2011 was a landmark year for the Undergraduate Association. Two successive administrations put forth plans to substantially restructure the organization, culminating in the dissolution of the UA Senate in December. A UA Council will take its place, comprised of representatives from dormitories, the Interfraternity Council (IFC), the Panhellenic Association (Panhel), the Living Group Council (LGC), and an off-campus representative. Unlike the Senate, constituencies will decide for themselves how to pick their representatives.
Although the building has been under assessment since Oct. 2010, the 95-year-old Walker Memorial will see no changes for the rest of the academic year. Plans to repurpose the space for the Music and Theater Arts (MTA) department remain unsettled, with no set deadline for completion.
The past year saw change and advancement for many holding leadership positions at MIT. A series of promotions, appointments, and step-downs shuffled faculty and staff, resulting in a new chancellor, dean of engineering, director of the Media Lab, and several academic department heads.
In 2011, MIT broadened its international network, entering partnerships with Russia’s Skolkovo Foundation, China, and Malaysia, as well cultivating a relationship with the Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD) established two years prior. These initiatives follow other international partnerships in recent years, including the 2007 creation of the Masdar Institute of Science and Technology with Abu Dhabi and the 2007 establishment of the Singapore-MIT Alliance for Research and Technology.
MIT unveiled a long-term vision for the next 20 years of its development — “MIT 2030” — this spring. Though not a concrete plan in itself, MIT 2030 is essentially a collection of campus renovations, new construction, and real-estate development projects, some of which have already started.
This year, the deaths of Nicholas E. Del Castillo ’14, Satto Tonegawa ’15, and Phyo N. Kyaw ’10 shocked and saddened the MIT community. The deaths of both Castillo and Tonegawa were determined to be suicides, and Kyaw was killed in a traffic accident near campus.
War is never a clean affair. The recent action in Libya is no exception — in victory, the rebels have taken to killing pro-Gaddafi forces in retribution, including, it appears, Gaddafi himself, who was captured while fleeing his final holdout in Sirte. But the final outcome is as pure and as cheap a victory as the United States can hope to force on the modern battlefield. The Department of Defense estimates that from March to September, the Libyan intervention cost the DOD a mere $1.1 billion, with no U.S. casualties.
A new poll from Gallup confirms once again the widespread support for amending the Constitution to provide for presidential election by popular vote. For those unacquainted with the issue, in the United States, the president is not elected by direct popular vote. Rather, the framers of the Constitution saw fit to create a college of electors, appointed and regulated by their respective state legislatures, to choose the president by majority vote. While the procedure for the selection of electors has been modified in the intervening 200 years — for example, electors are now nominated by state political parties and elected on Election Day — the gist is largely the same. Currently, 48 states and Washington D.C. allocate their electoral votes on a winner-take-all basis; only Maine and Nebraska delegate part of their votes on a district-by-district basis.
2011 was a big one for MIT students, particularly in the realm of student government. Depending on who you ask, there was some combination of victories and defeats resulting in the implementation of the long-fought dining plan, the dissolution of the Undergraduate Association (UA) Senate by itself and simultaneous creation of the UA Council, and the appointment of a new Chancellor, Eric Grimson PhD ’80, which gave hope for renewed trust in student-faculty relations.
Being an MIT student gives you a voice that few other people have. Like it or not, the MIT name makes you a representative of modern science and engineering. It’s no small secret that the world turns to MIT for its understanding of science, technology and related policy — just pick up the science section of the New York Times for proof. We’re not exaggerating, then, when we say that the pulse of MIT’s campus has a substantial effect on the world beyond the Institute.
2011 was a year of general unrest and uncertainty — rioting and political upheaval throughout the world, a possible start to the collapse of the Eurozone, and on American soil, the Occupy Wall Street movement. On the arts front, the arrest of Chinese contemporary artist and political activist Ai Weiwei on charges of tax evasion sparked international protest. Despite the universal tensions on political and economic fronts, however, the entertainment industry somehow managed to maintain its golden world of sugar-coated pop and blockbuster films.
With its atypical plot and talented cast, Win Win will win you over with a heartfelt story about being a loser. The movie revolves around an ever-so-average father, Mike (Paul Giamatti), who is struggling to make ends meet for his family, and Kyle, a troubled teenager (Alex Shaffer) whose unexpected agility and strength help rescue Mike’s high school wrestling team. If life’s got you down, this movie is a perfect remedy. As its tagline says, “in the game of life, you can’t lose ‘em all.”
Football is America’s sport. Not only because it is the most watched sport in America. Not because it is the top grossing sport in America. Football is America’s sport because it represents the morals that we as Americans value. There is little doubt about it after this past year.
This summer, while filling out the housing lottery, I’ll admit that I was apprehensive about moving into the newest dormitory on campus. What would it be like? How would I even know if I would like living there? Questions like these raced through my mind, until I realized that my peers and I could seize this opportunity and have an impact on a new MIT community. We could pioneer original traditions, develop the culture, and leave a mark on the dorm. When Maseeh Hall opened in August 2011, a group of 462 diverse residents moved in, and the dorm took off from there.