My interview was with Lisa Lozano, the president of a MIT student group called Class Awareness, Support, and Equality (CASE). Lisa and other students founded CASE last semester to address problems that they saw affecting peers from low-income backgrounds. For example, while many students receive financial aid, some still struggle to make ends meet due to the high cost of living in the Boston area. Others send remittances to family members to mitigate the burden of medical needs, leaving little for themselves. CASE has hosted a series of forums to raise awareness of these issues; they have also worked to connect students in need with sources of Techcash cards.
Lisa identified bureaucracy and the Institute’s hesitancy to change to be main barriers in her work. Although many student services have Techcash cards available for students, such support is unofficial and exists in an area of uncertain legality. The same sort of snag was encountered when CASE attempted to publicize their program for matching families of graduating students with faculty willing to provide housing during commencement; CASE was told that until approval was cleared with the many contractors that run MIT’s dorms, they would not be able to contact students using official mailing lists.
While Lisa is graduating soon, she hopes that CASE will gain enough momentum for its work to be continued by younger members. Their website can be found at https://www.studentsonthecase.com/
Audio file of interview can be found here.
Link to hypothetical headline here.