Alright, here goes.
I’m a Burton Third Bomber. For the uninformed, this means that I 1) live on the third floor of the Burton side of the dorm Burton-Conner, and 2), am lowkey part of a cult—a rowdy, hilarious, and very orange cult that throws the best parties on campus and manages to make MIT an incredible place even when it feels like everything is going to hell.
When I tell people that I’m a Bomber, especially people I talked to in high school, they usually either look appalled or do this:
Which makes sense—we have as indicated by the slew of MIT confessions about us lmao BC is known for its floors with varying intensities of floor culture, and our chaotic orange family certainly skews the spectrum.
But who are the Bombers? Well, we were founded in the 60s by a ragtag band of hockey players that has since evolved into a diverse group of tight-knit individuals not that we were ever good at hockey...we’ve been in the D-D+ league for IM sports ever since the beginning The Bombers, however, remain united by our love of mischief, laughter, and a good time. We truly are a lifelong family—very few Bombers move off the floor in their four years at MIT, and all of them continue to uphold the 33rd+ years of traditions that shaped their freshman year experiences.
Bombers also have a strong network; 50+ alumni of classes ranging from 1969 to 2018 were at the 50th anniversary of our annual party, DTYD, and nearly 200 attended that year’s Bomber Formal. Also, dozens of Bombers gathered for a Bomber wedding last summer in Kentucky and an engagement party last fall in New York. Both events were like mini DTYD’s :) Some alumni came back to Burton-Conner for a post Fall Career Fair barbeque as well, which was super cool.
One of the things that drew me to MIT, and Burton-Conner in particular, is the fact that it allows floor culture to flourish; Burton Third is just one of many floors that have numerous traditions that have been upheld for decades. The best way to illustrate our culture is by what we do, so here’s a glimpse of just a few of the approximately 3333333rd traditions we maintain each year.
DTYD (Dance ‘Til You Drop):
Our biggest party and most long-standing tradition. It’s so deeply ingrained in our floor history that when I visited some alumni from the classes of 1974 and 1976 and asked them if they had participated in DTYD, they almost seemed surprised that I’d asked: “Of course!”
DTYD itself is held in mid-April, but the weeks leading up to it are full of auxiliary events. Things get crazy since lots of alumni come back and participate in events like the alumni brunch, alumni hockey game, and Bomber Formal. Last year, literally hundreds of alumni helped celebrate the 50th anniversary of the party, some of whom were participants of DTYD 1!
DTYD births some cool projects and endeavors every year; a few bombers who built sound-reactive lights for their rooms last year decided to make a huge project out of it for DTYD L. The end product was really cool:
Freshman DTYD Hacks:
Each year, freshman class gets to promote the party with a hack. This tradition is a great opportunity for the freshmen to bond over creating something unique. Last year, the frosh made clearly, my class has a lot to live up to... Other hacks include a fake concrete bomb in Kresge in 2008 ( the Cambridge bomb squad was called, oops) and a giant orange shirt on The Alchemist in 2011.
Origins of DTYD:
DTYD started in 1969 when two Bombers (Classes of ’70 and ’71) wanted to celebrate their 21st birthdays and decided to indulge in a party that lasted four whole days. Burton Third had always held a floor party on Patriot’s Day, so the next year, the two parties were combined into an event that lasted from Saturday night until Thursday. This took place in Hamilton House, the place where the Bombers were exiled to when Burton House was closed down during the 1970-71 academic year. When Burton House reopened, the party, which was now known as DTYD, returned to MIT in full force. DTYD III featured a massive $1,000 budget, fireworks on Briggs Field, and even more debauchery than that of its forebearers.
Throughout the years, DTYD expanded to include more semi-official traditions such as canoe trips, Red Sox game outings etc. Most of these, unfortunately, have died out, but the fact remains that DTYD and all its auxiliary events provide a “great oasis in the middle of the academic year,” as a Burton Third alum once said.
DTYD has evolved over time, but it’s still our most well-established tradition and main claim to fame around the MIT community. I can’t wait to experience my first DTYD this April!!
The easiest way to recognize Bombers is by our iconic orange shirts, which we wear for occasions like REX and DTYD, or when we decide to crash parties as one united screaming orange horde. Each shirt has a bomber plane on the front and a name and number on the back. Each person’s name is decided by the rest of the floor—from September to November, we brainstorm names that are usually witty plays on things you’ve done in the past. In December, we have a meeting to decide shirt names, and it’s a lot of fun since you get to learn a lot about members of the floor.
We’ve been getting shirts for the past 50 years, although they were hockey jerseys in the past. For an interesting bit of trivia, the production team of Ocean’s 8 reached out to us asking if Rihanna could wear an old Bomber shirt they discovered at a thrift store. It unfortunately didn’t make the final cut, but we were pretty close to making the big screen!!
Shirt names tend to stick with you. One of the alumni I visited told me that he still receives letters addressed to the nickname that was on his Bomber hockey jersey.
In case you’re wondering about my shirt name…
ABC (Anything But Clothes):
Our other big party of the year, which takes place in October. As the name suggests, you have to create costumes out of anything that’s not clothes (underwear is acceptable). In past years, we’ve seen people work magic with periodic tables, plates, and pepperoni. This year, we had someone show up in a suitcase:
I made my costume out of Yugioh cards and it lasted a good 3rd hours before falling apart all over the dance floor. rip
The freshmen and sophomores venture into the woods for some good, wholesome bonding. While they’re gone, the upperclassmen girls make sorority letters for the freshmen girls and put them up on their doors.
I have nothing but fond memories from this year’s camping trip. We managed to fit all 12 freshmen in a single four-person tent…yeah, we go to MIT 😤
A wonderful potluck event where we all make delicious food, dress fancy, and eat together in Burton-Conner’s Porter Room like one big happy family. The floor chairs give speeches about how much they love us and we thank them for putting up with our antics. Wholesome vibes all around!!
We go to Maine with another floor in Burton Conner, mostly Burton 1 or 4, and rage for 3rd days straight. It’s a good ass time.
Disclaimer: not a tradition (yet)
This year, all the Bomber Frosh got together to bake an absurd number of cookies for every floor in Burton-Conner. It was a great bonding experience and a lot of fun!
We have some incredible works of art on this floor that we hope to preserve during Burton-Conner’s renovation:
The Persistence of Burton Third by Heather Nelson (’20), 2017
sick wood carving by Colin Sidoti (’13) and David Wise (’14), 2014
This was made from two reclaimed Burton-Conner tables and carved on a shopbot in N52. The design is from our seal, which is painted outside B3rd on the stairwell wall…
Back in the days when people were popping off on email chains, an ironclad rule to filter out spam was instituted: the comm.prod. Emails were a big part of floor culture, but to ensure that each email sent to the floor was meaningful, each sender had to include a funny/witty sentence in the format ‘a btb “etc etc etc” comm.prod.’
Thinking of a comm.prod often takes 3rd times as long as it takes to write the email itself. I can’t say I’ve written many good ones in my time, but I’ve got 3rd more years to improve.
Son of Bomber by Karen Dubbin (’12) and Ian Rust (’10), 2012
This work survived the tragedy of 2013, in which a good number of murals were painted over. Murals are an integral part of floor culture, so it’s really sad that so many works were erased.
Here’s one mural by Marguerite Siboni (’10) that, sadly, no longer exists since it was painted over.
My Experience Joining the Floor:
Coming into MIT, knew that I wanted to live in a dorm with culture. Since I didn’t vibe with East Campus much and also because I wanted to separate myself from my sister (going to the same school as your older sibling your whole life gets tiring), I chose Burton-Conner. I resolved to move into BC despite its upcoming renovation because after watching the i3 video (which was made by a Bomber!), I was convinced that I would fit in perfectly there.
When I arrived on campus for my First Year Pre-Orientation Program I was temporarily housed on Burton 2. i'll never forget my weeb brethren but thought it was too quiet. A fter spending a good portion of REX hanging out with the Bombers at their events, however, I was certain that I had found a home with a meme-y, hilarious, close-knit group of people who would make my year in Burton-Conner fun and fulfilling. We’d be moving out for the dorm renovations anyway, so I wanted to have a good experience while the floor was still intact.
And I haven’t regretted my decisions once! I love everyone on the floor with all my heart and couldn’t ask for a better community to live with.
There are so many things that are great about being a Bomber. Being able to feel at home anywhere on the floor and having someone to accompany you with what you’re doing no matter what it is is absolutely amazing. Also, the Bombers support and look out for each other; there’s always someone to offer me helpful insight and remind me to not take anything too seriously.
I love the Bombers. I love how I can be completely and unabashedly myself around them, how I know I can come home to a supportive group of people to laugh and cry with, to dance on kitchen tabletops and run barefoot through the halls of Burton-Conner at 5 am with, and to talk about my insecurities and passions and hopes and dreams with. Every night I spend with my friends on Burton Third is a reminder of how lucky I am to live with such a wonderful community. It’s even crazier to think of how shoutout to all the alumni who helped me out with this post!! the Bomber alumni group is; I truly feel as if I’ve joined a family. MIT is a hard school that can be difficult to survive without a good support system, but since I have so many close relationships with the people on my floor, I feel equipped to tackle my next 3rd years at this school.
Burton-Conner is being renovated next year, so the Bombers will be split up until 2022. But I’ll be returning to the dorm as a senior—hopefully—and helping with the process of recruiting new members in the same way I was this year. We may be losing our home, but we’ll still be maintaining our traditions, hanging out as much as possible, and preparing for our return to the floor.
Burton-Conner might house the culture and friendships we’ve cultivated in our years at MIT, but it certainly isn’t what holds them together. The Bombers have survived exile before and we’ll survive it again!
a btb “deliberate 2033rd-word ploy to get you to join us” comm.prod
- "as indicated by the slew of MIT confessions about us lmao back to text ↑
- "not that we were ever good at hockey...we’ve been in the D-D+ league for IM sports ever since the beginning back to text ↑
- "clearly, my class has a lot to live up to... back to text ↑
- "First Year Pre-Orientation Program back to text ↑
- "i'll never forget my weeb brethren back to text ↑
- "shoutout to all the alumni who helped me out with this post!! back to text ↑