Institute must improve integration of freshman groups (2)
As a member of my dormitory's Residence/Orientation Week committee for the past two years, I have noticed a very serious problem in the way that the Institute handles orientation for certain groups of students: transfers, international students, and Project Interphase participants. To a smaller extent, Reserve Officers' Training Corps members, freshman athletes, and women are also involved.
The problem is in the process of trying to make these students feel comfortable in their new surroundings; the current orientation programs segregate them into groups. These groups (with the exception of women) are housed together and their orientation events take place in isolated sections of campus. These students never go beyond the boundaries that the Institute's <>
R/O committee sets up for them.
Last year's international R/O, for example, housed all of these students in two west campus dorms. All of their events were held in the dormitories between McCormick and Next House. A few presentations were held in the Institute buildings. An international student would have to take a campus tour to discover the east side of campus. Considering that 20 percent of the student body is composed of international students, this creates a negative impact on rush for East Campus, Senior House, Random Hall, and Bexley.
Interphase students are traditionally housed in East Campus. Interphasers have a greater chance to explore campus in the time that they are here. However, since they are housed together for the summer, they feel comfortable where they are. Their friends are in the same building so they don't have to travel to see them, and sometimes they become complacent. Since there is no need to go anywhere else, they stay put.
This inertial phenomena was quite apparent two years ago at East Campus. At the end of rush, the room assignment chairman found blocks of five and six freshmen asking to be housed together on the same hall. These freshmen turned out to have met during Interphase.
It is sad that these ready-made groups don't consider the possibility of maintaining their friendships from hall to hall or dorm to dorm while opening up the opportunity to meet different people. They (in this case, minorities) never have to go beyond their hall to find someone who fits into their "group." Instead <>
of integrating these students with different types of people, the Institute chooses to keep them segregated.
Why does the Institute insist on running orientation this way every year? It hurts certain dormitories as far as rush is concerned. Furthermore, it instills in freshmen the idea that they will be divided into predefined groups. We end up with a student body of minority students, international students, ROTC members, women, transfer students, and athletes instead of a student body made up of students who interact with each other regardless of sex, race, heritage, or extracurricular activities. These students will meet through common activities and thus it is not necessary for the Institute to keep them confined to one living group.
Courtney Moriarta '91->