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Dorms Get Increased Funding and Grants

By Frank Dabek

The “MIT screw drive” hack still hangs in Lobby 7, but a Dean’s Office decision to increase the funding available to dormitories has been well-received by the community. The decision increases the per student allocation by approximately 50 percent (to 50 dollars) and also makes block grants of $5,000 available to dorms.

Andrew M. Eisenmann ’70, associate dean for Residential Life and Student Life Programs, said that the additional funding was available now due to the reorganization of his office over the past year. This was the “first year I had the broader responsibility” which enabled him to allocate these funds, he said.

He characterized the grants as an opportunity to look more broadly at the housing system in light of the recent Task Force Report on Student Life and Learning and other planning documents. Eisenmann said that the grants could be put towards any event or equipment purchase that furthered the goals of those documents.

East Campus President Jennifer A. Frank ’00 said that EC will use its grant to fund a semi-formal dance aboard the Spirit of Boston for the entire dorm. The event will be free for residents and inexpensive for non-residents.

Frank said that the house chose to spend the money on an event because they “wanted to encourage community.” East Campus residents, the housemaster, and the house manager helped to plan the decision, Frank said. It was encouraged that these different groups all be involved in creating the design proposal, according to Eisenmann.

Frank said that the grants were an “excellent idea... they should do it again in the future.”

MacGregor House will purchase audio/visual equipment, according to House President Edgardo J. Jimenez-Velazquez ’00. The house has purchased a TV and VCR and is looking into buying a sound system. Jimenez-Velazquez called the grant a “really good opportunity for us to get a lot of stuff that we needed.”

Gabriel M. Rockefeller ’00, president of Burton-Conner, said that his house will hold a “dinner cruise in April.” The cruise will allow “a whole bunch of people to go out for dinner on a Sunday night.” Rockefeller said that the Burton-Conner housemaster was the “primary organizer” of the event but that the house’s executive committee was also involved.

Ashdown House will use their grant in much the same manner as MacGregor house. House President Rebecca W. Xiong G said that the dorm would purchase six items including A/V equipment for their TV room, a computer, kitchen equipment, and exercise equipment. The decision on how to spend the funding was made by an open meeting of house members, Xiong said. She said that the grant was a “great idea” and got “the entire dorm involved in thinking about how to add to its community.”

Other dorms did not take advantage of the grant. Eisenmann said that Baker House and Senior House had not applied for funding. Bexley Hall was in the process of looking into the grant earlier this week.

Per student allocation increased

Eisenmann’s decision also increased the amount of funding housemasters will receive to distribute to GRTs for the funding of dormitory events.

This funding is separate from the grant process and from house taxes. RLSLP will supplement existing funding to bring the total amount dorms receive to 50 dollars per student. Eisenmann said that he hopes this additional money will enable dorms “to make local decisions about ways... to bring students together.”

The future of this funding is not assured, but Eisenmann said that if such funding continues to be available, he would like to continue the program.