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HowToGAMIT Guide Revived for Next Year

By Venkatesh Satish
Associate News Editor

After a one-year hiatus, How To Get Around MIT will once again be available at no cost to incoming freshmen.

Funding and staff support troubles last year placed the guide's future in jeopardy. A successful recruiting effort by the Technology Community Association revived the guide this year, according to TCA president Kevin Amonlirdviman '97.

The 27th editition of HowToGAMIT continues to serve as a reference to life at the Institute, which includes restaurant reviews, academic policies, and interesting Institute traditions.

"I think HowToGAMIT is a good guide to life at MIT in general it's a handy resource," Amonlirdviman said.

"I want to convey that... [the guide] is not something that went away" and is being brought back now, Amonlirdviman said. But instead "there was a sort of one-year delay in its publication."

New members help publish guide

The TCA was not able to publish HowToGAMIT last summer for the Class of 1999 because of a lack of members. This was resolved by an effort made last month to attract new members through posters in the Infinite Corridor and an e-mail campaign, said former TCA president Ameet Singh '96.

"The primary concerns were that we didn't have people to edit the book, and finances were short," Singh said.

Approximately 12 people joined the TCA, and each will be responsible for editing a chapter of the guide, Amonlirdviman said.

Currently, members of the TCA are updating the information in the guide, verifying such things as phone numbers, locations, and student group presidents, he said.

The TCA will bring HowToGAMIT to press by the end of spring semester, so that it will be ready for distribution in the fall, Amonlirdviman said.

At the same time, the TCA will solicit local businesses for advertisement revenue to be able to provide the guide free to incoming freshmen, Singh said.

"Perhaps a few years down the road, when the [World-Wide] Web becomes more accessible," the guide may go online, said Singh said.

However, it will not be placed on the World-Wide Web for now because the guide "is more useful in a book format that can be accessed more easily," Singh said.

While the revival of HowToGAMIT has recently received some attention from some Undergraduate Associate election candidates, "the UA never approached us and talked to us about what was going on with HowToGAMIT," Singh said.

"I don't really understand what [the UA candidates] want to do with it," Amonlirdviman said. "Unless they are willing to help us out by lending people to help with the guide, I don't see how they are going to change anything."

Class of '99 will not get free copies

While incoming freshmen will receive free copies of HowToGAMIT, the TCA will not be able to raise the funds necessary to provide free guides to members of the Class of 1999, who did not receive guides this year, Amonlirdviman said.

Since there are usually about 2,000 copies of the guide printed, providing the guide free to two classes would drastically reduce the number of purchased copies, Amonlirdviman said. Then TCA would have to include more advertisements in the guide.

"If every other page had an ad, it would be very annoying to use HowToGAMIT," he said.

Still, if the UA or another organization were to contribute the necessary funds, "we will distribute the guide to [the Class of 1999] for free," Amonlirdviman said.

Future participation in editing HowToGAMIT should be strong, Amonlirdviman said. "I think that if the book is successful, that will build momentum into the next year."