Select your localized edition:

Close ×

More Ways to Connect

Discover one of our 28 local entrepreneurial communities »

Be the first to know as we launch in new countries and markets around the globe.

Interested in bringing MIT Technology Review to your local market?

MIT Technology ReviewMIT Technology Review - logo

 

Unsupported browser: Your browser does not meet modern web standards. See how it scores »

The dining hall may not be conducive to large student gatherings, but Simmons’s 341 residents easily organize in cyberspace. An e-mail list known as Sponge-talk is the dorm’s lifeline; freshmen look there for help on problem sets and news of free food. Even the word “lounge” has been reinvented: in Simmons, it can mean a cavernous meeting space filled with funky furniture–or a group that uses Sponge-talk and a small, internal rush to recruit enough members to gain house funds for events. The “Jockocracy” lounge watches sports. The “Power Set” studies for the Putnam Competition, a cash-prize math exam.

Of course, these aren’t the only opportunities for socializing. Freshmen meet for cereal on the terraces, for cheesecake in the late-night café. On Sunday nights, the basement and first floor fill with sounds of the dorm orchestra, and gradu­ate students gather underclassmen for snacks and study breaks, which help freshmen–even those in the towers–make friends. Visiting scholars sharing the dorm with students include a resident monk, who has led terrace meditations.

In September, Tripathi, Mehta, grad student Dheera ­Venkatraman, and others went to work with duct tape and LED lights on some of Simmons’s windows. In a midnight Sponge-talk message Tripathi urged residents to go to the football field and look at the building. In letters that spanned two stories, the lit windows spelled “Welcome to Simmons.”

By then, even Ellison had warmed to the Sponge. “Although its architecture takes some getting used to,” she says, “Simmons is a highly livable dorm.”

0 comments about this story. Start the discussion »

Credit: Andy Ryan

Reprints and Permissions | Send feedback to the editor

From the Archives

Close

Introducing MIT Technology Review Insider.

Already a Magazine subscriber?

You're automatically an Insider. It's easy to activate or upgrade your account.

Activate Your Account

Become an Insider

It's the new way to subscribe. Get even more of the tech news, research, and discoveries you crave.

Sign Up

Learn More

Find out why MIT Technology Review Insider is for you and explore your options.

Show Me