DSL launches MIT Reboot for community wellness

Event organizers report ‘positive feedback’ from students, faculty, staff participants

The Division of Student Life (DSL) collaborated with organizations across MIT to host MIT Reboot Nov. 2–11, with over 25 virtual and in-person for students, faculty, and staff. The initiative aimed to “recharge” MIT community members’ “minds and bodies” amidst “the pandemic, social unrest, and a contentious election,” Vice President and Dean for Student Life Suzy Nelson wrote in an email to The Tech.

MIT Reboot was created by a committee of students and staff “to encourage MIT community members to take care of themselves and each other,” Nelson wrote. Nelson cited a recent MIT pulse survey where about 50% of student respondents indicated that they felt isolated while about 70% indicated that they felt overwhelmed.

The MIT Reboot 2020 Committee was composed of staff from DSL organizations such as MIT Dining; the Department of Athletics, Physical Education, and Recreation (DAPER); MindHandHeart; as well as other offices and student organizations. 

Hundreds of students, faculty, and staff participated in the MIT Reboot activities over the 10 days. Examples include “Knitting Night” with SaveTFP, “Virtual Wake Up & Stretch” led by DAPER, and a conversation on anxiety and stress hosted by the Office of Religious, Spiritual, and Ethical Life on Zoom. “Upward of 100 students participated in DAPER-sponsored activities such as virtual stretch breaks and online fitness classes,” Nelson wrote.

Outdoor activities such as lawn games and “Shine on the Vote” were open to MIT community members living on-campus. According to Nelson, “volunteers for the Shine on the Vote program distributed more than 1,375 battery-powered tea lights to undergraduate and graduate residents across campus.”

Nelson wrote that event organizers have reported “overall positive feedback from students, faculty, and staff who participated in Reboot activities.”

Nelson wrote that MIT community members can continue to participate in many events from MIT Reboot, which were “based on existing activities available through DAPER, Community Wellness, and other” departments, labs, and centers.

Ongoing programs include the Pets of MIT Facebook Group, virtual spiritual services, and the “Community Quilt” project, where “more than 700 kits containing colored pencils and paper for creating quilt squares” were distributed to be “sewn individually and stitched together to form an actual quilt,” Nelson wrote. 

“MIT and DSL are committed to enhancing the student experience,” to which “wellbeing is central,” Nelson wrote. She hopes that MIT Reboot gave community members “an opportunity to recharge,” encouragement to “try new activities that are particularly reinvorigating to them,” or just “time on their own to practice ways of staying well.”