Introducing archREFS

MIT Architecture launches new program as part of strategic efforts around equity and inclusion.

This spring, the MIT Department of Architecture is launching a new peer-to-peer support group that currently exists across many departments at MIT: The departmental Resources for Easing Friction and Stress, or dREFS. The architecture department’s program, archREFS, is a group of graduate students trained in conflict management and mediation, here to support the broad architecture community of undergrads, MArchs, SMArchS, SMBTs, SMACTs, and PhDs.

Feeling stressed? They are here to help.

Whether you feel:

  • Stressed out by academics or finances 
  • Frustrated by your interactions with your instructor, advisor or colleagues 
  • Annoyed by your roommate, friend, or groupmate 
  • Confused by the strange culture you just found yourself in 
  • Just need someone to talk or vent to

The main role of the archREFS student members is to listen without judgement, provide a sounding board as you think about possible resolutions, connect you with other helpful resources, and help you deal with stress and conflict, however big or small. And they do so with confidentiality and anonymity, meaning they will not share any information nor take any action about the conversation you have with them without your explicit consent, except in the unusual situation of imminent risk of harm to self or others. 

They also act as advocates for architecture students by raising department-wide issues and concerns during their regular meetings with the Department Head and the archREFS faculty advisors.

To set up a one-on-one confidential meeting email a REFS member directly or reach out to They will work with you to find a convenient time and a comfortable place (distantly or virtually) to chat. You can also sign up with this form: 


Meet the REFS! 

Yaara Yacoby (she/her/hers) 
Yaara is a third year M.Arch. Since moving to MA in the early 2000s, she seems to never have left the area. She ventured a whopping half an hour from home to go to Harvard where she studied History of Art and Architecture, and today she resides at MIT’s Random Hall as a GRA. In her spare time, she enjoys running, baking Rugelach, and watching all seasons of the Great British Bake Off. 

Jayson Kim (he/him/his)
Growing up, Jayson has called many places his home. Korea, where he was born and spent his early youth. Then, California, Texas, and now Massachusetts. He spent most of his time doodling, which led him to study architecture at Texas A&M, and then at MIT as a 2nd year M.Arch candidate. He is passionate about architecture, but not as much as he is about cats! After Core III, he fostered his first cat, with whom he shares a passion for watching anime.