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Class of '94 Announces Gift- An Inproved Info Booth

By Sarah Y. Keightley
Executive Editor

As this year's senior class gift, the Class of 1994 will be renovating the structure and improving the services of the Student Center information desk. The new desk will include a ticket booth for student group events.

The Senior Gift Committee announced their plan last week and unveiled drawings during the gift premiere this Tuesday.

Committee Head Walter E. Babiec '94 said the project has the "potential to be one of the most successful senior gifts ever."

Structurally, the information desk on the first floor of the Student Center will be expanded in area. The current desk will be moved out two feet, and will be extended so that it wraps around the corner of the stairway, abutting the phone booth on the side, Babiec said. The structure will be built off-site, and the project will hopefully be completed by this fall, he added.

Moreover, the booth will serve as a ticket booth where student groups can sell tickets to their events, Babiec said. Students will also be able to reserve Institute rooms and space for Lobby 7 and Lobby 10 drop posters.

The booth will also serve as an MIT Activities Committee outlet. MITAC offers tickets to outside events, sometimes at a discounted price. Because the MITAC office is in Building 20, the desk will serve as a "more central location," and more students will probably use their services, he said.

Jahnavi Swamy '95, who served on the committee, said that a "big selling point" of this year's gift is that it "makes things a lot more convenient for students."

The area will also include an events board for MIT community activities and other major events in the Boston and Cambridge area. There will be a place where students can pick up various forms, such as add-drop cards.

Television sets will be set up to "allow students to watch major world events and the MIT Cable events channel," Babiec said.

Students will staff the booth. Normally one person will man the booth, but during times of heavy use, such as selling Spring Weekend concert tickets, "it's likely a second person will be added," Babiec said.

The desk will not replace student booths in Lobby 10, rather it "gives student organizations another outlet," Babiec said. "It's hard to man a Lobby 10-booth all day; it's also a positive thing for people who may not go through Lobby 10."

Richard C. Davis '94 said that the gift idea is "pretty good." He belongs to a theater group, and he thinks the ticket booth will make it easier for people to buy tickets.

About 200 to 250 seniors came by the gift premiere on Tuesday, and student feedback was generally pretty positive, Babiec said. The architect attended the event, and brought some conceptual drawings. The booth is "something the senior class will enjoy and be proud of when they come back for reunions," Babiec said.

Annette C. Guy '94 attended the premiere, but said she was not "too psyched about the project idea because [it] wasn't as necessary as some of the other ones," such as contributing to UROP funds. It is understandable that $30,000 would have only gone toward about 10 summer UROPS, but it still makes a difference, she said.

Seniors fund project

To fund the senior gift, the committee members and the class agents ask fellow seniors for donations. The program lasts for five years, and runs until the 5-year reunion. Each year the current seniors make pledges to pay for the gift. The Alumni Office reminds the students of pledge obligations.

According to the architect, the project will cost about $30,000, Babiec said.

Until the gift donations come in during this 5-year period, the Campus Activities Complex will fund the project. Then the CAC will be repaid.

In choosing a senior gift, the first step is putting up flame sheets in Lobby 7 to hear student suggestions, Babiec said. The committee then approaches Institute offices, such as the Planning Office and the CAC, for potential ideas. This year's idea came from Ted E. Johnson, assistant director for programs.

The next step is to send out a survey, which includes several project ideas, to seniors. Once the committee has heard student input, studied project costs, discussed applicability, and found an office to maintain the project once seniors graduate, the final decision is made.

The information-booth-project fit all of these criteria, and it is also "such a visible project," Babiec said.

"I think that the nice thing about this year's gift is that we have an office that is willing to oversee it, we're dealing with one area - the Student Center, and we know that it is cost feasible," he said. Babiec also said the project is going well because the gift committee was prepared, the CAC is quite excited, and the Alumni Office was helpful in planning a feasible gift.

The Senior Gift Committee includes Umber Ahmad '94, Jason B. Bock '94, Class President Ann Chen '94, Angela W. Choy '94, Amy I. Hsu '94, Celika M. Langford '95, Swamy, Jeffrey R. Van Dyke '94, Hannah C. Wu '94, Keelan K. Yang '94, and Jose J. Pacheco '94. Juniors also serve on the committee to learn the process for planning next year's senior class gift, Babiec said.