news spring09 by c9c18P


									                  MIT Parents News                                               A publication of the   M I T Parents Association
Vo l . X X , I s s u e # 1                     Sponsored by the MIT Alumni Association                                            Spring 2009

MIT’s Response to the Economy: Continuing Excellence
It was during another time of economic            president. An Institute-wide Planning Task       the David H. Koch Institute for Integrative
uncertainty—on the eve of the nation’s            Force of nearly 200 faculty, students, and       Cancer Research—are expected to be the
involvement in WWII—that then-MIT                 staff has been created to identify additional    greenest to date.”
President Karl Compton Taylor eloquently          cost-trimming strategies. Those within
defined MIT’s role as a part of a great           MIT’s units, departments, labs, and centers      MIT will also receive aid from outside
system of education created to discover and       are also evaluating and streamlining their       sources. Student and faculty research
teach the truth. MIT remains dedicated to         programming. Realizing that many cost-           at MIT, which has increased by 10
this purpose, regardless of the                   saving measures are personal, MIT is also        percent over the past seven months, will
economic climate.                                 working to raise awareness of everyday           benefit from the American Recovery and
                                                                    practices that can have        Reinvestment Act, which seeks to double
                                                                    a big overall impact if        research and development budgets at key
                                                                    enough people do them.         physical science agencies over the
                                                                                                   next decade.
                                                                     The Campus Energy
                                                                     Task Force has identified     MIT is adapting. Not only is the Institute
                                                                     a series of energy saving     adjusting its operations and spending, but
                                                                     measures that have the        it is also striving to minimize the impact on
                                                                     potential to pay back their   students and other members of the
                                                                     costs within three years      MIT community.
                                                                     or fewer. For example,
                                                                             replacements and      “In these tough financial times, MIT
                                                                             improvements of       recognizes that students and their families
                                                                             lighting systems      need our help more than ever. That’s
                                                                             campus-wide could     why we are pleased to be able to not only
                                                                             yield savings of      maintain our commitment to need-based
                                                                             $323,000 annually.    aid but to be able to allot more funds
                                                                             Already, testing      to financial aid overall,” said Dean for
Above: The Great Dome and Killian Court                                      steam traps in        Undergraduate Education Daniel Hastings.
Right: Solving the money puzzle                                              the campus-wide
                                                                             heating system and    Financial aid enhancements will outpace
Like many individuals and institutions,                                      replacing those       rising tuition for a tenth straight year. Also,
MIT has been affected by the current              that fail has resulted in an estimated annual    despite decreased Institute revenues, tuition
state of the economy. MIT’s endowment             savings of $800,000—more than the one-           and fees will increase by the smallest margin
decreased 20-25 percent between June              time cost of the replacements.                   in eight years, 3.8 percent, to $37,782.
and January and is expected to reflect a
30 percent decline for the fiscal year if         MIT seeks to reduce costs when planning
                                                                                                      Content summarized from:
conditions do not dramatically change. This       for the future, as well. The Institute’s new
gradual loss could mean a $150 million            buildings could potentially use a third less        MIT to Increase Financial Aid
reduction in funds over the next three years.     energy than existing campus structures.
                                                  “Sustainable buildings pay for themselves,”
MIT has taken immediate steps to cut              says Leon R. Glicksman, professor of                tuition-0218.html
costs while continuing to provide students        building technology and mechanical
                                                                                                      Letter to the MIT Community
with an exceptional education. Many staff         engineering and co-chair of the Campus
and faculty will forgo salary increases this      Energy Task Force. “Our newest buildings            from President Hockfield:
year. Hiring will be controlled, requiring        —the MIT Sloan School of Management,      
approval by the provost or executive vice         NW35 [the new Ashdown House], and                   letter-to-community-0219.html
   Greetings from the Parent Connector Chair
   Dee Wakeman P’09, Parent Connector Chair, Parents Fund Committee Member

   A message to all the remarkable parents of                                   and fun!            a coffee hour or an afternoon tea for
   MIT students around the world: It has been                                                       MIT parents in your area? The Parents
   a joy being a small part of this incredibly                                   For all of you     Association office can provide you with
   close-knit academic community during                                          who are Parent     contact information for your local MIT
   these past four+ years.                                                       Connectors,        families. Perhaps you or your child attended
                                                                                 please note        a Summer Send-Off or club picnic prior
   Although I have had the pleasure of                                           that Campus        to his/her freshman year; you might enjoy
   meeting hundreds of you at numerous                                           Preview            co-hosting one and welcoming new parents
   campus events throughout this time, I                                         Weekend            to MIT.
   truly regret that I did not have the privilege   Dee Wakeman P’09             (CPW) is fast
   of knowing many more of you, for I                                            approaching.       There are so many ways to be a Parent
   have learned something new with each             If you are planning to be in the Boston         Connector, no matter where you live or
   acquaintance I have made. For all of the         area during any part of that weekend, April     how busy you are. We are all so fortunate
   freshmen parents out there—please jump in        16–19, and would like to volunteer in our       to have this incredible bond, and sharing
   and get your feet wet. As parents, we are all    Parent Hospitality Room, please contact         our experiences with others may be the
   members of the MIT Parents Association.          our office by sending an email to               most effective way we have to be channels
                                           or calling 617-253-8183.        of knowledge about this unique and special
   You can take it one step further by joining                                                      place that is MIT!
   our Parent Connectors—those of us who            Remember that even if you live far
   create new links in a great chain of support     away from Cambridge, you can still be           I look forward to seeing many of you at
   and friendship that is self-sustaining           connected. Why not consider hosting             CPW, and later, at Commencement!

   By Ruthy Kohorn Rosenberg, J.D., Assistant Director, Office of Student Citizenship

   Tucked in the corner on the fifth floor of       Students come with all kinds of issues,         We keep all conversations in confidence
   the student center sits Mediation@MIT.           including roommates, floor-mates,               and will only share with the permission of
   Why does MIT offer conflict resolution           teammates, tensions in and between              the visitor or party—except in the unusual
   services and training to its undergraduate       organizations, advisor issues, and romantic     situation of imminent risk of harm to self
   and graduate students? Because we all deal       issues. They can come to talk about difficult   or others.
   with conflict—it exists. It’s how it is dealt    conversations, difficult people, or ways to
   with that is important.                          handle a dispute or conflict.
                                                                                                    “...we must learn to work with
   Students have always had to deal with            Last year, I became the first full time
   roommate issues, floor issues like dirty         director of student mediation within            other people and use conflicts
   kitchens and noise, and relationships.           the Office of Student Citizenship. I            over ideas, style, and approach
   Increasingly, students must deal with team       have more than 20 years of experience
   and lab mates. The fields of science and         as a mediator, teacher, university              to solve problems creatively
   engineering, along with the rest of the          administrator, non-profit director,             and constructively.”
   world, have moved into a collaborative era       and consultant. I am also an adjunct
   where we must learn to work with other           professor at Roger Williams University                                     - Ruthy Rosenberg
   people and use conflicts over ideas, style,      School of Law and a facilitator and
   and approach to solve problems creatively        mediator with the Massachusetts Office of       Conflict coaching is a one on one meeting
   and constructively. As students graduate         Dispute Resolution.                             between the student and a conflict coach.
   and enter leadership roles, they will need                                                       It provides students with the skills and
   these skills to be effective.                    This year, I am joined by our office            resources that will help them address a
                                                    coordinator Nikki Shenefiel. Nikki—who          conflict themselves, without a third party.
   We not only assist students in dealing with      has experience with residential advising
   disputes but also help them graduate with        and recently received a master’s degree in      If students choose mediation, the mediator
   the skills to deal with conflict in a variety    college and community counseling—will be        will facilitate a problem-solving process
   of arenas. Mediation@MIT offers conflict         helping with intake, training and services.     in which the parties themselves define
   resolution services to all undergraduate                                                         the issues and work towards the creation
   and graduate students and workshops on           We have a group of faculty, staff and           of a mutually agreeable resolution. If the
   mediation and conflict management skills         students trained as mediators, and we offer     parties reach an agreement, it is usually
   to students, faculty, staff, and alumni.         both conflict coaching and Mediation.           formalized and put into written form. The

2 MIT Parents Association                                                        
    process typically takes two hours, but varies     We offer full 32-hour mediation trainings      mediation skills, and they offer problem-
    depending on the case.                            for undergraduate and graduate students,       solving and resources to their peers within
                                                      faculty, staff, and alumni twice a year.       their department, lab, or center.
    We schedule sessions to meet the particular       We collaborate with other offices and
    needs of the people involved. The process is      programs within the Institute, including       So what are the skills needed to deal
    private and confidential and does not result      Student Activities, Student Leadership         effectively with conflict? These are: being
    in a student record. We can mediate with          Development, the Office of Minority            able to listen, being able identify the
    two individuals or larger groups.                 Education, the Division of Undergraduate       interests underlying the conflict, being able
                                                      Education, the Ombuds Office, and the          to frame key issues, and then being able
    Mediation@MIT provides workshops                  Center for Health Promotion and Wellness.      to negotiate and problem-solve. We teach
    throughout the academic year on subjects                                                         these skills both through our workshops
    such as basic conflict resolution skills          In addition, you may be interested to          and through our services.
    (active listening, conflict styles, identifying   know that if your student continues onto
    interests, framing issues) negotiation,           graduate studies, Mediation@MIT supports       In our experience, students with whom we
    having difficult conversations, and giving        a departmental-, lab-, and center-based        interact are learning these skills and find
    and receiving feedback. The workshops are         graduate student peer resource program         them valuable.
    usually tailored to the specific needs of the     called REFS (Resources for Easing Friction
    student organizations and living groups.          and Stress). We train graduate students in     Contact the author:

    The Accreditation Program:
    Promoting Higher Standards for MIT’s Independent Living Groups
    by Robert Ferrara, Director of FSILG Alumni Relations

    MIT offers a great variety of living              Accreditation Program. The AILG has
    experiences to its undergraduates, more           been readily able to recruit alumni to
    than any other top level university in            participate in the regular peer reviews of
    the country. About 40% of the MIT                 each FSILG since their alumni understand
    undergraduate student body belongs to one         what a gift this experience is to MIT
    of 38 diverse and very responsible chapters       undergraduates. Last year, this group
    of fraternities, sororities, and independent      received the MIT Alumni Association’s
    living groups referred to collectively as the     highest award, the Presidential Citation,
    FSILG community.                                  for their extraordinary work done on
                                                      behalf of the FSILGs.
    Our first fraternity was founded at MIT
    in 1873, our most recent sorority in 2008.        The accreditation peer review process
    The fraternities are all male, the sororities     requires the chapter’s alumni and
    all female, and most of the independent           undergraduate leaders to fill out a detailed
    living groups are coeducational. These            questionnaire and then meet with a
    groups create lifelong networks for               carefully selected review team of alumni
    their members and involve their alumni            from other FSILGs. The conversations           Over the river: Sigma Chi, May 2003
    very extensively in their operations and          are rich and mutually productive, and all
    oversight.                                        program aspects are fully documented.          Many of MIT’s most distinguished alumni
                                                      (See          were active members of their fraternity,
    Over the past three years, at the request         accreditation/accreditation.html.)             sorority, or independent living group. Our
    of the Dean of Student Life, the FSILG                                                           FSILGs give undergraduates unparalleled
    alumni have developed and run a peer              To the best of our knowledge, no other         opportunities to develop leadership skills
    review process known as the Accreditation         university has engaged alumni as deeply        that are both immediately useful and
    Program, which serves to ensure standards         as MIT in this oversight of student living     as graduates, helpful in the business,
    are met, to exchange best practices, and to       groups. The majority of the FSILG real         government, education, and nonprofit
    point the way to even better operations. In       estate—worth over $100M—is owned by            world. Recent MIT surveys have confirmed
    this short amount of time, we have seen           MIT alumni groups, and over 200 alumni         that FSILG alumni play major roles as
    the Accreditation Program become a vital          are actively involved in the operation         entrepreneurs starting new companies
    component in keeping all our FSILGs at            of the FSILGs. They span in age from           while creating new fields and new jobs.
    the top of their game.                            recent grads to older alums with decades       In joining an FSILG, MIT students have
                                                      of business experience. Octogenarian Bill      opportunities to meet, network with, and
    The AILG, the Association of Independent          Denhard, who graduated in 1942, has been       get to know these special alums. This
    Living Groups, is the elected volunteer           involved with his beloved Phi Kappa Sigma      remarkable community is well supported by
    organization of alumni who run the                chapter for more than a half century.          both its own successful alumni and by MIT.

3   MIT Parents Association                                                        
    Life and Learning Resources in MIT’s Residence Halls
    by Emily B. Flores, Residential Life Associate & Marc A. Lo, Residential Life Associate & Associate Housemaster

    Through direct student contact, initiatives     MIT.” Nina Davis-Millis, the Housemaster
    that encourage community engagement,            of Random Hall asserts: “It is a great
    and programs that foster intrapersonal          privilege to be part of the lives of a group
    development, the individuals that live          of incredibly gifted young people during
    in MIT’s residence halls and work with          the years when each of them is defining the
    residential students are full shareholders      self they will be for the rest of their lives. To
    in the Residential Life vision. These           me, the most rewarding aspect is seeing my
    shareholders are also resources that are        students grow and mature and change from
    called the “Houseteam.”                         eager young frosh to accomplished seniors,
                                                    ready to accept the challenges of their
    The Houseteam provides students living          next phase.”
    in the residence halls with a group of
    MIT students, faculty, and staff uniquely       Directly supervised by the Housemaster,
    qualified and very dedicated to the             each GRT is a graduate student who serves
    academic and personal success of each           as a live-in mentor (not an academic tutor)
    student. This group serves as a bridge from     and fosters a positive living environment
    the academic and administrative side of         for the undergraduate community.
    MIT to the welcoming communities to             Typically, a GRT is assigned to a particular
    which students “come home” after classes        area within a residence and provides
    and labs.                                       community-building and stress-minimizing
                                                    programs. The GRTs’ responsibilities also           Housemaster Charles H. Stewart III and GRT
    Every Houseteam is led by one of twelve         include encouraging personal growth,                Rumi Chunara SM’06 participate in the
    sets of Housemasters. Housemasters are          utilizing campus resources, and facilitating        annual Pizza Dinner in McCormick Hall.
    senior MIT faculty and administrators           positive interpersonal relationships. GRTs
    who are invested in the student experience      also implement community standards,                 attention and support. In addition to the
    and live with 100-500 students. In some         enhance security, and promote mutual                role that they play in student residences,
    communities (East Campus, MacGregor,            respect between and among the residents             MedLinks also promote awareness of larger
    Next House, and Simmons Hall),                  they serve. Because some GRTs join a                health issues on campus by organizing
    an Associate Housemaster shares the             community in their second year of their             community-wide events.
    responsibility for the community. The           PhD program, a student will occasionally
    Housemaster role is often seen as tri-fold:     have him/her as a resource for their entire         Among the full-time staff working
    first, to develop community within their        MIT experience. Many GRTs find their                specifically with one entire living group is
    building; second, to serve as academic and      position rewarding simply from being                the House Manager. They are the primary
    personal resources to their students; and       around the students’ energy and enthusiasm          coordinators of facilities and security for
    third, to supervise, advise, and guide the      as happens when living with brilliant,              each community. House Managers oversee
    various other students and staff that become    imaginative, and courageous students.               the housekeeping staff, room assignments,
    invested in our undergraduate communities.                                                          and keep the physical components of each
    Housemasters get to know most students          Going a step further to ensure the                  residence hall up-to-code. House Managers
    well and are often the first point of contact   physical health and wellness of students,           supervise the Front Desk Workers—
    when a concern arises. Housemasters work        the MedLinks program is designed to                 students who make sure that only the
    directly with the Graduate Resident Tutors      promote the well-being of MIT students              residents and their escorted guests of a
    (GRTs), the Dean on Call, MIT Medical,          through health education and peer support.          particular community gain access to
    the Residential Life Associate (RLA), and       MedLinks is a residence-based peer health           the building.
    the House Manager to support students           advocacy program comprised of student
    in need.                                        representatives who have been trained in            Facilitating the success of the Houseteam
                                                    First Aid, CPR, and a variety of health-            is a full-time student life professional who
    Why would someone want to work with             related issues. These students are trained to       lives on campus. Residential Life Associates
    students in this capacity? According to         dispense single doses of over-the-counter           (RLAs) are MIT staff members whose
    Kathy Hess, Housemaster of McCormick            medications and answer questions regarding          duties vary from building-to-building.
    Hall “I love being part of a community.         nutrition, sexual health, substance abuse,          Most frequently, they co-advise the House
    This community includes the student             mental health, and other issues. MedLinks           Governments alongside the Housemasters
    residents, but also the graduate resident       help connect fellow students to the many            while providing programs and events
    tutors, the house manager, night watch          campus support resources available at               that help students with personal and
    and housekeeping staff. There’s something       MIT, especially the policies and services of        academic challenges (i.e. communication in
    always going on. And people truly care          MIT Medical. Moreover, MedLinks help
    for each other, even under the pressure of      students determine when to seek medical                               Continued on page 5

4   MIT Parents Association                                                          
   Life and Learning in MIT’s Residence Halls        Making a Difference in MIT Education
                       Continued from page 4         by Carol and Charlie Herder P’09, Parents Fund Co-Chairs
   relationships, resume workshops, choosing
   a major, understanding diversity, etc.).          What role can parents play in the education      ecstatic about the Institute. MIT’s history,
   In certain communities (New House,                of their son or daughter at MIT? Of course,      accomplishments, openness to students, and
   Next House, and McCormick Hall),                  the most obvious answer is to provide            ability to really challenge our children in
   RLAs coordinate the Residence-Based               the financial resources necessary to cover       more than academic ways are just a few of
   Advising program through supervision of           tuition, housing, and the like. But if you       the remarkable things we have discovered
   the Resident Associate Advisors (RAAs).           really want to enjoy the four years that your    through our increased involvement.
   An RAA works closely with an Academic             child spends at MIT, if you really want to       Our collective Parents Fund support is
   Advisor to guide their first year advisees and    “jump in with both feet,” you will be happy      essential to the success of programs that
   to foster a positive and supportive first year    that you took the extra step of participating    directly benefit undergraduate student life.
   experience within the community, typically        in the Parents Fund.                             Most important is the participation of every
   through educational and social events                                                              parent, no matter the gift size.
   for freshmen.                                     Carol and I can quickly attest that adding
                                                     this extra measure of
   In the event of a student emergency,              involvement has made
   the RLA is also a primary member of               a world of difference,
   the Dean-on-Call system. The Dean-                not only in our
   on-Call is an after hours resource for            understanding of the
   community members if they do not                  awesome educational
   know where else to go or who to call              opportunity that our
   and need to speak with someone tied               son was so blessed to
   into the Institute. They are often the            receive, but in truly
   link between the caller, MIT Police, and          getting to know the
   other resources on campus, especially in          leaders on campus—
   the living communities. Members of the            both student and
   Residential Life Programs and Fraternities,       administrative.
   Sororities, and Independent Living
   Groups staffs are available to students           Initially, we started
   and community members for emergency               with a modest Parents
   assistance after hours (5pm–9am and 24            Fund contribution,
   hours on weekends) or when the Institute          but as we learned
   is on holiday. There is always a Dean             more and really
   on Call when the Institute is closed. In          got to plug in and                Parents Fund Director Tish Callanan P’08 (left) and Parents
   consideration for student independence,           become involved                   Fund Co-chairs Charlie and Carol Herder P’09. Photo by
   please always work with her/him if there          in the process, we                Katherine Peters
   is a concern. In the event the need arises        gladly increased our
   to enlist the help of the Houseteam,              commitment through the four years. The             This year, our goal is 2,700 parent
   Residential Life is here to help and support      most important step, for sure, was our             donations by June 30, 2009. To date, we
   that connection. Again, the Dean-on-Call          initial decision to just try it out for size.      have reached 56% of that goal. Please take
   is the initial link. To reach her/him for any                                                        the step right now to join us in supporting
   reason, call Campus Police (617-253-1212)         One of the best things about the Parents           our students, and the future of MIT, by
   and ask for the Dean-on-Call.                     Fund is that you can direct your gift              making a gift online today at
                                                     to various areas such as Student Life    
   Student Life and Residential Life at MIT          Now, UROP (Undergraduate Research                  (click on “Give now”) or sending a check in
   provide these resources to students because       Opportunities Program), Athletics,                 the enclosed envelope.
   they recognize that the college experience        Scholarships, the IRDF (Independent
   happens twenty-four hours a day, seven            Residence Development Fund) or                     You will grow to love MIT even more!
   days a week, for nine months out of the           Unrestricted. Regardless of your area of
   year. However, it is not their role to serve as   interest, just taking the step to become
   substitute parents. While Student Life staff      more involved in MIT life will make your           If you are interested in joining the Parents
   supports MIT students, they do so only to         student’s four years really come alive for you Fund Committee, contact Tish Callanan via
   enable a student’s own ability to effectively     as our son’s did for us.                           email at or call
   navigate challenges. The development of                                                              617-253-0708.
   not only academic, but also life skills drives    We now feel that we are an integral part of      For more information about the Parents
   the community life and learning philosophy        the MIT community and that our support           Fund Committee, its mission, and its
   and Residential Life constantly looks to          is having an impact. And while we are so         priorities, visit
   collaborate with students in that process.        proud of our son, we also have become            ParentVolunteers/#a2

5 MIT Parents Association                                                             
                                MIT Parents Association
                                600 Memorial Dr, W98-2nd Floor
                                Cambridge, MA 02139

              March                               Inside This Issue:                                                  POINT OF PRIDE:

              23–27    Spring Vacation
                                                  MIT’s Response to the Economy ..........................1           MIT discoveries
              April                               Greetings from the Parent Connector Chair .........2                top magazine’s
              16-19    Campus Preview Weekend     Mediation@MIT ..................................................2   list of year’s best
              20, 21   Patriots Day–Vacation      The Accreditation Program ..................................3
                                                                                                                      For the full story, visit:
                                                  Life and Learning Resources: Residence Halls.......4      
                                                  Making a Difference in MIT Education ................. 5            newsoffice/2008/
              14       Last day of classes                                                                            discover-top100-1216.
              18–22    Final Exams                                                                                    html


                                                                      Family Weekend
              5        Commencement
              Need to know the fall           Save t
              schedule? See projected key
              dates online:                                            Friday, October 16–Sunday, October 18
                                                      h ttp ://a l u m.mi t .e d u /p a re n t s /F a mi l y We e k e n d

                          MIT Parents News        600 Memorial Dr, W98-2nd Floor                    Cambridge, MA 02139             e-mail:               Phone: (617) 253-8183              Fax: (617) 258-6211

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