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The Role of Dormcon

Guest Column
Jennifer A. Frank and Daniel G. Collarini

Every term I look on my bursar’s bill and notice that one extra dollar is charged as a separate item to my house bill. For two years, I asked various people what that extra dollar was for. No one could tell me. It wasn’t a big deal because, hey, what’s one dollar compared to fifteen thousand? But nonetheless, it bothered me.

I, like most of you, I’m sure, don’t like shelling out more money without at least some explanation for its use. Yet until I became involved in my dorm’s government, I still didn’t know why I was giving MIT that extra dollar. That mystery dollar, I soon discovered, was given to Dormcon for their budget. Fine. Finally, an explanation for that rogue buck. But the only problem was, what the hell is Dormcon?

Until I became a house president, I had no idea what Dormcon was. I was just told by our former house president to go to a meeting at Baker at 10 p.m. on Thursday. “Sure thing,” I said, because I wanted to be involved. And once I got there and sat through an entire meeting, it occurred to me why I had never heard of Dormcon. They actually didn’t do a whole hell of a lot.

That was two years ago. And while Dormcon has had a large role in the organization and execution of Dormitory Rush activities, it had never made a large impact on student life in the dorms. This lack of activity on the behalf of dormitory residents is disturbing, especially considering that the contingency of Dormcon, or the Dormitory Council, consists of about 2,500 MIT students.

Over the past year, however, Dormcon has taken on a stronger role in the dormitory community. We have been working with the administration to bring more programming into the dorms: both educational stuff, like MedLinks and UpFront, and fun stuff, such as a huge barbeque outside of the 8.02 final last term. Dormcon has acted as a sponsor to several large events on campus, ranging from Senior House’s Steer Roast to last Spring Weekend’s Busta Rhymes concert.

In the past few months, Dormcon has taken an active role in the redesign of the residence system here at MIT. We have been meeting frequently with representatives from the four other student governments on campus, the Graduate Student Council (GSC), Association of Student Activities (ASA), Interfraternity Council (IFC), and the Undergraduate Association (UA). If you haven’t already heard of these groups and their activities, you should take some time to investigate what we are all about. Each group is very important to maintaining a balance within student life at MIT.

Dormcon now has representatives sitting on multiple Institute committees, ranging from the Campus Activities Complex (CAC) Advisory Board to the Fire Safety committee.

This year, we have plans to expand our horizons a bit. There are plans for an Alumni Dormcon that would keep in touch with those members that have graduated but still have an interest in affairs on campus. We are also planning to start a newsletter so that we can better communicate to our constituents what Dormcon is doing for them.

Dormcon has been working hard to involve itself more with its constituency. Our goal is not only to govern efficiently the dormitory body, but also to act as a coherent liaison to the administration when issues arise within the dormitory system. When Dormcon makes a decision, we want it to be for the benefit of all the dormitory residents and for the entire MIT community as well. Remember, if you decide to live in a dorm, you are already a member of Dormcon. So stop by our first meeting of the semester and learn how you can get more involved at MIT.

Jennifer A. Frank ’00 is the president of Dormcon. Daniel G. Collarini ’99 is the chairman of Dormcon’s Judiciary Committee.