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Grad Orientation Welcomes 1,200

By Ramy A. Arnaout
Executive Editor

Graduate student residence and orientation kicks off today with events aimed at easing the 1,200 newcomers into MIT life, according to Keymar Ghandi G, Graduate Student Council Orientation Committee chair.

Unlike the undergraduate system, graduate R/O is run "solely by graduate student volunteers and the graduate administrator for the GSC," said GSC President Barbara J. Souter G. "The committee has about 15 to 30 volunteers" over the summer, "some of whom work nearly full time this week," she said.

The committee also coordinates GSC events held by the departments and by student groups, like the International Student Association's Coffee Hour, Ghandi said.

"Our main goal is to welcome the students and help them settle in, simplifying as much as possible for them," Ghandi said. To do that, much of the GSC's preparation entails collecting information for the new students, which will be available at a booth in Lobby 10 until Friday, he said.

A Saturday Red Sox game and a cruise of Boston Harbor are among the main events of graduate R/O, Ghandi said. Activities repeated from last year include a graduate orientation picnic, a hiking trip to the White Mountains, and a GSC open house.

The picnic, which will be held Thursday in Killian Court, will feature speeches from Souter and outgoing Dean of the Graduate School Frank E. Perkins '55, he said.

This year the GSC has also organized a small one-day cruise on the Charles River, Ghandi said. It starts from the Galleria mall, which gives students a chance to "go there and check it out," Ghandi said. The cruise will then pass by MIT, he said.

Also featured will be a series of safety, health, and harassment seminars and a workshop on communication between men and women, Souter said.

The workshop, called "Can We Talk?," will be held the second week of September. It will be a "role-playing workshop run by a couple of professional counselors," Ghandi said. The role playing will deal with various potential pressure situations, such as between students and their advisers or with other students.