Free, As In Laundry

An email from MIT ResLife on April 19, 2013, the day after the death of Sean Collier:

We know today has been a long day. In efforts to continue to provide some community building residential life and dining will be opening all laundry machines for free from 7-10 this evening just a small way to let students gather together in social setting as we work thru [sic] this emotional day.”

Within fifteen minutes of the Boston Marathon bombings, students put together an editable spreadsheet to send around East Campus with the names of every resident and whether or not they had been accounted for since the incident. When Officer Collier was shot just a few minutes walk away from our home, I stayed up all night listening to police radio and watching local news with my hall. The following day, we as a dorm watched Disney movies in Talbot Lounge as “a small way to let students gather together in [a] social setting,” so no one had to be alone. Tributes to the MIT police force soon appeared on the Great Dome and the Stata police car (but who can say whether East Campus had a hand in either of these activities.)

ResLife & Dining gave us three hours of free washing machines.

It’s a common misunderstanding that the MIT administration and the students have different goals. Both East Campus and the administration aim to make our community safe and supportive. However, because the administration is so far removed from East Side residents, their attempts are often unhelpful or even counterproductive.

East Campus is full of students who care about each other. If ResLife wants to help our community combat pressing issues like mental health, suicide, and general safety, there is no better way to do so than to leverage the incredible sense of community we already have. A true community does not come from RLAD’s, free laundry, or security cameras. It comes from the ground up; from years of mutual respect, tradition, and experience.

I hope the MIT administration and East Side residents can work together in the future to keep our communities as exceptionally tight-knit and supportive as they are today

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