DormCon President- Elect Discusses W1 Integration, Dining

Last night, the Dormitory Council, which represents residents from undergraduate dormitories, elected next year’s officers. In the upcoming year, DormCon may be at the forefront of many important decisions, including the development of W1 and continuing debate over mandatory dining plans.

James Torres ’10 was voted DormCon president, and will replace outgoing president Sarah C. Hopp ’08. Preeya S. Phadnis ’09, Anthony D. Rindone ’10, and Geoffrey G. Thomas ’10 were elected vice president, treasurer, and secretary, respectively.

DormCon’s voting meeting was mostly attended by current DormCon officers and dormitory representatives and presidents, along with a handful of residents from some of the dorms. The voting process for each position was initiated by a round of nominations to select a set of candidates.

Following a brief statement by each candidate about their credentials and a closed-door discussion of each candidate’s merits (with the candidates waiting outside), each representative cast a vote on behalf of their dorm’s residents with more populous dorms getting more votes (each dorm is allocated one vote per resident). Residents at the meeting who disagreed with their representative’s vote could cast a dissenting vote.

President-elect Torres, a Burton Third resident and currently DormCon Risk Manager, said he wants to focus the issues of dining plans and W1, both of which have been “debated a lot in many different organizations such as the UA and DormCon.” Specifically, Torres said he would like to see W1 “integrated successfully into the DormCon community” and “any improvements in any way” in MIT’s dining options.

A successful integration of W1 for Torres would, at a minimum, include getting a DormCon representative from W1 “attending the meetings and giving us their opinions.” Torres said one member of the founding colony was already attending DormCon meetings and that, as of yesterday, W1 had decided to participate in the upcoming Residence Exploration period. It is not yet clear whether W1 residents will be taxed before DormCon can fund their REX events; Torres said he would consult the Constitution to determine the exact course required in making W1 an official member of DormCon.

Torres also praised Hopp’s term as president, saying he thought “she was very good” and that he would “like to continue her relations with the administration.” He added that he plans to discuss ideas with Hopp and “use her as a resource over the summer” before he takes office.

A couple more important items on DormCon’s agenda for next year include writing an official alcohol policy and creating an online dorm party registration system. Torres said DormCon was working with several other groups on creating a written policy that also incorporates provisions about the illegal use of drugs. “We want to make it as simple as possible” and “don’t want ambiguity,” said Torres.

A party registration site, one of Torres’ big advocacies this year, is also in the works. It is envisioned that the Web site will allow those over 21 who have gone through PartySafe training (a program run by MIT that teaches how to hold safe parties with alcohol) to register weekend parties by the middle of the preceding week. Torres said the online system should make party registration much easier by avoiding the hassle of filling out paperwork. The current system also requires lots of signatures, including approval from the MIT Police, whereas an online system could notify people automatically. In this way, Torres said he hopes to “encourage the registration of parties.”

DormCon also elected Donald K. Landergren ’09 as Judicial Committee Chair, Vinayak V. Ranade ’09 as Risk Manager, and James A. Ostrowski ’10, Brittany A. Holland-Marcus ’10, and Joeseph S. Pokora ’09 as Dining Chairs.