Why Get Around MIT when you can just MIT?
Many of you will probably play Fallout 4 soon. You better get to know the Institvte. Yes, with a V.
Know Your Communities
You better know the people.
Know Your Undergrad Dorms
Contrary to unpopular belief, Senior House does not actually house only seniors. Rather, it is the most senior of MIT’s dormitories, having existed a decade or so longer than Fred. Any cursory tour of Senior House will reveal distinctive features of buildings built in days long past, like elevators and air conditioning. Senior House’s fifth and sixth floors are very small and constitute an entity called the “Tower”. A few people live in this high place.
Senior House’s bent-piece-of-brickstrap-shaped figure embraces Gray House, the residence of the MIT president, symbolically depicting the perennial cordial synergy between Senior House and the MIT administration.
Some residents of Fred refer to their dorm as EAsT camPUS, but as the lowercase letters there tell you, that name is a scam. The actual name of the dorm is the East Campus Alumni Memorial Houses, abbreviated “Fred”.
Fred is the only MIT dorm to actually comprise of two separate buildings, although they are connected by an underground tunnel. The West parallel is home to Fred Desk (specifically, in the third of the parallel called “Munroe”, spelled like the xkcd author, not like the dickish president), home of angrily thrown packages, and adjacent Talbot Lounge, location of a mysterious diner featuring periodic harrowing and unexplained screams. These screams are known to the State of California to cause oatmeal.
To meet standards for architectural questionability that Fred otherwise fails to reach, a maimed, singed, and petrified whale carcass named Transparent Horizon (singular) is transplanted at an end of the courtyard between Fred’s two buildings. Rumors are that there are actually many Transparent Horizons.
You can live in Random Hall to be able to say that you lived in a dorm that was falling down, while other dorms actually succumb to structural disintegrity. You see, they say Random Hall is falling down, but ever since the 1890s, it has been an experiment in life extension, making everything live longer than it should, from buildings, to traditions, to milk.
Visit there before its toilet population shrinks below the minimum level allowed by building code. At that point, Random Hall may finally need to be closed, because heaven forbid Random ever fails to meet building codes.
Bexley Hall is the best undergraduate dorm on campus. It sports a 2.361-caliber basement laboratory, the finest artwork in all the Institvte, and doors between rooms (as well as other doors). Bexley’s cats pamper you and Bexley’s Dear Leader (or lack thereof) loves you. Basically, Bexley is the bextest and there’s no reason you wouldn’t want to live there. The only caveat is that it doesn’t exist.
Four score and -76 years ago, the MIT administration, impressed by Bexley’s success, cloned it and inflated it into a castle. Throughout its life, Maseeh followed Bexley’s footsteps in its evolution as a dorm: it grew a sketchy dining area, it seceded from DormCom, and -39 years ago, was closed by the MIT administration after it found traces of culture.
McCormick Hall, known for its otherworldly penthouse and color-named rooms, is MIT’s all-female dormitory. It’s also a dormitory with actually decent pianos. If you bring your cello to McCormick Hall, however, expect to get your cello case searched for bombs. Possibly twice in the future when McCormick becomes a gated community.
Baker House, MIT’s dormitory of normal college students, is MIT’s best source of very loud music and rooms shaped like pies. Each room, whether it’s shaped like a pie or not, is home to numerous pets, like armadillos and giraffes. These pets are only condoned in Baker House; other dorms only allow fish and occasionally cats.
Once a semester, Baker House drops a piano from its roof, in celebration of Dropbox, the most successful project funded by Y combinator and brainchild of Drew Houston, Bexley Hall alum and namesake of Baker House. (The ‘Baker’ part of the name comes from the fact that the dorm has a dining hall, where things are sometimes baked.) The average amount of sound emitted by the piano upon impact to the ground is the definition of the Bruno, an MIT-invented unit of aural intensity.
Some people have trouble finding their way to Baker House. If you find yourself among these people, remember to look for the building that looks like an art project by an artist not on crack.
Formed from the fusion of Conner Hall and Burton House, Burton-Conner House has five floors despite having six floors (it actually has seven). Each of the ten floors vary refreshingly in culture, having representation from all two of the British Isles.
Numerous fraternities, sororities, and independent living groups have attached themselves to Burton-Conner House in an attempt to make it appear more Greek. Don’t let the appearance fool you.
Contrary to popular belief, MacGregor residents do not spend all day inside their single dorm rooms masturbating. They’re MIT students, too: they need time to PSet. When not PSetting, they can often be seen congregating at their lounges, of which there are several per entry, the unit of social organization in MacGregor. Entries vary significantly in culture.
MacGregor also only slightly has elevators. There are no elevators in the low rise (entries F, G, H, and J), and elevators only open to one floor of each of the high rise entries (A, B, C, D, and E). In addition to the lack of elevator service, MacGregor features the MacGregor wind tunnel, bane of all undergrads unfortunate enough to live west of it (as well as grads living in Tang, if they walk) that must weather it every time they travel to campus in the winter.
MacGregor is also home to MacGregor Convenience, often dubbed “MacCon”, and is a source of food for people this far west in campus that don’t want to walk a mile east to get food. Surprisingly, it often has nicer prices than La Verde’s.
New West Campus Houses, or “West Campus” for short (and possibly even “New House”) is the next dorm west of MacGregor, and is connected to MacGregor by a
sketchy underground tunnel.
Here, social groups organize by house rather than by floor, except for everywhere where it doesn’t. Some social entities in West Campus are called “cultural houses”, because culture happens there, and some are called “numbered houses”, because their days are numbered before they’re engulfed by water. Be sure to check out the arcade, where you can play any of numerous games involving bricks.
500 Memorial Drive
Being the furthest undergraduate dorm from campus, 500 Memorial Drive attracts students with its vibrant culture and delicious dining hall food. Be sure to check out the tastefully furnished lounge (TFL).
Floors in 500 Memorial Drive are distinguished from floors in Fred in that Fred uses ordinals (“fifth west”) whereas 500 Memorial Drive uses cardinals (“five west”).
500 Memorial Drive is definitely not known by any other names.
Though often rumored to be called The Sponge for its outside appearance, Simmons Hall is actually named so because its inside resembles a sea sponge.
Simmons features a singing elevator, wide-eyed tourists and architects, beautiful terraces, above-ground laundry machines, and enough windows to sell them and buy a thousand macs, more than two per resident. Of course, they never bothered to make that upgrade. Typical Simmons Tech.
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