Application Deadline Extended After Few Apply for Segue PlanBy Jeffrey Greenbaum
MIT’s “Senior Segue” plan, designed to alleviate the anticipated housing crunch next year, has thus far failed to attract enough juniors from undergraduate dormitories into graduate halls.
Accordingly, the members of the Short Term Strategic Housing Committee have extended the deadline for juniors to apply for the Senior Segue option from this past Saturday for at least one week.
Under the plan, juniors who choose to live in graduate housing their senior year are guaranteed housing in the same dormitory for their first year of graduate school. Chancellor Phillip L. Clay PhD ’75 said the target number of students necessary to prevent any crowding in undergraduate dormitories is between 120 and 150.
As of April 20, only 49 students have applied for this program, said Denise A. Vallay, manager of undergraduate residential services. Of the 49 applicants, 20 selected The Warehouse, 13 chose Tang, 10 opted for Sidney-Pacific, and six chose Ashdown as their first choice.
In addition, Kappa Alpha Theta President Sheila Viswanathan ’04 said that earlier this month her sorority committed to housing between 20 and 25 sisters in Sidney-Pacific.
“There is enough of a shortfall unless something miraculous happens,” Clay said.
However, he still supports the crowding plan, which requires some 15 percent of the junior class to move. “We think that this is a really good deal, and we do not need a lot of people to make this choice,” Clay said. “I think that fundamentally it is an excellent proposal.”
Segue deadline extended
Barun Singh G, chair of the Graduate Student Council Housing and Community Affairs Committee, said that the committee wanted the remaining undergraduates to come from the Senior Segue plan.
“We would really like for it to succeed,” Singh said. “Our objective is to make this plan viable.”
Singh said the committee members therefore decided to extend the deadline by at least a week and that they will continue to heavily advertise this option to juniors.
Juniors like their communities
Although juniors are often already considering MIT graduate programs, Clay said that many juniors did not see the benefits of moving through the Senior Segue.
Singh agreed, saying that juniors “do not realize the advantages of Senior Segue.” He said that he wants juniors to understand that the graduate students will invite the undergraduates to be apart of their community.
Nonetheless, Flora M. Lee ’03, who is considering applying for the M.Eng program in Course VI, said that her “impression of graduate housing is that it is secluded.” She added that “she wants to stay with [her] friends, and it seemed like it would be harder to live near her friends” in the graduate dormitories.
Crystal Shih ’03 thought that the Senior Segue plan “was intriguing and that [she] heard some good things about the graduate dorms, like the kitchens.” However, she did not think that she would be a graduate student at MIT and would like to continue living with her friends in her undergraduate dormitory.
Christopher A. Cassa ’03, however, said that he liked “that you are guaranteed housing” through the Senior Segue option. Cassa applied to move into The Warehouse. “The rooms seemed pretty nice,” Cassa said. “I wanted a single, and it seemed like it was pretty close to campus.”
Despite moving out of his undergraduate community, Cassa said that he “feels like [he] can still be a part of it after [he] leaves.”
Juniors want to live in singles
In last year’s continuing student graduate lottery, approximately ten percent of the applicants were given graduate housing, in either Ashdown or Edgerton House. Singh said that because very few continuing graduate students who apply receive housing in Edgerton that most M.Eng students receive housing in doubles or triples in Ashdown for their first year.
By participating in the plan, Singh said that a junior “would probably receive either a single or double for his senior year and would be much more likely to get a single their following year, especially if he is active in his dorm community.”
However, Cassa said that “seniors would have singles in the [undergraduate] dormitories,” rather than the potential of having a double.
For example, Cassa said that some students were not considering Sidney-Pacific because they wouldn’t be guaranteed a single.
Cassa said some juniors “were misled about Sidney-Pacific.” Because “they did not make it clear [that people would not be guaranteed a single] it caused people to be misinformed.” When juniors found out later near the deadline, “some changed their minds,” Cassa said.
However, Clay said that “the issue of getting a single is not a problem if they request one.”
Juniors move into Simmons also
In addition to these four graduate dormitories, 73 juniors have currently applied to live in Simmons Hall, said Vikash Gilja ’03, co-chair of the Simmons Hall steering committee.
“The whole Simmons push has been on all year,” Clay said. “This [Senior Segue] option has only been presented during the last two and a half weeks.”
Singh said that “this is a new type of program and that students might be nervous about being the first ones to try it.”
Singh said that the Housing and Community Affairs committee proposed to Clay the idea of providing further “financial incentives to juniors willing to participate [in the Senior Segue.]” These incentives would be graduated based on one’s particular dormitory and room type.