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Maseeh Hall (W1), MIT’s newly renovated undergraduate dorm, is now open for transfer applications. Current students who wish to move to Maseeh Hall must complete a short online application posted yesterday afternoon. Members of the Phoenix Group, undergraduates who committed to living in Maseeh Hall when they came to MIT and who are currently housed at the graduate residence Ashdown House (NW35), and Phoenix Group social members, who do not live at NW35 but participate informally in the community’s events, are guaranteed a spot in W1.

The dorm’s residents, 462 undergraduates total, will be 40 percent members of the freshman class of 2015 and 60 percent upperclassmen. Incoming freshman may select Maseeh Hall through the freshman housing lottery.

According to Adam J. Keyes, Manager of Housing Assignments for MIT’s Department of Housing, the applications will have students’ names, genders, and current dorms removed and will be reviewed by a Phoenix Group reading committee. Applicants will be chosen through a “mutual selection process” and will be notified of the decision by March 25, 2011.

The current Housemasters of the Phoenix Group — Professor Suzanne Flynn of the Linguistics and Philosophy department and her husband Jack Carroll — will be Housemasters of Maseeh Hall. There is currently an active search for an Associate Housemaster.

Students who are not selected for Maseeh will have the opportunity to enter the April housing lottery, which will also be used to fill any vacancies remaining after the first round. No applications will be required for students who choose to enter through the April housing lottery or for the classes of 2015 and beyond.

Carolina Roque ’13, Phoenix Group president and Dormitory Council Housing Chair, estimates that roughly 50–60 people from the Phoenix Group will be moving into Maseeh Hall.

Building dorm culture

The application questions, written by Phoenix Group members, asks prospective W1 residents to explain what they would like to gain from living at W1 and to offer one suggestion to improve the dorm.

Incoming students who wanted to join the Phoenix Group before Maseeh Hall opened filled out a similar application. “We wanted to gauge people’s personalities to make a strong community and have a strong bond to take over to Maseeh. It wasn’t competitive or anything like that,” Roque said. Roque also noted that the Phoenix Group worked with the MIT Housing Office to determine how W1 would be populated. “All members of the Phoenix Group are on a committee, so everyone has an input,” she said.

Roque said that the Phoenix Group Executive Committee is also trying to develop a strong dorm and floor culture. “We’re thinking of a way to allow groups of friends to move together so floor culture is easier to develop. We want to do a floor rush, and I don’t want people to think of us as ‘just another West Campus’ dorm. We want every floor to be unique, and every type of personality to feel comfortable there.”

An art committee is in the process of negotiating the painting policy at W1. According to Keyes, students will not be allowed to paint the walls, but they may be able to paint large canvasses which will be displayed around the dorm.

When asked whether or not the presence of a dining hall might affect people’s decisions to move to Maseeh, Roque said, “Despite the dining fiasco, I know a lot of people who want to move into W1, and a lot of people in the Phoenix Group are really excited.”

“Obviously, a lot of people won’t want to move into W1 because they like cooking for themselves, but that’s fine, because there’s a place for everyone,” she said. “That’s what I love about MIT.”