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Vest welcomes grad students

By Lakshmana Rao

More than 1000 new graduate students participated in the orientation activities organized by the Graduate Student Council this week.

In his welcome address to the new graduate students, President Charles M. Vest urged them to "actively participate in the pursuits of the Institute to find solutions to the problems of energy, environment and global communication that are facing the world today."

Vest spoke at the orientation picnic for all new graduate students held at the Johnson Athletic Center yesterday. The picnic was shifted from its planned site in Killian Court due to inclement weather.

"Graduate education provides a unique opportunity to pursue intense solitary scholarship of the type that one may never be engaged in the rest of [one's] life," he added.

Speaking at the picnic, Dean of the Graduate School Frank E. Perkins '55 said that "graduate students, with a strength of about 5000, comprise a special group of people in the Institute, outnumbering the undergraduate population by several hundreds."

"Graduate students represent a diversity of background and a wide variety of undergraduate experiences. One-third of the graduate students are international students," he added.

Perkins told the picnickers that "graduate education at MIT operates in a completely decentralized fashion, with the individual departments and the faculty monitoring the progress of individual students. The graduate school merely provides the guidelines of academic policy and financial support for students."

Furio Ciacci G, president of the GSC, who also spoke at the picnic, noted that "there is a historical trend towards broader and greater [graduate] student involvement in Institute activities."

"Even greater numbers of graduate students demand that their opinion be considered in setting educational policies. Our goal at the GSC is to maintain this trend in the future," he added.

Orientation budget increased

The GSC was allocated a separate line item of $15,000 in its budget for orientation this year by the dean of the graduate school, according to Ramnath Subramaniam G, chairman of the GSC's orientation committee. In previous years, the GSC had to pay for the graduate student orientation from its total budget of $45,000.

For the first time, the GSC organized an fair, where it invited different Institute service departments to present information to new students. Among the groups that participated in the fair were the Medical Department, the Campus Police, Project Athena and the Housing Office. "The fair was very effective and provided an excellent opportunity for students to be informed about the services by their representatives," Subramaniam said.

The GSC also organizes an open house for the new students each year, informing them about its activities. Orientation activities will culminate with the traditional harbor cruise tonight.