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HowToGamit Guide Returns from Grave

By Stacey E. Blau
Editor in Chief

How To Get Around MIT, the guide to life, culture, and lore at MIT, has returned following a two-year period during which it seemed at some points like the guide would never be published again.

The guide will again be free of charge to the Class of 2000 and will soon be available free to the Class of 1999, who did not receive copies of the guide when it was not published last year, said Kevin Amonlirdviman '97, president of the Technology Community Association, which handles the publication of the guide.

Amonlirdviman decided last year that he was interested in reviving the guide and took control of the TCA from former president Ameet Singh '96.

"The TCA as an organization wasn't really functioning very well," Amonlirdviman said. "Ameet decided to hand over the entire organization to me."

Lack of staff hurt guide most

There were basically no members in the TCA when Amonlirdviman took over. "I decided to get a couple of my friends" to work on HowToGAMIT, he said. The small core of members worked all spring semester last year to put out the guide.

Although current Undergraduate Association President Richard Y. Lee '97 pledged in his election platform last spring to resurrect HowtoGAMIT, "it wasn't his talking that brought it back," Amonlirdviman said. The plans and work to bring the guide back were already underway by that time, he said.

The erstwhile lack of staff working on HowtoGAMIT was initially the biggest obstacle to publishing the guide. A lack of money was also a problem, "but the people factor was much more important," Amonlirdviman said. In the end, "it was the dedication of a couple of people" that made the guide possible.

Some information is outdated

Some, while happy to see HowtoGAMIT back in print, have complained that much of the information in the guide is outdated.

For example, the guide lists the dean for undergraduate education and student affairs as Arthur C. Smith. However, Smith retired last fall, and Rosalind H. Williams is currently the dean for undergraduate education, while Margaret R. Bates serves as dean for student life.

Amonlirdviman said that he had recognized that the guide would not be up to date. He said that the group's main goal was to get the organization in order and publish so that people would see HowToGAMIT and want to join. "We hope that this is what draws people," he said.

"A good project for TCA next year would be to update the guide so that the freshmen can have the most updated information," said UA Treasurer Russell S. Light '98.

Light said that the UA Council donated $3,500 to help HowToGAMIT publish on the condition that the group make the guide available free to freshmen and sophomores.