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Graduate Orientation Activities Greet 1,200

Helen M. Lin
Entering graduate students in MIT's Sloan School of Management display some engineering spirit in an egg toss competition yesterday afternoon in McDermott Court.

By Jennifer Lane
Contributing Editor

Graduate student residence and orientation kicks off today with events aimed at easing the transition for the 1,200 new graduate students entering MIT.

Among the events scheduled over the next few days are a hiking trip on Saturday, a cruise on the Boston Harbor on Sunday, and a cruise on the Charles River on Monday.

Thursday at noon is the GSC's annual picnic at Killian Court, where President Charles M. Vest, GSC President Constantine A. Morfopoulos G, and several deans will address graduate students.

"That is our premier event," said Paul Westbrook G, the co-chair of the GSC orientation committee. Students, who sit in areas grouped by their academic departments, get to "meet the people in their department and get free lunch," he said.

The GSC is also running an information booth in Lobby 10 where they will be providing "lots of information about MIT," from details about the new discount T pass program to the GSC Grocery Shuttle.

Workers will be handing out "MIT Express," a quick information guide that includes phone numbers and other information about academic departments and student activities, Westbrook said.

New graduate students will also be able to obtain a "student advantage card" in Lobby 10. With this card, graduate students can receive discounts from "all sorts of national and local retailers," said Geoffrey J. Coram G, co-chair of the GSC housing and community affairs committee.

Orientation introduces GSC

A secondary purpose of graduate student orientation is to introduce new students to the Graduate Student Council, said Constantine A. Morfopoulos G, president of the GSC.

To that end, there will be a GSC open house on Thursday, where incoming graduate students can meet members and officers of the GSC and learn about the GSC's mission to improve graduate student life, Morfopoulos said.

An event called GL 001, "Introduction to Grad Life" is designed to impart essential information about the graduate experience to new graduate students, Morfopoulos said.

The GSC will hold "Night on the Town" events for the next several weeks to introduce graduate students to Boston nightlife, he said.

Orientation events kept simple

"We try to keep [events] as simple as possible," Westbrook said. That way, tickets to events remain affordable at $5.

Morfopoulos expects tickets for popular events such as Sunday's Boston Harbor cruise and Friday's Red Sox game to sell out quickly.

While most graduate student orientation events are sponsored by the GSC, there are several events sponsored by the International Students Association, and several by the administration.

These events include international student coffee hours, student health and harassment presentations, and a reception for female graduate students.

New graduate students have also been invited to tonight's Activities Midway in Johnson Athletics Center and Wednesday's Athletics Midway, staples of the undergraduate R/O program.

In general, however, orientation for graduate students is not nearly so detailed as it is for undergraduates.

Many graduate students are continuing MITstudents who do not need an introduction to MIT life. Such students are often "totally blase," Westbrook said. "They don't need as much socialization."