R.I.P #MIT #SeniorHouse 1916-2017 #saveseniorhouse #sportdeath

“Only life can kill you.” You were alive, Senior Haus, and now you’re gone… (Image: Steer Roast 2016)

I’d like to tell you that I got a lot of work done in July. I’d like to, but I didn’t. Life dealt me one gut blow after another…

…and the worst was the news of the coming death of Senior House (or “Haus”, as more recent students and alums spelled it.)

Matthew Herper (MIT 1999, Senior House) presented the facts with far more detail and objectivity than I can muster in his Forbes article:

Grappling With Its Identity, MIT Shuts A Dorm For Misfits – Forbes

When I went to MIT, I fell into several at-risk groups: my family was low income, I was from a semi-rural community, and no one in my family had ever received a university degree. I visited several living groups during Rush/Orientation Week, and the one in which I felt most at home—in retrospect, more at home than I felt at my actual home—was Senior House.

It was the wisest decision I made for many years. I learned what it was like to live in an accepting community that nonetheless had boundaries to be respected. When I encountered such a community again, later in life, I immediately recognised it—as home.

I miss my first non-abusive home. I deeply grieve that my younger brothers and sisters will not be able to choose the home that would nurture them.

There is a campus and alumni movement to save Senior House. If you would like to add your voice to the Senior House Solidarity Movement, please visit:

Senior House Solidarity Website
Senior House Solidarity Petition

MIT administrators, you have much to answer for. (BTW, don’t bother asking me for money.)

Sandra Fisher Lakin, SB MIT 1975 (Course 16)—Senior House 1971-74, Westgate 74-75


Camp Nano Won. Steer Roasting. Life is Good. #CampNaNoWinner2016 #amwriting

The Editing Is Done
The Editing Is Done
The Fire Is Lit
The Fire Is Lit
Fifty-plus hours of editing in April — I did it.

I am in Cambridge, Massachusetts, at my alma mater, MIT. Technology is still a Mother. If you didn’t attend as an undergrad, you probably don’t know about The Senior House (or Haus, as it is now called.) From the late sixties on (so far as we can tell from the alumni verbal histories) it has been the home of nonconformists on campus.

Yet, when I walked into the courtyard after forty-one years away, I had come home. The Haus was the first home I ever knew in which I found unconditional acceptance, along with gentle instruction in socially acceptable behavior (not a very high bar, in the Haus.)

Yesterday, the Lighting of the Fire ritual (opening the two-day long Steer Roast party) was not so much an exercise in nostalgia as a connection to something that started before I arrived and will continue when I am no longer here to return. Students will still celebrate spring and the coming end of the semester. The Haus will still shelter the . . . different (but still nerdly) with its unique anarchy. The Suits in the Chancellor’s office Shall Not Pass (er, prevail.)

Long live the Haus!

Beaver Cup XXVIII — CalTech 8, MIT 4

The victorious CalTech alumni graciously let the MIT team crowd in on the sides for the group photo.
The victorious CalTech alumni graciously let the MIT team crowd in on the sides for the group photo after the game.
It’s taken me since May 10 to get to the point that I could write about this year’s Beaver Cup.

True to form, the MIT Alumni Club didn’t publicize the annual contest between the MIT Alumni Hockey Team and the CalTech Alumni Hockey Team until the week before the game. I don’t know if this is because the game time and location just aren’t settled until then, or for other, darker reasons. In any event, I scrambled to arrange my schedule to attend with Hubby.

The first hint I had that Mother Technology’s Sons might be in trouble was before the first puck drop, when an MIT team member looked up at us two sixty-ish, out-of-shape alums and asked, “Does either of you skate?”

Ahem. We cheered every goal by MIT in L.A. style, waving our cardinal red accessories. We disparaged CalTech’s goals with raspberries twice as often, darn it. And at the end, CalTech took possession of the Cup for the coming year.

Oh, well. There’s always next year.

Fight Fiercely, Engineers

The new (to me) MIT athletics logo.
The new (to me) MIT athletics logo.
Opportunities for MIT grads to cheer on an MIT sports team are few. On the West Coast, they are almost non-existent. Sports at MIT is not big business; sports exist to give the students something to do besides work problem sets and/or go nuts. In the name of student sanity, MIT competes in more different intercollegiate sports than any other US university; but winning, traveling, gathering donations, getting TV time? Not a priority.

I was therefore surprised and pleased to learn that the MIT Engineers football team was to play the Pomona-Pitzer Sagehens in Pomona, California on Sept. 7. Hubby and I saddled up and drove the fifty-odd miles from Tarzana to Pomona to cheer on the Alma Mater. We were treated to a free lunch from the Alumni Association, and at the game itself…

Pomona and Pitzer are two of the five Claremont Colleges. They compete at the NCAA Division III level. The Claremont Colleges have a lovely campus, and many students are local. Still the number of grads of Mother Technology (and families of current students) nearly equalled the number of Sagehen supporters in the stands.

The Engineers were not accustomed to Southern California heat. The temperature on the field was 100F and above; our boys were not drinking enough Gatorade, and cramps on the sidelines were common. Still, they squeaked by the Sagehens at 28-26!

I hope this becomes a more common event. Mother Technology, we still love you even if we did move to California!

The Beaver Cup Lives!

I received this photo from Marshall, one of the MIT Alumni Hockey team members:
Beaver Cup pic2
The gentlemen shown are, from left to right, Pete Gasparini (Goalie), Dr. Brian Fabes, and Mike Westphal. The photo was taken at the post-game celebration, to which Hubby and I have been courteously invited for next year.

As for the name “Beaver Cup,” its genesis is simple: both MIT and CalTech have chosen the beaver as their mascot. So, no matter which team wins, the cup is held by the Beavers.Photo May 24, 12 07 16

Beaver Cup XXVII – MIT 4, CalTech 1

I attended the Beaver Cup XXVII hockey game today, a (roughly) annual Southern California traditional meeting between the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Alumni team and the California Institute of Technology Alumni team. CalTech (hereinafter the “Evil Empire”) alums had sent the MIT (hereinafter “Mother Technology”) alums to ignominious defeat in the last three BC games.

In this photo (taken with my less-than-smart phone) you can see the Mother Technology players lining up for a face-off (all my photos were taken at face-offs since my phone camera is too crummy to get motion shots.)

The Evil Empire alums scored first in the first period, and the loyal crowd feared another humiliating defeat for Mother Technology. But Mother Technology’s sons scored two goals in the second period, and another two in the third to return the Cup to its rightful place.

We are happy
Tech is Hell
T – E – C – H – N – O – L
O – G – Y

Updated 5/13/2013 — I have reaped the true fruits of my regrettable social ineptness; due to not interacting with team members I made two errors of fact in my original article. These have been corrected, and to the best of my belief this post is correct as it now stands. My apologies to the Southern California MIT Alumni Hockey Team, and to the CalTech Alumni Hockey Team as well.

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