Resident FAQ


Residential Life Questions

Why aren't there more free beer/cheap beer events at Sidney-Pacific?

As you may or may not know, MIT has a very strict policy about alcohol. They do not allow university funds to be used to buy alcohol without permission from a Dean and procuring a temporary alcohol license from Cambridge. As this is a somewhat complicated process, most events at Sidney-Pacific will not include alcohol. However for any large party we would expect to bring in the Thirsty Ear to serve beverages at their normal inexpensive prices.

Can we get a pub at Sidney-Pacific?

While we would love to have our own house bar, the complications in getting one are quite extensive. However, the Thirsty Ear Pub is at the New Ashdown residence hall next door.

Resource Questions

How do I check things out from the front desk? How do I know what's available?

Residents must agree to the Terms of Service (certificate required) before they can check out any front desk items.

Residents can search the front desk inventory through the inventory status page. Also, the list of movies available at the front desk is viewable to everyone, on the Movie Library page.

I just borrowed something from the SP inventory and it's broken. What should I do?

Return the item immediately and notify the front desk worker.

How do I print to the Sidney-Pacific printers in the resource room?

We have black and white printers in the Resource Room on the first floor. These are MIT Pharos printers, and are used just like other printers on campus. For more information on using these printers, including how to print from your own computer, please consult the MIT IS&T website's printing information page.

Do we have a bike pump?

Yes! There are manual bike pumps and air compressors in both the East and West bike rooms. If you are using the air compressor, please be careful and don't over-inflate your tires.

Why can't I use the stereo in the gym after midnight?

The stereo can be quite noisy and disruptive to the residents who live above the gym.

Why can't I get the pool/foosball/ping-pong equipment anytime I like?

You may have noticed that we have some very nice equipment in the house. This was mainly bought from leftover building budget money so unfortunately there isn't any replacement fund. So while we may seem overly anal in trying to keep things from breaking/disappearing, it's because we figure it is better to not have access to the equipment from midnight to 8:00am than to have it break/disappear and not be able to afford to replace it. You are welcome to purchase your own equipment and use it in the game room at anytime.

Where can I do my laundry?

The laundry room is located on the first floor, in the north wing, across from the gym. Washers and dryers cost $1 each.

Where are the vending machines in the building?

We have a snack machine and a Red Bull machine on the first floor south wing, near the bike rooms. We also have a soda machine and a snack machine next to the gym and laundry room (on the first floor, north wing).

Facilities Questions

My water pressure is terrible, what can I do?

You can fill out a facility request form online at the S-P website. You can also email the house manager at sp-housemanager (at

What is up with all the locked doors?

Some people have noted that the security in this building seems much tighter then in other buildings at MIT. This is because we do not have the relative security of the main campus. Because of that, all doors are under video surveillance and are locked with card swipes. This is the same security as the Warehouse next door.

I noticed something is dirty/broken (either in my own room or in one of the common rooms/hallways). Who can I tell about it?

You can fill out a facility request form online at the S-P website. You can also email the house manager at sp-housemanager (at We really appreciate residents submitting these requests - it's hard to keep track of a building this big.

What cleaning supplies do we have at S-P?

Garbage bags are provided by the janitorial staff when you put your garbage out in the morning. We also have both canister and upright vacuum cleaners available at the front desk for checkout.

What's up with the water pressure?

Because Sidney-Pacific was built in such a great, environmentally conscientious city like Cambridge we had to obey their water conservation laws. Thus the water pressure is a little low. The knob in the shower does increase the water pressure if you turn it several times (or at least we like to think it does).

Where are the meeting places in case of a fire or fire drill?

We have two locations, one for good weather and one for inclement weather (rain, snow, bitter cold).

  • Good weather: On the side of Pacific Street away from the SP building OR across Sidney Street next to Park
  • Inclement weather: Warehouse or Ashdown Lobby

Government Questions

I love S-P and I want to wear stuff emblazoned with its name/logo! How can I get it?

We give away many items with the S-P logo at orientation time, especially to volunteers and new residents. In addition, residents can win additional SP swag through participating in various contests throughout the year, such as the Environmental Raffle (bring your own plates/utensils to Coffee Hour and brunch, and get entered to win). Finally, SP Officers get lots of SP memorabilia as appreciation gifts.

When are the House Council Meetings?

General House Meetings are generally held the first Tuesday of each month at 8:00pm in the Multipurpose room. Committee meetings are held on an ongoing basis. Copies of past meeting slides and minutes are available here. Please email SPEC or respective SPEC member for more details.

How do I advertise at Sidney-Pacific?

You can use our Unified Publicity Interface for announcement, poster, frontpage and SPTV advertisement requests. Please see this webpage or email for guidelines.

Why does the House Council keep arranging fire alarms?

The House Council has nothing to do with the one (1) scheduled fire alarm a year. This alarm is arranged by the Housing Office. All other fire alarms that have occurred this year have not been false alarms. Each instance has been caused by an actual smoke event. However, in conjugation with the House Manager, we have had the smoke alarms in the common kitchens replaced with heat detectors. However, to reduce the number of fire alarms you can help by NOT OPENING YOUR APARTMENT DOOR if your room fire detector goes off (unless of course there is an actual fire). The building is not evacuated unless a hall fire alarm goes off.

And Everything Else

I don't like the housing lottery system/other system wide housing issue. Can you change it?

The Graduate Student Council has a great committee called Housing and Committee Affairs whose major job is to try to change these things. They are the appropriate people to contact in these cases and can be reached at gsc-hca-chair (at If you really want something changed, offer to help! SP also sends a representative to all of these GSC meetings, so please contact if you would like to learn more and potentially volunteer to be the SP representative.

Why can we BBQ in the courtyard and not smoke?

A BBQ is a once-in-a-while event whereas if smoking was allowed in the courtyard it would be continual. Also, BBQ smoke is not as carcinogenic as cigarette smoke.