GSC Hosts Orientation EventsBy Deena S. Disraelly
In parallel with the undergraduate Residence and Orientation Week, the Graduate Student Council is hosting a graduate student orientation this week. Events include information sessions, trips, and tours. Orientation week started on Tuesday, and it will continue until Friday.
"One of the big things we try to do once the graduate students get here ...[is] to build a sense of community," said GSC President Caryl B. Brown G. The GSC wants to show them that "they do have a life, and they don't have to be chained to a lab desk," he added.
The other main goals for the GSC orientation are to make graduate students "more aware of MIT" through seminars and information sessions, and to "try to convince people that the GSC is a worthwhile organization," Brown said.
The graduate student orientation is staffed almost entirely by volunteers, a "100 percent uncompensated effort," Brown said. These graduate students also have responsibilities in their laboratories, and some are "asking extreme leniency" from their advisers to volunteer, Brown said. Overall, there are fewer people doing fewer things for more people than in undergraduate R/O, he added.
"This year, we have very nice people, very energetic, and very organized," said administrative assistant and GSC staff member Ying Ying Li G.
"I'm extremely pleased with the effort everyone has put in," Brown said. "It's not a one-man job." Brown also acknowledged the work of Orientation Committee Chair Christopher B. Umminger G.
The week's itinerary
This year's orientation is very similar to last year's. New this year, however, are the daily campus walking tours and this evening's Night on the Town tour.
All this week, students can pick up information at the GSC booth in Lobby 10. The information includes MBTA schedules, explanations of GSC activities, and the MIT Express. The MIT Express contains lists of commonly used phone numbers, acronyms and their meanings, student organizations, and libraries, as well as departmental information.
Yesterday, the GSC sponsored the MIT Fair in Lobby 13. Representatives from the Office of Residence and Campus Activities, Campus Police, and the Registrar's Office informed graduate students about the resources available to them on campus.
Over the summer, graduate students also received an orientation schedule and a checklist. The checklist divided tasks to be accomplished into three parts: essential, academic, and other. It reminded students to do things such as open a local bank account and get keys to their building and office. Also included was a list of places to eat and buy groceries.
Activities planned for this afternoon include the picnic and the GSC Open House. The picnic, held in Killian Court, is the only campus-wide graduate student picnic. President Charles M. Vest will speak, and lunches will be provided by MIT.
The Graduate Student Open House will provide an opportunity for new and old graduate students to get to know each other. The Alumni/ae Association will provide ice cream.
At the end of the open house, the GSC will host the Night on the Town tour. Tour guides who are "familiar with different hot spots" around Cambridge and Boston will take groups of graduate students to Harvard Square, Lansdowne Street, Quincy Street, and a party held with the Sloan School of Management orientation students, Brown said.
Traditionally, the GSC's most popular orientation event is the Boston Harbor Cruise, which will tour Boston Harbor Friday evening. A total of 500 tickets are available at the GSC booth for $5 apiece, but they are expected to sell out.
The GSC will also sponsor a trip to Fenway Park Sunday to watch the Boston Red Sox play against the Kansas City Royals. Two hundred tickets will be available.