Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 65.89
Liaison Julie Newman
Submission Date Oct. 23, 2018
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

Massachusetts Institute of Technology
PA-3: Participatory Governance

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 2.00 / 3.00 MIT Office of Sustainability
Office of Sustainability
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Do the institution’s students have a representative body through which they can participate in governance (e.g. a student council)? :

Do the institution’s students have an elected representative on the institution’s highest governing body?:

A brief description of the bodies and mechanisms through which students are engaged in governance, including information to support each affirmative response above:

See http://catalog.mit.edu/mit/campus-life/student-government/

Undergraduate Student Government

The Undergraduate Association (UA), the major governmental body to which all undergraduates belong, works to improve the quality of undergraduate life. It is assisted by a variety of committees. The Financial Board coordinates budgets and allocates funds to student organizations. The Committee on Education provides student feedback to departments and the Institute to improve the undergraduate academic experience. The Nominations Committee recommends student representatives for more than 50 administrative and faculty committees.

Each class at MIT annually elects a president and executive committee for its class council, which plans and coordinates programs and social events throughout the year.

The Association of Student Activities, a joint committee of the UA and the Graduate Student Council (see below), is responsible for recognizing student groups and activities, allocating student office space, and organizing Activities Midways, which take place during orientation in August and Campus Preview Weekend (CPW) each April.

All living groups maintain governing structures responsible for the internal functioning of their houses, including sponsoring social events and promoting house culture. To deal with issues of common concern, the fraternities have the Interfraternity Council (IFC), the sororities are organized under the Panhellenic Council, the independent living groups are members of the Living Group Council (LGC), and undergraduate residence are represented by the Dormitory Council (DormCon). The IFC, Panhellenic Council, and LGC also promote good relations among their houses and their host communities in Boston's Back Bay, Brookline, and Cambridge. DormCon coordinates common house activities including Residence Exploration (REX), CPW, and the Interactive Introduction to the Institute (i3).

Graduate Student Government

The Graduate Student Council (GSC) exists to enhance the overall graduate experience at MIT by promoting the general welfare and concerns of the graduate student body, creating new programs and initiatives, and communicating with the MIT faculty and administration on behalf of graduate students. The GSC seeks to emphasize, in all its activities, the core values of representation, communication, collaboration, transparency, and accountability.

The council accomplishes its goals through a structure of elected representatives, standing committees, and officers. GSC representatives facilitate communication between the council and their constituency (a department, academic program, living group, or demographic group). The standing committees span all facets of the graduate experience, including orientation for all incoming graduate students; career exploration events and a variety of academic seminars throughout the year; large social and cultural activities; advocacy on student-related issues at the local, state, and federal levels; and even the Muddy Charles Pub.

On issues such as housing, stipends, health care, sustainability, and advising, as well as nearly any other academic or student-life related issue, the GSC serves as the primary voice and advocate for the graduate student body. In addition, the GSC nominates individuals to serve on a number of Institute committees, to ensure that there is a student voice in decisions made throughout the Institute.

The GSC also interfaces with graduate student groups through the Association of Student Activities (a joint committee of the GSC and the Undergraduate Association) and the GSC funding board, which allocates event funding to these groups. Additionally, the GSC maintains relations with other graduate student organizations both locally and nationally so as to share ideas about how to best address graduate students' needs.

The GSC office is located in Room 50-220, Walker Memorial, above the Muddy Charles Pub. To keep students apprised of the council's activities, it maintains a comprehensive website which serves as a repository for a large amount of information relevant to graduate students; it also publishes the Anno, its weekly newsletter, reaching all graduate students on campus.

Corporation Joint Advisory Committee on Institute-Wide Affairs (CJAC)

The purpose of CJAC (established in 1969) is to associate with the Corporation a representative group at MIT to which the Corporation can turn for consideration and advice on special Institute-wide matters requiring Corporation attention. In considering such matters, the committee makes available to the Corporation (at the Corporation's request or the committee's own initiative) information, views, and advice resulting from discussion and interaction among students, faculty, and Corporation members.

The committee provides an additional means for bringing student and faculty representatives into regular communication with the Corporation on matters of long-range importance to the MIT community.

The committee also serves to acquaint the MIT community more fully with the role and responsibilities of the Corporation.

The committee, elected annually by the Corporation, consists of 18 members:

6 Corporation members nominated by the Membership Committee. (One chairs the committee; one is President of the Association of Alumni and Alumnae of MIT; at least one is local to the Boston and Cambridge communities.)
6 faculty members nominated by the faculty (including the Chair of the Faculty).
6 students including the President of the Undergraduate Association; the President of the Graduate Student Council; two undergraduate students nominated by an elective process by undergraduates; and two graduate students nominated by an elective process by graduate students.
Corporation members and faculty are elected for terms ranging from one to three years. Students are elected for one-year terms. The term of service for an ex officio member is concurrent with the term of service in his or her respective office.

The chair is expected to make periodic reports to the Corporation on the deliberations of the committee.


Do the institution’s staff members have a representative body through which they can participate in governance (e.g. a staff council)?:

Do the institution’s non-supervisory staff members have an elected representative on the institution’s highest governing body?:

A brief description of the bodies and mechanisms through which staff are engaged in governance, including information to support each affirmative response above:

All MIT staff can be candidates for many governing institute committees and task forces. Please refer to this link for additional information:



MIT's governance structure is supported by a strong system of committees and councils: The Faculty, as one of the Institute's governing bodies, develops and carries out policy through the Standing and Special Committees of the Faculty; the latter also include the award committees and the Faculty Newsletter Editorial Board. Standing Institute Committees Appointed by the President hold responsibility for policy development and review in key areas; each reports to a senior officer. Other Institute Committees and Councils comprise other Institute-wide groups involved in policy development and review. Please contact us if there is a committee you feel should be included here. NOTE: For information related to a committee at the School, department, lab, or center level, please contact the relevant office directly.

Do the institution’s teaching and research faculty have a representative body through which they can participate in governance (e.g. a faculty senate)?:

Do the institution’s teaching and research faculty have an elected representative on the institution’s highest governing body? :

A brief description of the bodies and mechanisms through which teaching and research faculty are engaged in governance, including information to support each affirmative response above:

The Academic Council, consisting of the Institute's senior leadership plus the elected Chair of the Faculty, meets weekly during the academic year to confer on matters of Institute policy. The Academic Council is chaired by the President. Please refer to this link for a roster of members:


MIT is rather unique in not having either a faculty association or a faculty senate. Instead the heart of the governance structure is built around 11 standing faculty committees plus several focused awards committees. Approximately 100 (10 percent) of the faculty participate in any given year on one or more of these committees, and in doing so oversee a broad spectrum of educational programs, student life, and community affairs.

Does the institution have written policies and procedures to identify and engage external stakeholders (i.e. local residents) in land use planning, capital investment projects, and other institutional decisions that affect the community?:

A copy of the written policies and procedures:

The policies and procedures:

12.1 - Relations with Government and Community
MIT has a history of engaging in meaningful working relationships with the federal government, the city of Cambridge and other communities, and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. MIT's government relations activities are supported and coordinated by the Office of the President.

Federal Government: The Director of the MIT Washington Office is the primary liaison with the Congress and executive agencies of the federal government, as well as with the national higher education associations and science societies based in Washington, DC. The goal of the MIT Washington Office is to enhance the Institute's contribution to national policy in science, engineering, and education and to make it easier for government officials to consult with MIT faculty and administrators on issues that may require scientific, technical, and policy advice. This focus on national service provides opportunities to better inform Congress as well as executive branch agencies about MIT's continuing contributions to the nation and the related concerns of the Institute and the broader university community.

The mission of the MIT Washington Office is supported and reinforced by the campus-based Office of Government and Community Relations. The offices work as a team to support the efforts of the President, faculty, and administrators across a broad range of activities and contacts with the federal government. They are available as resources to members of the Institute community who desire information or assistance in their own relations with the federal government.

Municipal and State Government: The Co-Directors of the Office of Government and Community Relations are the primary Institute liaisons with city and state government. The office endeavors to develop constructive working relationships, nurture partnership efforts, and collaborate on matters of mutual concern. Office staff engage in a variety of ongoing projects and respond to community and governmental inquiries and requests.

The office provides guidance on various licensing, permitting, zoning, housing, taxation, safety, and transportation issues in Cambridge and in other towns. Staff assist in bringing Cambridge officials to campus as participants in groundbreakings, building openings, and other events at the Institute.

The office is available as a resource to members of the Institute community who desire information or assistance in their own relations with these elements of government.

Community Relations: In addition to its inherent responsibility for public service, the Institute has a special obligation to the local community, recognizing that the long-range welfare of the community and the Institute are in large measure inseparable.

The Co-Directors of the Office of Government and Community Relations are responsible for coordinating the Institute's administrative efforts in community relations. Within the Institute, the Government and Community Relations Office is a communications link and a catalyst to promote local understanding and cooperation and, off campus, it is a resource for neighboring communities.

The office accommodates community-based facility use requests and makes donations to neighborhood programs and institutions. Office staff represent MIT on Cambridge nonprofit boards and committees. The office is also responsible for coordinating MIT's Community Services Fund, which provides financial assistance to support volunteers from the MIT community in local service efforts.

The MIT Public Service Center is the primary source of programming, guidance, and information for community service activities at the Institute. The Office of Government and Community Relations works with the Public Service Center to support community service activities. Emphasis is placed on MIT contributions to science and technology curriculum in local public schools. Some of these projects have involved collaborative action with other universities and organizations in Cambridge and the Greater Boston area.

Additional information may be found here:


Does the institution have formal participatory or shared governance bodies through which community members representing the interests of the following stakeholder groups can regularly participate in institutional governance?:
Yes or No
Local government and/or educational organizations Yes
Private sector organizations No
Civil society (e.g. NGOs, NPOs) No

A brief description of the bodies and mechanisms through which external stakeholders are engaged in institutional governance (including information about each stakeholder group selected above):

The Office coordinates MIT's community relations activities in Cambridge and beyond, and supports the President's Office and the MIT community-at-large in a broad range of activities. The OGCR staff are available as a resource to members of the Institute community who need information or assistance with the government, and to MIT's neighbors who need guidance in their interactions with the Institute. The Office is firmly committed to promoting town-gown collaboration and understanding. At the Institute, this Office is a communications link, a catalyst for action, and a resource for both MIT and the external community. Please refer to:


The website URL where information about the programs or initiatives is available:
Additional documentation to support the submission:

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