Underwear Colors @ MIT’s Burton-Conner Hall

Source: MIT Admissions blog, Mar 2016

A lot of socializing at MIT happens on the dorm mailing lists. One of my favorite mailing lists is Burton-Conner’s, not because of the content of the mailing list (I’ve never been on it), but because of the excellent barrier to emailing it: it is tradition, a very important rule, and a sign of respect to sign emails to the Burton-Conner dormwide social mailing list with the color of the underwear you are wearing. (For a more detailed explanation, see Snively ‘11’s post from 2009.)

This rule is a huge boon to those of us who are data-curious and kind of creepy. All MIT undergraduates, even those who have never lived in Burton-Conner, have a wealth of data on the self-reported underwear colors of people who have emailed the entire undergraduate population, which includes Burton-Conner.

There are lots of parallels between MIT and Hogwarts. Both are magical and occasionally terrifying. Both have weird rooms and passageways to explore and discover, staircases that lead to different places depending on when you take them, and unique and varied houses with beloved authority figures. There are also cupboards, some of them under stairs, where people have been rumored to live.



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