Information for Residents
Welcome to Ashdown House!
There's quite a bit of information that's useful for both new and existing residents; you can either use your browser to do a Find on this page if you're looking for something specific, or check the general topics below.
AddressAshdown’s mailing address is:
235 Albany St., "your room number"
Cambridge, MA 02139
Building Access / Security
You must use your MIT ID card for building access of all main doors and gates. If you already have an MIT ID card, you must have your card activated for building use by the House Manager, Denise Lanfranchi. Her office is located in the main corridor as you enter the building from the lobby. You can also email her (dlan [at] mit.edu, kohallor [at] mit.edu) your full name and the card number and she will be able to activate it with this information as well. DO NOT hole-punch any MIT ID (you can ruin the chip inside and de-activate the card).
Security: Ashdown House takes the security of the building and the safety of its residents/employees very seriously. You play an important role in this regard, please be mindful when entering any door or gate of Ashdown, that you do not allow anyone else to piggyback (follow) your entry. This is how non-residents most easily gain entry and violate the building’s security.
Obtaining Your MIT ID CardDomestic Students: Card Office (ph. 617-253-3475) is located in the Stratton Student Center, 84 Massachusetts Ave (Bldg W20- Room 021).
Directons: Walk up Albany St, at traffic light, take a right onto Massachusetts Ave, the student center is across from the building with the big, white pillars.
Hours: M-F, 8:30am-4:30pm
International Students: If you are a regular, F1 student, you will have to bring your Passport and a photo ID. If you have Visitor Status, you will have to bring your registration letter, passport and photo ID. They will sign you up for an orientation meeting where you will get the necessary information. The address for the office is 77 Massachusetts Ave, E39, Rm 278 [if going in person, you will find it at 55 Hayward St, 2nd Floor].
If you will have to wait an extended period of time to obtain your MIT ID, you can speak with the House Manager, Denise Lanfranchi, about receiving a temporary ID (see Building Access for location of her office). The front desk may also be able to assist in this regard. If there are no temporary cards available, there is no problem with access as the desk is always covered and will be able to identify all residents and grant access.
DO NOT hole-punch any MIT ID (you can ruin the chip inside and de-activate the card).
ISO Hours: M-F, 9am-4pm, Closed each Tuesday 10am-11:30am for staff meeting.
Front Desk CoverageA desk worker is on-duty 7 days a week, 8am-midnight. You must return and/or borrow items from the desk during those hours only. After that time, a security guard covers the desk. The only time there may be nobody at the desk is when the security guard is doing her/his rounds of the building which can take 1-1.5 hours. If you find you are waiting longer than 1.5 hrs, you may call Facilities from the phone in the foyer of Ashdown (mounted to the white pole) at x31500 and they will be able to help you.
Locking/Securing Your Apartment/RoomThe apartment doors are locked using a “button” on the inside of the door handle. You depress the button and turn to the right. This will ensure your door will be locked as you leave the room (or for when you are in the room and want the door locked). Test the door, from the outside, to make certain you have locked it properly (have your key with you!).
Borrowing Items from Front DeskThe Ashdown website lists items available for check-out and also indicates if an item is currently available. There are fees assessed for late returns, so please continue to read below.
There is a $5.00 fee for any late returns (returned after the allotted turn-around-time has passed) and it is then $1.00 for each additional day that the item is overdue. You will NOT be able to borrow another item from the desk until all late fees are paid in full. Payment must be exact cash or a check written out to Ashdown House. The turn-around-times are as follows:
Outgoing Mail- There is USPS mail pick-up Mon-Sat (time is variable). There is a dropoff in the lobby of Ashdown. Residents can also leave packages to be picked up at the desk for either return/send. The package would have to be ready for mailing (labeled) or you would have had to arrange for pick up (where the company picking up is bringing the label to Ashdown). The companies that come to Ashdown are: UPS, FedEx (Express, Home & Ground), DHL, Lasership, and USPS. We cannot say your package will be picked up the same day as every carrier does not come every day. Please note: FedEx and Amazon now require you request a pick up, they will not pick up without a request being placed.
Interoffice Mail- There is a drop-off for interoffice (on-campus) mail in the lobby of Ashdown.
Forwarding Mail- After residents move out of Ashdown, we forward mail to the new address for a six month period. During tax season, it is extended to former residents who have left within a year. Therefore, only subsequent tax related mailings will be forwarded to residents who move out between 6 and 12 months ago. All other mail will be returned to sender.
Packages (anything too large to fit in your mailbox)If you receive something too large for your mailbox, you will receive an email alerting you that there is a package for you at the front desk. Please bring your MIT ID with you in order to retrieve all packages. We will scan your card and which acts as your e-signature indicating you retrieved it. If you do not have an MIT ID card yet, please have your MIT ID number ready as we can manually enter it instead.
Guest PolicyResidents are responsible to maintain their own guest list on-line by going to the Ashdown website, under “View My Info”. A resident can add up to 5 guests at one time. Each guest’s name is automatically deleted after 30 days from date of entry. Please let your guest know to carry a picture ID so the front desk can confirm their identity.
If a visitor is NOT on the guest list, the resident MUST come to the lobby and escort the visitor into the building.
No person will be allowed entry into the building without either being on the guest list (w/picture ID available) or with an escort by a resident.
Parking PermitParking Permit The MIT Parking office (ph. 617-258-6510) is located in the Stratton Student Center, 84 Massachusetts Ave, Bldg W20, Room 022 in the basement. Hours: 8:30am-4:30am. You need an MIT sticker in order to do so, but Ashdown residents park at the Sidney-Pacific dorm’s lot (entry is on Sidney St.). You can start the process of applying for an MIT Parking Permit by visiting their website At the beginning of the fall semester, you must have already begun the permit application process, but until the time you have your MIT permit, the House Manager, Denise Lanfranchi, will provide a temporary pass so you can begin parking at Sidney-Pacific’s lot. You can pick this pass up at the front desk of Ashdown. Supressing Personal Information on the MIT Online Search If you wish to suppress certain information from being shown on the MIT Search Directory or printed directory (deadline for this is Friday after Registration Day in the Fall Term), you must do the following:
Albany Street/Metered ParkingThe meters cost $0.25 for 15 minutes. They accept quarters only. The timeframe to pay for metered parking in the Ashdown area is M-F, 8am-6pm. Saturday and Sunday are free street parking around Ashdown. In Cambridge, these rules change in different areas, look for a posted street sign by the curb to ensure you are abiding by the rules of the area in which you are. Cambridge has been known to ticket cars that have paid but have stayed in the same spot for more than two hours. If you can, you may want to move your car every two hours as well.
Issue/Problem with RoomDuring regular work hours (Weekdays M-F), if you have a problem with your room (meaning a light is out, problem with the toilet, garbage disposal, etc.), you must complete an on-line form to request the help of the House Mechanic. The link is:https://atlas.mit.edu.
Internet AccessAll of Ashdown House is configured for wireless access to the internet. If you want to use a cable connection, each new MIT student is allotted a single cable for internet access which can be requested by going to the IT office located at 400 Main St (Building E19).
In order to connect to the secure MIT network, residents should use their Kerberos username and password. However, if this does not provide access when you first arrive, it likely means IT has not completed the configuration process. In that case, you can sign on as an “MIT Guest”.
For any problems with internet connectivity, you may call 617-258-9444 (or x89444 from an Ashdown hall/wall-mounted phone).
Computer (Athena) Use and Print Capability within AshdownThere are three spots within Ashdown where Athena computer(s) are available:
Proof of ResidencyIf you need proof of residency for the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), you should go to the Graduate Housing Office (ph. 617-253-5148), 201 Vassar St, Bldg W59 Room 200 (2nd Fl). They will be able to provide a letter for you on MIT letterhead. You may want to ask them to include your date of birth as well.
To walk there: Go out front lobby door, cross street at cross-walk (towards The Warehouse, 230 Albany St), head down alley between The Warehouse and the loading dock facing you, walk across train tracks (with care!), through the parking lot facing you, take a right when you reach the next street (Vassar St.) and Housing is just there on your right. Hours: M-F, 9am-5pm
Cell PhoneIf you have a cell phone number, please provide your number to the front desk. If not, when you do have one, please provide it to the front desk.
All of the following carriers can be found at the Cambridgeside Galleria Mall (see “Department Stores” for directions): AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile, Metro PCS
Phone in RoomMIT does not provide phones or any phone service to residents. You can arrange a VOIP (voice over internet protocol) service with Vonage on your own accord. Their website is: http://www.vonage.com/". You can also use Skype (http://www.skype.com) to make phone calls using your Internet connection.
Notary PublicNormally, any bank can help you. You can go to the Bank of America in the Stratton Student Center (W20, 84 Mass Ave, 1st Floor). You do not need an account in order to be helped. Hours: M-F, 9am-4pm, closed on Saturday and Sunday
Nearest Food/CoffeeSupermarket - Star Market/Shaw’s (Hours: 7 Days, 7am-12am), directions are:
Bus Info - CampusThe bus stops directly in front of Ashdown House. There is no weekend service. Here is the link to the EZRide shuttle schedule.
Here is a link to NextBus. If you log on here and enter the correct information (i.e. time of day, stop), it will tell you the time of the next bus leaving Ashdown: NextBus schedule
LaundryThe laundry room is located on the 2nd Floor of Ashdown. As you enter the main corridor there is a staircase facing you; at the top of the stairs is the laundry room. The laundry costs $1.00 per wash or dry. You may use quarters or Tech-Cash (students can use their MIT Cards as cash on campus by adding funds on-line). Ashdown does not have a change machine. Ashdown also has clothes drying racks you can borrow from the desk (48 hr rental). To report a problem in the Laundry Room, you can do so by going to the following website: LaundryView
Vending MachinesVending machines are found on the 1st Floor of Building 4.
Coke Machine - email Mike Myers (Dining) at email@example.com
Snack Machine - call 1-800-343-6049
Ashdown’s Coffee Machine - email Frank Permenter at firstname.lastname@example.org
Water Fountain/Drinking waterThe tap water in Cambridge is fine for drinking. There are also water fountains found on the first floors of Buildings 1 and 5. In Building 1, as you enter the main corridor, it is directly in front of you. In Building 5, it is just beyond the Thirsty Ear on the right.
TVMIT Cable is provided for free. You do not have an option as far as obtaining any additional cable channels.
Spare KeyAshdown does provide a spare key if you have managed to lock your key inside your room. You should provide a picture ID and must return the key as soon as you have gained entry to your room. If that or any key provided to you by the Ashdown is lost, there is a $30.00 Housing fee charged to your account. You must return your borrowed spare key to the desk within one hour.
Paying Your RentPaying your rent is done on-line. The information will appear in the same place your tuition does. Select MIT PAY from the WebSIS site: http://student.mit.edu/
Dry Cleaning ClothesThere is a dry cleaner, Alpha Cleaners, located in the Stratton Student Center (84 Massachusetts Ave). They are willing to deliver your cleaned clothes to Ashdown, but you must let them know you would like this service when you drop your clothes off with them.
Bike Storage- Locations to Secure Your BikeIt is highly recommended that you purchase and diligently use a good quality lock. Do not leave an unlocked bike unattended!
The bike room (1090) is located on the 1st Floor, building 4. You can enter the room from inside the building as well as from the courtyard (you will see silver door that has black key pad beside it).
On-Campus Bike Fix-it (Repair) Locations:
There are five locations that are equipped with bike pumps and some tools in order to repair your bike. There are located at the following buildings
Trash/RecyclingTrash: Trash is collected daily by the housekeeping staff. You may leave the tied trash outside your suite door in the main hallway. Staff will leave new trash bags. You may also pick up trash bags at the front desk. The main trash room, if you need to dispose of a lot of trash and want to do so, is located on the 1st Floor of Building 3. If your back is to the elevator #3, the trash room will be across from you, the door to the left. There are also recycle bins there for cardboard/paper. Boxes should be broken down prior to being placed here for recycle. There should be no peanuts or plastic bubble wrap box padding put with the recycling.
Compost: Ashdown has green, compost bins in each of the common kitchens. Please ensure nothing other than food is placed in these bins. The common kitchens are located on the 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th floors in Building 4 (at cusp of building 3).
MIT’s Single Stream Recycling: You may recycle the following materials together in the blue, recycle bin provided. Please rinse out the items that contained liquid/food. The recycle bin should also be left outside your suite door in the hallway for pickup:
Sink Disposal UseTo work your disposal, you need to locate the “key” which is a gadget with a handle that has a tubular bottom piece attached to it that has magnets on either of its ends. To operate the disposal, run cold water on-full, and gently place the “key” into the drain of the sink and maneuver it until the magnets catch and you can hear the disposal running. Keep the cold water running for approximately 30 seconds after the unit is shut off. To shut off, gently turn the “key” to break magnetic hold and pull up.
Best Use Practices:
Scanning and Copying Documents
Quiet HoursAshdown has a quiet hours policy from 11:00PM (23:00) to 8:00AM (08:00). During that time, TVs, music, and conversation should be toned down so as not to disturb your neighbors. This includes hallways and common rooms.
If you are disturbed by noise at night you can contact the guard at the front desk at 617-253-2961 or call for the night manager at 617-253-1500.
Fire/Smoke AlarmsIf the Smoke Alarm in your room sounds, DO NOT open the door to the main hallway. Open your windows as much as you can and air the room out that way. If you open the door to the hallway and there is enough smoke, it will cause the building-wide fire alarm to go off, warrant an evacuation of the building and call the Fire Department to Ashdown.
If you hear the Fire Alarm sounding, listen carefully to the voice commands of the system. You only have to evacuate your building if the command stipulates to do so. Know your building number!
TechCASHStudents can use their MIT ID like a debit card at certain locations. To do so, you must open a TechCash account on the TechCash website.
Adding funds to your MIT ID card can be done online or by visiting the Card Office.
Online: Each on-line deposit incurs a $1.50 convenience fee. You may either:
Lost Card: As soon as you realize your ID card is missing, you can instantly suspend the TechCASH feature of your card by using the online account management tool. If you find your ID card later, you can reactivate your TechCASH instantly on-line by using the account management tool as well.
For a full explanation, visit the MIT Card website.
They also maintain a list of places that accept TechCASH.
Heat Ventilation Air Conditioning Systems (HVAC)Air Conditioning (AC)
The AC automatically works when the outside temperature reaches 70F/21.1C and maintains it for four consecutive hours.
You can set your thermostat by ensuring the thermostat is set to “Auto” and then press the “Hand/Finger” button to reach your desired temperature.
If this does not produce the desired results, contact 617-253-4948 (3-FIXIT).
The heat will automatically work when the outside temperature reaches 65F/18.3C for four consecutive hours. If you are having problems with your heat, please review and select the appropriate action for your situation.
The Flame symbol should remain as long as you are continuing to heat the room.
However, there can only be heating or AC at a given time – setting the thermostat at a given temperature may not do anything if the wrong function is active
Campus Maps/InformationYou may pick up a campus map at Information Center at 77 Massachusetts Ave found immediately on your right as you enter the building. The Information Center is your source for maps, directions, and answers to everything MIT. It also organizes the campus tours; their phone number is 617-253-4795.
ATM'sNearest locations Cititzens
Phone Numbers and Emails for your Reference
Regular Ashdown Events
Thirsty Ear Pub EventsThe Thirsty Ear Pub website for your reference: http://thirsty-ear.mit.edu
Hours: Monday-Thursday, 7:30pm-1am, Kitchen open till 11pm
You can also order food at the pub (in-person) and take-away.
Info accurate as of 09/06/2016