Fariborz Maseeh Hall by Cydnie T. '12
The Phoenix Group would rise from the the "ashes" of Ashdown...
Here’s the story:
Long ago, in a land far far away (far from Hawaii at least), there was a magical dorm where hundreds of grad students lived. The grad students had inhabited this dorm at the corner of Massachusetts Ave and Memorial Drive since the beginning of time (i.e. 1938 when MIT bought the Riverbank Court Hotel from the City of Cambridge). There was a rich sense of community that developed out of this house and it was loved by all who graced its halls.
One day in 2006, the MIT administration had plans to increase camaraderie among graduate dorms, to alleviate the crowding in undergraduate dorms, and to increase the undergraduate population to the glorious size it once was (sometime back in the 90’s). Their solution was to move the graduate residents from the magical dorm (here after referred to as “W1”) into a “New” magical dorm (NW35 or the “New” Ashdown House) and convert W1 into an undergraduate dorm. As with other new undergraduate dorms, a group of founders is formed to help with the final construction plans, to establish a government system and to begin the dorm’s culture and traditions.
Timeline (because bullet points rule the world):
- February 2008: After a grueling application process, eleven students were chosen to be the founders of W1. For the next few months, we worked with the architects and MIT administration to finalize the blueprints for our future home.
- circa April 2008: The W1 Founders Group put a significant effort towards deciding on a name that was more suiting and suave than “W1 founders”. We went through several rounds of brainstorming and voting but finally the perfect name was chosen: PHOENIX ! The Phoenix Group would rise from the the “ashes” of Ashdown and create a new vibrant generation and genre of the MIT student.
- May 2008: Part of the planning process included making decisions for how the proposed dining hall for W1 would operate. The Phoenix Group began doing research to investigate programs at other Universities that have had successful track records. The two places we looked at were Baylor University in Waco, TX and the University of Cambridge in Cambridge, England.
- August 2008: By the spring of 2008, the “New” Ashdown House (NW35) was opened and the 11 founders were joined by 39 other students as the Phoenix Group moved into a wing of NW35.
- October 2008: The stock market crashed around this time and the $90 million needed to renovate W1 just wasn’t as easy to get our hands on. So the whole process was put on hold until further notice. Thankfully, MIT had just enough money stashed away to touch up the outside of this 100+ year old building.
- November 2008 – August 2010: The experiments. Phoenix has used this time to figure out how we function as a unit. We elected officers, started traditions, and made plans for life in W1.
- September 2010: Just last month, we received fantastic news, one of MIT’s alums from the class of 1990 was generous enough to donate a total of nearly $24 million to the completion of our beloved W1. This was the birth of Fariborz Maseeh Hall. Construction is finally underway again so the Phoenix Group, along with over 400 other MIT students, will RISE FROM THE ASHES and be the first to enhabit the newest dorm at MIT by the fall of 2011. Check out the official news here and here aaaannnnnd here too.
And we will all live happily ever after :)
…for now at least
(P.S. We need a proper nickname for this lovely new dorm. What would YOU call Fariborz Maseeh Hall for short?
(P.P.S. Here are some pictures…)
Fariborz Maseeh Hall (W1)
“New” Ashdown House (NW35)
The Phoenix Group