News Article

Gaining Community and Skills at New House

New House

April 04, 2016

When you host over 750 events in several jam-packed days and invite admitted students to campus, this is what you would call a Campus Preview Weekend (CPW). CPW is where admitted students are immersed in the real culture of their school and where they find their home and place on campus.

“I had many reservations about where I would fit in on campus,” said Richard ‘Trey’ Watts III ‘18 prior to his CPW visit to MIT.

CPW was crucial for Watts's transition to MIT because it’s where he met several members of Chocolate City, a brotherhood of MIT students and alumni who identify with urban culture. These members live in New House, where Watts selected to live.
New House is segmented into nine different member houses, but according to Watts it still has a feel of a whole community.

“Residents are often very friendly, will not hesitate to stop and catch up for a little bit if we see each other in the arcade (New House’s main hallway), and are always eager to say hello on campus.”
Watts was active in New House government; he was Vice President as a second-semester freshman. When the New House President became Undergraduate Association President, Watts formally began to transition to the dorm presidency.
Just after formally taking office in June, ‘The Great Flood’ at New House occurred. Half of the residents in New House would have to move, but Watts knew how important the nine member houses were in creating a cohesive and diverse community. Watts advocated with campus administration to help relocate displaced students in order to preserve this dynamic and allow the students to thrive. His initiative succeeded and the students found themselves living in the Hyatt Regency.

“That summer involved many phone calls and video conferences, but having everyone together was worth it,” said Watts.

As the President, Watts continued to ensure that the Hyatt residents were provided with everything they needed in order to continue their successes at MIT through the academic year.
Watts contributes his confidence, leadership and time management skills to his involvement with Chocolate City.

“Being New House President taught me the importance of delegation and teamwork in a leadership role because no one person could ever balance that amount of work at MIT,” he described. “I enjoy being the person that people come to when they want their questions answered or when they feel that I can advocate for them.”
Finding his niche at MIT during CPW has empowered Watts to step outside of his comfort zone to positively impact others. Beyond college Watts knows he has an enduring network through Chocolate City and a sense of ownership to the New House community as a whole.

“I came to MIT thinking I would generally keep to myself and be mostly involved with academics, but this proved wrong to a large degree.”

Now, during his retirement from the New House Presidency, Watts has rekindled his passion for building technical projects through the MIT Rocket Team as he pursues his studies in Courses 8 and 16.

Additional contributions by Stephanie Tran.

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