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Revised Grant System Will Give Dorm Money to Housemasters

By Cristina Roussel

While maintaining the increased dorm funding initiated last year, the Office for Residential Life and Student Life Programs will now provide that money directly to housemasters as discretionary funding instead of through a joint application process between the housemasters and dorm officers.

According to RLSLP associate dean Andrew M. Eisenmann ’70, the housemasters will continue to receive the same amount of money per student. In contrast to last year’s program, the housemasters will also receive about $5,000 of grant money.

Eisenmann’s major goal was to “foster community among and across the houses” through the program. Eisenmann also hopes to support the housemasters in their roles, he said, as well as the development of academic programs. Part of the grant money would be offered to the residents and would be earmarked for funding programs and events that would foster community. The other part would be given to the housemaster to be used at his discretion.

“It’s really great that [MIT] is fostering cross-community interaction particularly since living groups currently tend to self-segregate,” said Dormcon President Jennifer A. Frank ’00.

Charles Stewart III, housemaster of McCormick Hall, said the new changes “will put the money where the responsibility lies.” Stewart commented that “housemasters are given a lot of responsibility but not resources.” The housemaster is in charge of community spirit within the dorm, Stewart said, and having the funds more localized will facilitate the implementation of community activities.

Frank said that “while the cultures of all the different dorms and FSILG’s are important, we also should branch out and have more interaction with each other and learn with each other.” She said that the program will test the creativity of MIT living groups by giving them funding and resources for special academic programs that they will have to establish.

Program established last year

Last year, Eisenmann was able to allocate extra funds to dorms in the form of grants as well as increased funding to housemasters. Housemasters received $50 per student to fund dormitory events. To receive the grant, the dorm presidents had to collaborate with dorm housemasters and other leadership. Together they decided how they would use the money and then filled out an application that went to the dean for approval.

The exact breakdowns of how much money will go to these separate routes has not been decided. Eisenmann plans to collaborate with the housemasters and house officers to “develop guidelines that are clear but not too restrictive.”

The five thousand dollar dorm grant was available to both graduate and undergraduate student residents last term, with thirteen out of sixteen dorm participating in all.