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Two win in residence-design contest

The Beaver Dream Team and the Dorm Design Team are co-winners of the IAP Residence Design Contest that took place from January 19-29.

Winners of the "Reinventing Residence Life @ MIT" competition were announced on Monday by the Residence System Steering Committee (RSSC), chaired by Alumni/ae Association Vice President William J. Hecht (SB 1961). "We were very happy with the contest," he said. "The judging was a challenge."

Chancellor Lawrence S. Bacow said, "A great number of exciting ideas have been generated by this contest. I am very pleased with these results and with the fact that MIT is right on schedule for opening the new residence hall in the fall of 2001."

In announcing its decision, the RSSC said, "These two teams presented equally outstanding though markedly different proposals and presentations. Therefore, the committee... wants them to 'share' the first and second prizes."

Eleven teams, made up mostly of students, participated in the competition. Most stressed the importance of continuing to allow students to choose where and with whom they live. Team rosters and details of the proposals are available on the web.

Mr. Hecht said the committee would blend the best elements of all the plans into one or more recommendations during the next month. These recommendations will be presented to the community during April and May for further discussion and feedback. A final proposal should be ready for Chancellor Lawrence S. Bacow by September 1.

The Beaver Dream Team, whose members made their presentation in matching white shirts and khaki pants, said that fostering a sense of community and class pride were supremely important. This proposal suggested that first-year residences house 75 percent freshmen and 25 percent upperclassmen and graduate-student mentors.

The Dream Team's members are seniors Van Chu of literature and Ryan Pierce of mechanical engineering; Matthew McGann, a junior in mathematics; Matthew Lahaie, a sophomore in biology; J.P. Clarke (SB 1991, SM, PhD); Mary Enterline and Alberta Lipson, associate deans for academic services; Rick Gresh, program coordinator in the Residential Life Office; Paul Reynolds, Catholic chaplain; Ri Romano, assistant registrar for student information; and Elizabeth C. Young, student programs coordinator in the Office of Academic Services. The RSSC liaison member is Elisha Hopson, a junior in civil and environmental engineering (CEE).

The core of the Dorm Design Team proposal would allow current living groups to convert themselves voluntarily into theme houses with strong MIT affiliation and connections. Students would be permitted to ally themselves with a theme house even if they do not live there.

Members of the Dorm team are juniors Christopher Beland and David Maze of electrical engineering and computer science (EECS) and Sarah McDougal of CEE; Yvonne Lai, a sophomore in mathematics; Paul-Gabriel Wiener, a sophomore in mechanical engineering; Abbe Cohen (SB 1997), materials science and engineering graduate students Jason Gratt (SB 1993) and Alice Man (SB 1993); Jan Willem Maessen (SB 1993), a graduate student in EECS; Assistant Professor Bettina Voelker of CEE (SB 1989); and Matthew Belmonte, a lecturer in the Program in Writing and Humanistic Studies. The RSSC liaison member is Associate Professor of History Anne McCants.

The prizes are trips for six to the United Kingdom and California. The RSSC proposed that members from both teams share each prize. Guidelines, restrictions and reporting expectations for the trips will be given to both teams shortly. Each will be asked to select members for the trips and to determine dates of travel.

Members of the RSSC reviewed and ranked each proposal. The rankings were combined and the entire committee considered the merits of each. The committee will provide feedback to all 11 teams.

"On behalf of all the members of the RSSC, we extend to each team member our heartfelt thanks for contributions to the design of a new residence system for MIT," the committee said in announcing the winners. "These contributions are of extraordinary importance to the future of this unique and special place. They are deeply appreciated."

Besides Mr. Hecht, Professor McCants and Mr. Hopson, members of the steering committee are Jennifer Berk, a sophomore in EECS; Eric Liu, a junior in mechanical engineering; Abigail Pelcyger, a sophomore in chemical engineering; Professor Paul Gray of EECS (SB 1954); Associate Professor Karen Gleason (SB 1982) of chemical engineering; Andrew Eisenmann (SB 1970), associate dean for residence and campus activities; Erin Hester (SB 1982) and Steven Stuntz (SB 1967).

A version of this article appeared in the March 3, 1999 issue of MIT Tech Talk (Volume 43, Number 21).

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