12.1 Relations with Government and Community

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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.