

By Rita H. Lin
staff reporter

A new coordinator and advisory board will be in charge of managing Talbot House, an old New England farmhouse used as a retreat spot for the MIT community.

Franklin A. Tuitt, senior office assistant in the Office of Undergraduate Education and Student Affairs, is the new Talbot House coordinator. As the coordinator, Tuitt will take care of the day-to-day operations related to Talbot House.

Tuitt previously worked in the Campus Activities Complex as an assistant to Ted E. Johnson, assistant director for programs, before becoming coordinator.

Tuitt replaces the former coordinator, Sarah Tom. Tom left her position as administrative assistant in Residence and Campus Activities to continue her education.

Tuitt also plans for the creation of a Talbot House advisory board.

During a Nov. 13 informational meeting, the possibility of creating an advisory board to identify and address specific issues related to the needs of Talbot House was discussed, Tuitt said.

Although the idea is not definite, matters like potential board members, the board's role, what issues the board will address, and the board's structure still need to be discussed, "the general feeling was that the creation of an advisory board was a great idea," Tuitt said.

One undergraduate student will be named to the advisory board, said Undergraduate Association Richard Y. Lee '97.

RCA will select the student. "I think it's better if Talbot House is making the selection," Lee said. While the UA can help publicize, "they know better who they're looking for."

Tuitt's short-term goal is to make Talbot House accommodate as many visitors as possible, Tuitt said. In the long term, he will aim to keep the advisory board running.

The cost of maintaining Talbot House is directly related to the number of people who visit the house in each given year. Although visitors pay $67 per MIT student or $82 per non-MIT student for two nights and three meals, the house has not been doing too well during the last few years.

"The cost effectiveness of maintaining Talbot House is definitely one of the issues where an advisory board will be helpful," Tuitt said.

Talbot House currently falls under the control of RCA, but re-engineering efforts are currently under way to study whether or not the current arrangement is best suited to Talbot House and MIT, Tuitt said.

Talbot House is currently managed in the same Student Center office as the UA. However, the Talbot House office is slated to move out of the UA office and perhaps move to the RCA office, Lee said.

Outdoor activities, skiing nearby

Talbot House, built in 1891, is located in South Pomfret, Vermont, approximately five minutes from downtown Woodstock and about 2.5 hours driving from MIT.

In 1967, the house was donated to MIT by Laurance Rockefeller. During the past two decades, significant changes were made by increasing bathroom and shower capacity and increasing the numbers of bedrooms.

The alterations enabled groups of over 20 people to visit the house at any one time.

Members of the MIT community take advantage of Talbot House as a place to enjoy outdoor activities that Vermont has to offer. Many student groups go during the winter season to enjoy skiing at places like Killington, Pico, Okemo and Suicide Six.

The scheduling for groups who want to visit Talbot House is done by straight lottery, especially during the popular skiing season in January and February. Student groups are given priority over non-student groups of alumni or staff.

The deadline for January applications has passed. However, some weekdays are still available for the MITcommunity. The deadline for February applications is Dec. 13. In addition, there are still a few weekends available in December. Vacancy scheduling is done on a first come, first served basis.