2012 was marked by tumult and struggle. Thousands of Syrians were killed as an oppressive dictator clung to power. The conflict between Israelis and Palestinians was re-ignited. Europeans took to the streets to protest austerity measures. The devastation wrought by Hurricane Sandy was bracketed by the shootings of innocents in Aurora and Newtown.

But there were also moments of joy and inspiration. Scientists discovered a particle widely believed to be the Higgs boson. America sent a machine to Mars, and caught a man who seemed to plummet from the moon.

The Tech covered these stories and many others. But what made 2012 different, in our Opinion pages and columns, was our unprecedented effort to look inward, to address the problems we face as a student body, and as an institution. We explored what it means to be part of the MIT community.

Do meritocracy and diversity need to be reconciled? Or do they go hand in hand? How will MIT’s online initiatives affect the value of a residential MIT education? Which decisions must the Institute make to ensure that it remains a world-class institution for decades to come? When addressing mental health concerns, should we enhance our efforts at community outreach, or question those efforts in order to foster self-reliance?

These questions may still lack definitive answers, but in the process of discussing them, we hope that we have all gained a better understanding of our different perspectives.

— Jacob London

Associate Opinion Editor