For some of their most important needs — including good meals, quiet places to study and sleep, and opportunities to create thriving communities — thousands of students rely on the resources provided every day by the dynamic staff of MIT’s Department of Residential Life.
Yet while these staff members regularly work together to support healthy and successful student lifestyles, their offices were physically spread across campus until this semester. Now, a newly consolidated Residential Life office space serves as a headquarters for collaboration and makes the department’s resources more accessible than ever before.
“As a critical part of the Division of Student Life, Residential Life provides a broad range of services to the MIT community,” says Dean for Student Life Chris Colombo. “I am happy to see the offices together in one space to encourage their tradition of collaboration.”
An open house on Nov. 18 celebrated the physical unification of the four offices of the Department of Residential Life — Housing, Campus Dining, Residential Life Programs, and Fraternities, Sororities, and Independent Living Groups (FSILGs). The recent addition of FSILGs Office to W59 — a move from their previous Student Center (W20) location — and the completion of office renovations marked the final elements of the consolidation. Staff, faculty and students from across campus stopped by the event to see the updated space, enjoy afternoon treats and take photos with surprise guest Tim the Beaver.
"Having all four offices underneath one roof in W59 has strengthened the cohesiveness of the department,” says Senior Associate Dean for Student Life Henry Humphreys, who serves as the department head for Residential Life. “The open house was a perfect opportunity for us to show off our new office space to students and colleagues.”
October renovations provided the Residential Life suite with more space and a fresh look. New walls and floors in the front entrance and an open reception area now make a more welcoming space for students and guests. Part of a neighboring suite was repurposed as a second conference room for students and staff. Reassembling two large offices yielded four individual offices for the FSILGs staff.
“The FSILG Office really enjoyed the chance to come together with the rest of our Residential Life family here in W59,” says Jennifer Meredith, program assistant for FSILGs. “We also felt very honored that so many colleagues stopped by the open house."
Residential Life's four offices, taken together, foster supportive living and learning environments to advance the academic success, individual well-being, and community life for MIT students.
Campus Dining oversees the House Dining meal plans, the 26 retail dining options on campus and the internal catering options for the MIT community. The Housing Office maintains safe, comfortable on-campus residences for thousands of students — including nearly three-quarters of undergraduates and more than one-third of graduate students — and provides resources to help members of the MIT community find places to live off campus. The FSILG Office supports MIT’s 27 fraternities, six sororities and five independent living groups. Residential Life Programs provides services, activities and live-in staff in the dormitories for learning and student development.
Junior Michael Plasmeier, student vice president of facilities and services at Baker House and a member of the MIT Undergraduate Association’s Committee on Student Life, interacts with all four of Residential Life’s offices and praised the new space at the open house.
“I work closely with the staff in Residential Life,” Plasmeier says. “The new space allows me to speak with the people I need to, all in one place, at one time.”