Students who can show proof that they have renters’ insurance will be allowed to store items in their dorms this summer, in spaces designated by the Division of Student Life, under a plan first unveiled at last week’s DormCon meeting.
The DSL is negotiating with several companies in an effort to offer affordable options for purchasing renters’ insurance.
DSL Residential Life will have to approve the storage spaces for use, which means the spaces will have to meet various standards such as the ability to be securely locked and the presence of sprinklers. DSL believes that any necessary upgrades to storage spaces “can successfully be made before summer,” DormCon housing chair Sonja Postak ’16 said.
Students will also be “required to pack their belongings — excepting large items such as furniture, refrigerators, and luggage — into boxes provided” by the DSL, according to an email from DSL Director of Communications Matthew D. Bauer.
It has yet to be determined exactly how proof of insurance will be checked and how students’ stored belongings will be catalogued. Bauer said that the storage process in each dorm will probably be run by students, based on a process outlined by DormCon and the DSL. Further details will come in the next weeks.
Postak emphasized in an interview with The Tech that the DSL is willing to be flexible this summer and provide “creative solutions” to issues that may come up, particularly in light of the fact that the new storage plans are being implemented on relatively short notice.
For students in dorms which do not have storage space — New House, Next House, Maseeh, and Baker — other storage options will be available. DSL is negotiating with storage companies, apparently including one that just hired the same person who used to run the Metropolitan Storage Warehouse.
MIT will not be partnering exclusively with any of the renters’ insurance or the storage companies, so students can take advantage of whatever storage options are optimal for them, whether those are negotiated by MIT or not.
There is also the possibility that students whose parents have homeowners’ insurance that extends to the students’ belongings will not have to purchase renters’ insurance.
According to Dean of Admissions Stu Schmill ’86, financial aid will not be available for summer storage or renters’ insurance, as Student Financial Services “[isn’t] able to offer financial aid for undergraduates to cover summer expenses.”
Dennis Collins and Peter Cummings of DSL brought the renters’ insurance proposal to DormCon leaders last week. The idea had not been one of those previously discussed by DormCon.
The idea of renters’ insurance for students, however, had already been discussed on campus. A campaign was introduced in 2014 by the Housing and Community Affairs committee of the GSC to encourage graduate students to buy renters’ insurance due to the fact that MIT is not liable for items damaged in dorm rooms.
Postak reiterated that the plan is still “currently developing” and many things are up in the air. DormCon and DSL hope to have plans for in-dorm storage for this summer finalized before spring break.
She says they “know people are very stressed out about not knowing what’s going to happen to their things” and they’re “working pretty hard to try to get that information out.”