Baker, Simmons, Maseeh are freshmen’s top choices
35 attempt to leave East Campus during FYRE
Baker, Simmons, and Maseeh once again topped the residence preferences in this summer’s freshmen housing lottery. MacGregor, on the other hand, saw its lowest numbers in four years, while Next demonstrated a surge in interest during the same period, according to data provided by MIT Residential Life and Dining. This year also marked the first time that Maseeh participated in the First Year Residence Exchange (FYRE), in which students have the option to switch dorms during their first week at MIT.
In the summer lottery, incoming freshmen ranked the 11 MIT undergraduate dorms in order of preference. Baker snagged the title of most desired, with 282 students selecting it as their top choice, marking the fifth time in the past six years that Baker led in popularity. Simmons and Maseeh followed, with 202 and 144 top picks, respectively. Dorms with dining halls, including Baker, Simmons and Maseeh, tended to fare better.
Next House has seen rising numbers every year since 2011, when 43 students selected it as their top choice. This year, 99 selected it as their top choice. MacGregor, on the other hand, has declined in popularity, having been named the top choice by 102 students in 2011 but only by 34 this year.
MIT’s FYRE program offers additional insight into the dorm preferences of students. During the Residential Exchange Program (REX) at the start of the year, students explored dorms and their distinctive cultures through a variety of events hosted by REX committees. Students then had the option to switch dorms in the FYRE lottery.
As this was the first year that MIT’s newest undergraduate dorm, Maseeh, participated in REX and FYRE, the Maseeh REX committee focused on organizing a few quality events as opposed to many small ones. “Most of our events revolved around food so that we could hopefully facilitate communication with actual members of Maseeh,” said Katie Gohres ’17, one of Maseeh’s REX chairs. Their biggest hit was an event in which they catered frozen yogurt from Café 472. Over 100 students showed up, said Gohres.
A few other Maseeh events didn’t turn out as well, though, due to mistakes in the reporting of event times, but Gohres said that next year the REX committee “hope[s] to be a lot more clear with each other … and with DormCon” concerning the scheduling of events.
The FYRE results show that Maseeh saw relatively few people wanting to switch in or out. Eight students requested to move in and only six requested transfer out. Gohres thought Maseeh’s relatively new culture and lack of “a solid set of personalities” might have contributed to this low turnover volume during FYRE. Since the dorm is composed of a “huge eclectic group of people,” there may have been an overall indifference to the FYRE process, said Gohres.
The dorms that saw the largest demand during FYRE were Burton Conner, with 34 students requesting to enter and only 10 leaving, and Simmons, with 28 requesting to enter and 12 leaving.
Evelyn Florentine ’18 was one of the few able to relocate to Burton Conner, and attributes her decision to enter the lottery to four tours of Burton Conner she took during REX. “I really liked the suite styles… and the fact that I’d be around people of all ages,” said Florentine.
As in previous years, though, several dorms had more difficulty attracting new freshmen. East Campus had 35 people attempting to leave and only five entering.
MacGregor also struggled to garner interest during both the summer lottery and REX. “The issue [with] MacGregor is that it’s not particularly awe-inspiring as an overall dorm because there’s not an overarching culture,” said MacGregor’s REX chair Elizabeth Shen ’16. “MacGregor has slowly been changing. I heard that in the past, it used to be a ghost town. People may still kind of think that, but it’s definitely become more vivid of a community.” MacGregor’s REX events this year, which included a carnival and a luau, were a chance to change that image.
Overall, most students were pleased with the housing selection process. Of the 1,044 MIT freshmen, 65 percent received their top choice during the summer lottery, and 68 percent of those who wanted to relocate during FYRE did so successfully.
Florentine thinks “it’s great that students have a lot of freedom to choose where they want to live.” She noted that, for the most part, “no other college lets you do that.”