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R/O Week Begins For Class of 2000

Indranath Neogy--The Tech
Nicholas Estrada '00 checks in at the R/O Center on the second floor of the Student Center yesterday.

By Jean K. Lee
Staff Reporter

The Class of 2000 arrives on campus today, and nine days of Residence and Orientation Week activities will introduce the freshmen to MIT, living groups, activities, and to each other.

The freshmen will first check in at the R/O Center to receive their information packets and temporary room assignments. For the President's Welcome Convocation, President Charles M. Vest as well as last year's winner of the Nobel Prize in chemistry, Professor of Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences Mario Molina will welcome the freshman class to the MIT community. Freshmen will have the chance to mingle with fellow classmates by participating in Project MOYA and Tech Trek.

Plans for the rest of the evening include Thursday Night Dinners and a live band that will perform at the Student Center steps as part of MIT Unplugged.On Friday, Killian Kick-Off and the official start of rush will be the main events. The Women's Rush Convocation and Panhellenic sorority rush will be held as well.

Temporary housing short this year

This year, freshmen have been randomly assigned to their temporary dormitories by their MITidentification numbers, whereas last year they were assigned by their last names.

Senior House will not be available for temporary housing because it is awaiting occupancy approval from Cambridge following a summer of renovations that are currently being finished up.

"We have barely enough space for early returns and incoming freshmen right now," said Staff Associate for Residence and Campus Activities Phillip M. Bernard. "There is a possibility of crowding freshmen in their temporary rooms, but we want to be flexible and keep some room open for emergencies."

According to Bernard, over 90 percent of freshmen got one of their top three choices through the housing lottery last year, RCA "hopes for even better results" this year.

Number of minorities increase

The total number of freshmen this year is 1,081, which is 49 fewer than last year. According to Director of Admissions Michael C. Behnke, this year was the most competitive for freshmen admissions.

"It was hardest to deal with our major competitors who changed their early action to solely early decision admissions since we cannot predict how many will actually enroll," he said.

MIT received 8,022 applications for admission, the highest ever, but only 24 percent - the lowest ever - of those applications were admitted.

The percentage of women in the freshman class has remained the same from last year at 42 percent. "The number of women, over 40 percent, in the entering class is clearly a trend that has solidified over the past years," Behnke said.

"This is a significant positive change, and we hope that it will keep going up and up." However, Behnke said that the strong percentage of women was not due to the increase of interest in science and engineering on part of women, but instead a result of MIT's recruiting efforts to attract more women.

The percentage of underrepresented minorities in the class significantly increased this year, from 14 percent to 18 percent, while the percentage of Asians remained the same 24 percent.

Behnke also said that he was very happy with the results of the freshmen class enrollment. "It's nearly ideal to our goal," he said.