Housing & Community Affairs

Mission

The HCA committee addresses community issues and student services that pertain to the entire graduate population. The committee’s work focuses on ensuring that the MIT graduate experience is enjoyable, affordable, safe, healthy, and marked by a welcoming community. The committee provides an avenue for members of the community to have transparent discussions of issues pertaining to the entire graduate population.

Subcommittees

Much of the work of the Housing and Community Affairs committee happens in its various subcommittees. All graduate students are welcome at any of our meetings.

  • Advocacy Subcommittee: The Advocacy Subcommittee is charged with advancing student wellbeing. Email gsc-hca-advocacy-chair_@_mit.edu to get involved. The main focus areas for the Advocacy Subcommittee in 2020-21 were:
    • Stipend recommendation and updating the Cost of Living Survey
    • The new grad student residence at Vassar Street
  • Sustainability Subcommittee: A gathering point for climate-conscious, action-driven students to collaborate on implementing sustainable practices on the MIT campus with the knowledge, motivation and interest of graduate students at its center.
  • iREFS Subcommittee: Provides confidential, peer-to-peer support for all graduate students at the Institute. Also helps point students to other resources on campus. (More information)
  • Transportation Subcommittee

Currently inactive:

  • Stipend Recommendation Subcommittee: The HCA is responsible for making a data-driven argument to adjust graduate stipend levels each year in order to move with inflation. Previously this was run out of this committee, but is now under the purview of the advocacy subcommittee.
  • Family Subcommittee: The HCA is particularly aware of the challenges in raising a family while attending graduate school. Childcare, Affordable Housing, family-friendly programming, and safety are some of the specific issues dealt with by the Family Subcommittee.
  • Off-campus Subcommittee: The HCA represents the social and welfare needs of all graduate students, 2/3 of which live off campus. The Off-Campus Subcommittee is charged with programming on advocating specifically for this constituency.

Projects and Programs

A large portion of the work carried out by the HCA is done through a set of subcommittees, each of which focuses on a particular aspect of student life so that the committee collectively provides a positive impact on all graduate students. All meetings are open to the public and new members/observers are always encouraged! You may also wish to consult the committee meeting minutes to see what topics are currently under discussion. To find out more, please feel free to contact the HCA committee chairs at gsc-hca-chair@mit.edu, or attend the next meeting which is usually advertised in the GSC anno.

Recent (2020-2021)

This past year HCA has devoted significant energy on responding to the pandemic. We’ve engaged in repeated conversations over the residence hall guest policies, amplified concerns over heating issues, and generally worked to advance graduate student wellbeing in any way we could.

Earlier Work (2019-2020)

Previous initiatives of the GSC HCA Committee included:

  • Establishing a wellness subcommittee to act as the hub for GSC graduate student wellness oriented initiatives
  • Improving dorm and GSC relations and facilitating collaboration between all groups
  • Preparing a stipend recommendation which advocates for Cost of Living increases for all students (2.94%) and targeted programs for students under financial distress¬† (families, students with sub-12 month stipends, COVID-19 related emergencies, and non-guaranteed funding)

How to Get Involved

The current Housing & Community Affairs co-chairs are Denise Tellbach and Jonathan Behrens. You can reach them at gsc-hca-chair@mit.edu.

Mailing List

Our communications are primarily through the gsc-hca-all@mit.edu mailing list. Please contact the chairs if you would like help being added.

Monthly Meetings

Our committee holds meetings that are open to the entire MIT graduate community.

Administrivia

HCA Bylaws

GSC Guide for Graduate Dorms