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MIT forms program to increase involvement of studetn's parents

By Reuven M. Lerner

The MIT Alumni/ae Association began a Parents Program in January to try to increase communications with the parents of undergraduate students, according to Director Marcia Hartley. Offerings of the program include a special weekend for parents in October and a newsletter published three times a year.

Hartley viewed the new program as a way to involve more parents in their children's education. She said it was still in its "formative stage," but was optimistic about it.

The association will be working closely with the Undergraduate Academic Support Office, which had wanted to attempt similar undertakings, but did not have the time or the funds, according to Assistant Dean Mary Z. Enterline.

Parents received a letter in February from Emily V. Wade '45, president of the Alumni/ae Association, introducing the Parents Program, requesting their names and addresses for future mailings, and announcing programs such as Parents Newsletter and Family Weekend, during which parents will participate in special activities. The newsletter, which begins production in July, will be written by students and faculty and will bring MIT closer to parents, according to Hartley.

Family Weekend, scheduled for Oct. 20-21, will include dramatic and musical performances, class visits, and lab tours, Hartley said. Parents expressed the most interest in these events in a survey sent last month to determine their preferences. The survey offered choices ranging from presentations on admissions and financial aid, to discussions about campus life, to tours of labs and museums at MIT, Hartley said.

More events for parents may be held during Residence/Orientation Week this year as a result of the Parents Program, according to Enterline. In fact, Family Weekend may eventually be moved to R/O week.

Both Enterline and Hartley stressed the importance of student input and participation in the Parents Program. Hartley said that she wished she had learned more about MIT when her son attended and wanted current MIT parents to become involved with this "special and exciting" school.

were sent Family Weekend surveys along with copies of Technology Review last month, and Hartley said that the response has been positive. The surveys asked parents what programs they would like to see in the program.

eventually host most of the parent orientation currently held during R/O week. Family Weekend may eventually assume the function of Parents Weekend, currently held during R/O week. "is a good idea" and will will help with freshman Residence/Orientation week. She said that this might mean more programs for parents during R/O week, and that the new Family Weekend could eventually replace Parents Weekend, which is held during R/O week. Enterline added the UASO had always wanted to create both a newsletter and a Family Weekend, but had neither the time nor the funds.