Dorm presidents elect DormCon CPW/REX, i3/RAC, and dining chairs

Ojute expresses support for mutual selection, whereas Katary says first years felt worried about the process

Dorm presidents elected several Dormitory Council chairs for 2020 by popular vote proportional to dorm population Nov. 21. 

Zawad Chowdhury ’23 and Shaida Nishat ’22 were elected CPW/REX chairs. Adebayo Ojute ’23 and Ahmed Katary ’23 were elected i3/RAC chairs. Emma Batson ’20 was elected dining chair. 

Ojute, Rishabh Chandra ’20, and PJ Hernandez ’20 also ran for CPW/REX chair, i3/RAC chair, and dining chair, respectively. 

The CPW/REX chairs will work with the Admissions Office, dorm CPW/REX chairs, and administrators to coordinate dorm-based events for prospective students and incoming first years.

East Campus resident Chowdhury said at the meeting that he hopes to draw from his experience as an international student who did not attend CPW to help incoming first years “make an informed decision” about which dorm to live in. 

Nishat, a Simmons resident, called CPW and REX “vital” in students’ decisions on both school and dorm choice. “CPW [was] my deciding factor in coming to MIT,” Nishat said. Nishat added that she has experience coordinating CPW and REX for Simmons. 

East Campus President Adriana Jacobsen ’20 asked the candidates how they would handle trade-offs between administrators and students. Jacobsen cited the example of administrators’ request that previous years’ chairs change CPW/REX booklets to replace all instances of “prefrosh” with “first year.” 

Nishat said that she would “consider both sides” of the conflict, emphasizing the importance of “transparency in conveying to admin what the students want.” 

Chowdhury concurred on the importance of transparent communication, adding that his “priority would be to make sure that dorms can represent their culture authentically and that admin accommodate that as much as possible.”

The i3/RAC chairs will coordinate between administrators and dorms to create i3 videos showcasing dorm culture to incoming first years. They will also serve as liaisons for communication among dorm RACs. 

Ojute said at the meeting that it would be “incredibly fun” to “help each dorm convey their culture to freshmen,” noting that Burton Conner’s i3 videos were instrumental in his decision to choose the dorm. “Rooming assignment is a substantial part of making [the] first year livable,” Ojute said.

“From Simmons’s curved walls to Next’s student built escape room, the i3 videos give freshmen a better idea” of each dorm, Katary, a Maseeh resident, wrote in an email to The Tech. Katary wrote that he hopes to “ease the decision-making” and provide first years with a “smooth transition to their dormitories.”

While Katary said at the meeting that many first years felt worried about the mutual selection system in dorm rooming assignments, Ojute expressed support for mutual selection because “it’s important for communities to incorporate people that they feel comfortable with.”

Next House resident Batson will communicate between dorms and the Division of Student Life on issues related to house and retail dining, such as the new meal plan model and food insecurity on campus.

Batson said she plans to “take into consideration the different needs of people across campus, whether that’s dietary restrictions or monetary concerns, and make sure that everyone is able to get enough to eat.” 

Batson said she is “optimistic” about communicating with Director of Campus Dining Mark Hayes and the Meal Plan Working Group to ensure that changes in the dining system “make sense and work for people.”