Housing & Community Affairs

Mission

The HCA committee focuses on 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

The Housing and Community Affairs committee oversees of a number of subcommittees.

  • Advocacy Subcommittee: The Advocacy Subcommittee is here to provide a consistent platform to make sure students’ voices are heard. The main focus of the Advocacy Subcommittee for this year are going to be: 1) 2020 Cost of Living (CoL) Survey 2) The new grad student residence at Vassar Street, to ensure that grad students’ needs are met. To sign up simply email hca-advocacy-chair_@_mit.edu and indicate your interest.
  • 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 on this constituency’s behalf.
  • Sustainability Subcommittee
  • 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
  • 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. The Cost of Living Subcommittee is responsible for collecting and processing data from our Cost of Living survey and recommending an appropriate increase.


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.

Ongoing

  • Stipend Levels
  • Healthcare and Dental Insurance
  • Campus Safety
  • Dining
  • Housing quality and affordability
  • Community relations with surrounding neighborhoods and City Councils
  • Inter-dorm Relations
  • Sustainability
  • Transportation

Recent (2019-2020)

Some of the recent initiative of the GSC HCA Committee this past year 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)

Past Projects and Proposals

  • Summer Grocery Shuttle
  • Stipends increased by 2.5%
  • Improvements to On-Campus Allocation Process
  • Record-turnout on Northwest Safety Survey
  • Coordination and Publicity of EZRide Home
  • Creation and Oversight of Graduate Dental Programs
  • Task Force on Taxation
  • Task Force for Housing and Residential Life

How to Get Involved

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

Slack and Mailing List

Our communications are primarily through the #hca channel in the GSC Slack and the gsc-hca-all@mit.edu mailing list. Please contact the chairs if you would like help being added to either of these.

Monthly Meetings

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

Administrivia

HCA Bylaws

GSC Guide for Graduate Dorms (in progress)