For each edition of Angles, the editors have chosen a cover photo that offers an unusual perspective on some building or shared space on the MIT campus. This year, for the first time, we have chosen a photo of a student dorm: Simmons Hall. The loss of dorm life in the midst of the 2020 spring semester forcibly reminded us that MIT’s campus is a home as well a school. Ordinarily, the home and the school function together seamlessly, but the school gets all of the press; however, the sudden disruption of traditional in-person classes highlighted the special significance of the social setting that both students and faculty have taken for granted. When students lost their campus homes, many felt that they had lost the support system that made it possible to drink from the firehose without drowning. This spring reminded us that dorms and dorm life play a vital role in MIT’s education.
Now, faculty and students are faced with the challenge of devising online alternatives that might replicate the distinctive culture of the campus. No one who experienced the sense of profound loss that pervaded campus this past spring will ever doubt the value of the residential community that sustains the educational life of this institution.
So we honor that residential community even as we view it from a disorienting perspective in this year’s cover photo.
Susan Carlisle, Louise Harrison Lepera, Andrea S. Walsh, and Cynthia Taft