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Got Your Slice of MIT?

The Alumni Association’s daily blog covers campus culture and alumni life.
October 22, 2013

Slice of MIT, the Alumni Association’s blog, was created to share short stories about campus life, research discoveries, and alumni lives with alumni worldwide. Updated daily, the blog drew nearly half a million views in the past year. Recent posts ranged from an April Fools’ spoof titled “Life of Pi Sequel to Be Filmed at MIT” to a story on a student’s experience with managing stress and MIT’s response in “Student’s ‘Meltdown’ Generates Stress Survey, Important Discussion.”

Warren Buffett and Will ­Smittinet
Warren Buffett lends a proposal assist to Will ­Smittinet, MBA ’12.

Here are excerpts from two popular posts. Read the full posts and enjoy the blog at

Is MIT the Most Romantic Place on Earth?
Posted: Feb. 14, 2013
By Jay London

A few weeks back, we asked for your most romantic moment at MIT. Judging by the memories you shared, the Institute might be the world’s most romantic place. And these stories are vintage MIT, with mentions of Smoots, theoretical calculus homework, and the Thirsty Ear Pub.

Here are a few of the 21 stories you will find in the full post:

“During an MIT Investment Club trip to see Warren Buffett, every candidate wrote Mr. Buffett a personal letter. I wrote: ‘To me, love and marriage are the most valuable investment that I could make and who better to help me ask for my girlfriend’s hand in marriage than you, Mr. Warren Buffett, the world’s greatest value investor?’

Mr. Buffett agreed to help. This picture was taken when Mr. Buffett helped me propose to my girlfriend, who was 6,500 miles away in Thailand waiting for me to return. On December 12, 2012, my wife and I got married and we sent Mr. Buffett a thank you note.” —Will

“It was a Thursday night at the Thirsty Ear and my Baker House friends and I were checking out the crowd. The one I was checking out came up to me and he said, ‘So, how was Africa?’ Great—this guy is either a weirdo or he thinks I am someone else. He mistook me for someone else, but we still left together that night to get some coffee and talk. More dates followed. Twenty-four years later, and we are in our 19th year of marriage and have four kids—but never did get to go to Africa!” —Allison

“I was going to see one of my professors about an assignment. His assistant said, ‘He can see you, but that young woman is ahead of you.’ Unfortunately, the young woman wasn’t in a talkative mood, but she did leave her notebook on the bench when she went in to see the professor. Her name and dorm number were clearly written on the cover, so I took this as a sign. Forty-three years later, she still claims it wasn’t, and our kids still delight in hearing this story.” —Jerry

“I met my future husband when he offered to help me do a proof of a*0=0 for my theoretical calculus homework. I dropped the class, but kept the guy! During a physics demonstration, the professor was showing a color spectrum on the projector, and the colors ranged from red to orange to yellow. It looked just like a sunset to me, so I turned to him and said ‘Isn’t it romantic?’ It’s those little moments that remain the best memories. We got married the week after graduation and have two kids.”—Shirley

From left, Claude von Roesgen ’79, his friend Carla Schwartz, and Bob Wallhagen, SM ’66, on board the houseboat.

A Tiny House Makes Alum’s Big Dream Come True
Posted: July 9, 2013
By Joe McGonegal

Claude von Roesgen ‘79 needed a way to combine his love of Lake Winnipesaukee with his zeal for alternative energy and simple living. A lake cabin was too much work, and an RV lacked charm and guzzled gas.

Von Roesgen struck on the perfect solution: a tiny house. On a pontoon boat.

After constructing house and boat this spring, von Roesgen held a christening last week in Meadowbrook, NH.

The tiny house movement appealed to von Roesgen from the minute he learned of it. These “were structures that were built on trailers to avoid having to meet building codes that would otherwise force one to build a much larger house,” he says. “The fact they were on a trailer made them movable of course.”

To help him construct the house, von Roesgen recruited his Carlisle, MA, neighbor, Bob Wallhagen, SM ‘66, who owns a construction company. Once it was complete, Wallhagen used a giant forklift to maneuver the house carefully onto the 28×14-ft. pontoon craft and then anchored it into place.

To power the house and the boat, the two alums installed solar panels capable of producing 2.4 kilowatts and storing it in a lithium-ion battery for up to five days. Von Roesgen will power a microwave oven, refrigerator, and 4000-watt electric motor on the boat from the stored energy.

Though the motor won’t support waterskiing, von Roesgen will use it for what he loves best: traversing New England waters. “I’ve always been interested in energy conservation as I grew up during the oil shocks of the seventies,” he says. “And compared to my pedal kayak, going 2–5 mph without effort will seem luxurious.”

Von Roesgen aims to live in the tiny houseboat this summer and do the same on other northeastern lakes for many summers to come, moving it between waterways on a trailer. “I may try Moose­head Lake, Lake Champlain, Erie Canal, Lake George, Lake Saratoga,” he says.

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