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Scene at MIT: Election reflection

Photo: Justin Knight

On the morning of Wednesday, Nov. 9, Lobby 7 became a place for the MIT community to quietly gather and reflect on the 2016 U.S. presidential election results.

White paper wound around each pillar, making them ad hoc message boards for anyone who wanted to share their hopes, excitement, concerns, or fears. An outpouring of handwritten messages from students, faculty, staff, and visitors quickly filled the posters over three subsequent days.
The posters were the brainchild of junior Caroline Mak, who hoped to provide a way for MIT community members to discuss their thoughts in connection with the election. Starting on Thursday, the student group Tell Me About Your Day (TMAYD) was also on hand to lend support to anyone who wanted to talk about any aspect of the election. In addition, President L. Rafael Reif paid a visit, and Vice President and Dean for Student Life Suzy Nelson offered special discussion hours and refreshments in Lobby 7 as the MIT community demonstrated solidarity and support for one another.
On Friday, Nov. 11, the posters were replaced by a note from the project organizers acknowledging the importance of making visible the ambiguities that many community members were feeling, but might not want to express out loud. “The result was a reminder that we are humans, that we all have to live in a society together,” the note said, “and that we cannot simply pset our way to a better world. Instead we must make it; with struggle, with solidarity, with empathy, with each other.”

The poster messages will be transcribed, and the posters themselves will be preserved and stored in the Institute Archives.

Submitted by: Stephanie Tran, Division of Student Life | Photo by: Justin Knight

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Gabrielle Emanuel reports for WGBH that MIT students shared their hopes and fears following the 2016 election on sheets of paper wrapped around columns in Lobby 7. “It wasn’t long before the sheets were filled with notes scribbled in many different languages. There were famous quotes and personal confessions. There were pleas for understanding and calls for action.”

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