Years ago, when I was still an undergrad at MIT, I was sitting in my room in the West Parallel with the window open and overheard a tour passing through. “This is East Campus,” the tour guide said, “All the ‘Real Genius’ types that you see in movies and stuff, they pretty much come from here, along with most of the famous hacks. It’s a little weird, but it’s also the part that makes MIT MIT.”
I don’t know who that tour guide was — I didn’t recognize him, so I doubt he was an EC resident — but his description was spot on.
It’s always bothered me that one part of the MIT administration loves talking about the awesome things that MIT students (mostly East side residents) do — hacks and disco dance floors and Time Traveler Conventions and boats made out of couches — while another part of the administration is constantly at war with the very culture that produces such wonderful PR for the Institute.