The times that I’ve realized just how great of an environment I’ve found at MIT are when I’ve gone back to my hometown. When I was talking to people from my high school, I continuously found myself saying, “When I get back home…” in reference to coming back to East Campus and MIT. That’s not something that I’ve ever heard about dorms at another college. I’ve visited dorms at a few other universities and have always been struck with the feeling that I’m in some sort of holding pen for students.
Dorms with empty hallways of closed doors and stark white walls just don’t feel like a good place to facilitate learning or collaboration. The walls of East Campus aren’t just a stress reliever or time capsule of previous and current students, they’re also an example of the collaborative work environment here at MIT. So many people contributed to making East Campus look how it does from large murals to small comments on the bathroom stall. When I walk down the halls of East Campus, I see people crowded around white boards discussing some math topic or having philosophical debates. There are people playing music or building things. The students’ ability to shape the space that they live in seems to feed this environment of creativity, learning, and productivity. And that’s exactly what makes me feel so at home here.