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Communal Dining Key to Education

Communal Dining Key to Education

You report that Baker House is soon to be renovated and the size of its dining hall reduced ["Baker Renovations to Begin in Summer," Feb. 3]. During the 1973-77 period, when I lived in Baker House, communal dining was the glue that held us together as a group. It allowed you to meet people from other floors, cliques, and groups. It is a big mistake for MIT to let minimal economic considerations like letting the students save a few bucks on meals override policy considerations of community and collegiality. Harvard still requires participation in meal plans, so it is workable.

I hear from undergraduates now attending MIT that many do not have a feeling of community and togetherness and I believe that this is due to the lack of communal dining arrangements throughout the campus. I also note that the MIT faculty club no longer is available as a place for faculty to join and meet each other as colleagues in an informal, relaxed setting. If there is no collegiality, are there even colleagues? It is not for nothing that Homer tells us how, when Odysseus first meets new people, or rejoins old people, they sit down together to enjoy a nice hot meal of roasted thigh fat and innards.

Steven Weissburg '77