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As R/O Ends, Orientation For Frosh Parents Begins

By Frank Dabek

After acclimating freshmen to life at MIT, Residence and Orientation Week will wind down with a set of activities during the last few days of this week focused on new MIT parents.

The events for parents are a "series of open houses," said Dean for Student Life Margaret R. Bates. Activities will begin this afternoon with a welcome ceremony at the Student Center.

The weekend is "a chance for parents to ask questions and get answers and a sense of where their sons and daughters are going," Bates said.

In the past, up to 400 parents have attended the weekend, said Esther Y. Lee '98, a member of the Committee on Parents' Weekend. Lee said that she is "prepped for 400, but more would be wonderful."

Lee called the weekend a kind of "mini parents R/O" and said that the 16 events scheduled for this year will be the most ever done. Parents will be able to attend a open house on religion, a tour of food services at MIT, a freshman-parent dinner for underrepresented minorities, an athletic open house, and a presentation on the history and tradition of MIT by the MIT museum.

Saturday morning will begin for parents with a continental breakfast at Walker Memorial followed by a meeting with President Charles M. Vest.

Martha R. Jennings, manager of president's house, expected between 1000 and 1200 guests, both parents and freshmen. The breakfast, which includes a receiving line, is "a chance [for administrators] to introduce themselves" to parents, Jennings said.

The Chorallaries will also regale parents as they wait to meet Vest.

Presentations to inform parents

Saturday continues with an panel discussion called "Cutting the Apron Strings." Lee said that the event, which will be as informal as possible, is designed "to assure parents that their freshmen will be taken care of academically, socially, and in all aspects of campus life."

The program will also "let them know about the facilities at MIT," Lee said. MIT is not an easy place, but parents "should pretty much leave [their] students alone. Students will do well here and if not, we have the resources in terms of tutoring, counseling, and support offices to help them," she said.

This panel will be made up of Associate Dean for Residence and Campus Activities Andrew M. Eisenmann '75, Bexley Hall Housemaster Carol Orme-Johnson, Associate Dean of Counseling and Support Services Arnold R. Henderson Jr., and three students.

"Greek 101," apresentation by Adviser to Fraternities, Sororities and Independent Living Groups Neal H. Dorow, assistant dean for RCA, will answer parents' questions concerning Greek life.

For parents of students residing in dormitories the "Mi Casa Es Su Casa" event will provide an opportunity to meet housemasters and tour dormitories.

A new event this year is the Boston brunch and cruise on Sunday for which over 30 parents have already registered.

Family weekend in October

This weekend's events for parents is a precursor to a broader Family Weekend in October. Bates said that the programs do not totally overlap.

Theresa J. Lee, program manager for alumni/alumnae activities, said that this weekend is intended for "freshmen's parents while family weekend is for all parents."

In addition, she said that since Family Weekend occurs when MIT is in session, parents have the chance to see a different aspect of the school than they will this weekend. Any similarities are "not anything that would prevent parents from coming again."