Kaiser, Grimson launch Graduate Student Housing Working Group

Effort comes in response to faculty’s 2030/Kendall task force recommendation; Kendall Square zoning hearings continue.


Provost Chris A. Kaiser and Chancellor W. Eric Grimson have implemented one of the key recommendations that emerged from the report of the Task Force on Community Engagement in 2030 Planning. The Task Force, led by Tom Kochan, the George Maverick Bunker Professor of Management in the MIT Sloan School of Management, was charged in its initial phase with reviewing MIT’s proposal to redevelop Institute properties in the east campus and Kendall Square areas.

The Task Force’s report recommended that MIT proceed with the proposed Kendall redevelopment by advancing its zoning petition before the City of Cambridge; implementing a comprehensive effort to imagine gateway opportunities at the intersection of the campus and Kendall Square in conjunction with an east campus planning review; and undertaking a study of housing needs, particularly among the graduate student population.

The Working Group

The Graduate Student Housing Working Group, chaired by former Chancellor Phillip Clay, the Class of 1922 Professor of Urban Studies and Planning, has been formed and given its charge. Faculty members of the Working Group are John Ochsendorf, the Class of 1942 Associate Professor of Building Technology and Civil and Environmental Engineering; Ezra Zuckerman, the Nanyang Technological University Professor of Technological Innovation, Entrepreneurship, and Strategic Management; Jaime Peraire, the H.N. Slater Professor of Aeronautics and Astronautics and head of the Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics; Steve Bell, a professor of biology; and Christine Ortiz, dean of graduate education, in an ex officio capacity. Graduate student representatives on the Working Group are Nathaniel Schafheimer, Kevin Cedrone and Andrea Dubin. Lydia Snover and Jagruti Patel of the Institutional Research section in the Office of the Provost, and Peter Cummings in the Office of the Dean for Student Life, will provide staff support.

The charge

Kaiser framed the context within which the Working Group has been launched: “In order to strengthen the MIT 2030 campus planning framework, as recommended by the Task Force on Community Engagement in 2030 Planning, the Institute needs to develop and articulate a vision for serving its community’s housing needs. As a first step in this process, a Graduate Student Housing Working Group has been formed with the following charge:

“MIT’s strength comes from the high quality of its people and in taking a leadership role in developing the future of the residential research university. In this regard, MIT needs to do the utmost to maintain competitiveness in recruiting the best graduate students and providing a rich and engaging residential experience for them. This Working Group is asked to:

  1. Evaluate the ways in which the graduate student housing needs are currently met, and identify strengths and weaknesses in our current approach in the context of graduate student recruiting and satisfaction.
  2. Recommend ways by which the graduate student housing needs might be best served into the future in order to maintain competitiveness. Any recommendations which require new resources should be weighed against the need for other resources to support the graduate student population.”

Clay, the Working Group’s chair, indicated that he is eager to get started: “I am delighted that we are now ready to proceed with our work. We will work hard to accomplish as much as we can before the end of the term.” Clay also indicated that one of the Working Group’s first tasks is to determine how best to identify key resources and gather information and perspectives from the community.

Kendall zoning hearings continue

On March 5, the Cambridge Planning Board unanimously recommended adoption of MIT’s proposed Kendall zoning petition to the City Council, with modifications resulting from discussions taking place over the course of 10 previous meetings.

The City Council Ordinance Committee held its second hearing on the petition on Feb. 26, when MIT officials provided an overview of proposed features related to the Kendall Square proposal. At its third hearing on March 7, MIT’s presentation focused on housing, retail, open space, parking and other topics. City councilors and members of the public asked questions and offered observations on many facets of the proposal at both hearings.

All of MIT’s public presentations since spring 2010 have been posted on MIT News.

Reif describes ‘our dream’ at Kendall Square Association’s annual meeting

At the fifth annual meeting of the Kendall Square Association on March 13, MIT President L. Rafael Reif gave a keynote presentation focused, in part, on ways that MIT and others can foster, and benefit from, Kendall’s rising innovation ecosystem. In his remarks, Reif told the audience that the Kendall Square Initiative is “part of our dream.” He continued, “The goal is to continue to enable Kendall Square to be a vibrant destination for retail, restaurants, for entertainment — to be truly a unique district where people live and play. By having the ecosystem we have here, we can expose our students to … a living laboratory to watch brilliant entrepreneurs at work, moving innovations from the lab into the marketplace.”

Upcoming Kendall Square Initiative meetings

Faculty Forum
Tuesday, March 19, from 5 to 6 p.m. in Room 3-270

City Council Roundtable Discussion
Friday, March 22, at 9:30 a.m. in the Sullivan Chamber at Cambridge City Hall, 795 Massachusetts Ave.

Open House Discussions (both taking place in the first-floor space at One Broadway, next to the restaurant Firebrand Saints):

  • Saturday, March 23, from 10 a.m. to noon
  • Tuesday, March 26, from 6 to 8 p.m.

Topics: Campus buildings and architecture, Campus services, Chancellor, Graduate, postdoctoral, Kendall Square, Kendall Square Association, MIT 2030, MIT Administration, Provost, Residential life, Student life, Students

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