Prefrosh to Receive Glimpse of CampusBy Carina Fung
Campus Preview Weekend officially began yesterday when over 360 women and minority students arrived on campus. The weekend will give visitors a taste of the Institute before they accept or decline membership in the Class of 2001.
"There are prefrosh coming from as far south as Puerto Rico and as far west as Hawaii and Alaska, and others who are coming from as close as Cambridge and Newton," said Assistant Director of Admissions Yvonne M. Romero at a meeting with all of this year's hosts on Tuesday night. The youngest prefrosh this year will be only 14 years old.
There are fewer prefrosh attending this year, down from 420 last year. Of this year's group, about 275 are women. Roughly 90 of the minority students are men, Romero said.
"We target women and minority prefrosh because these groups usually produce the lowest acceptance yield," she said.
"There were about 320 students who volunteered to host this year, slightly more than last year. We were unfortunately unable to accommodate all requests," Romero said.
Prefrosh will be staying with MIT student hosts who reside in dormitories, as well as some fraternities, sororities, and independent living groups, she said.
Prefrosh seek insight into MIT
Prospective students yesterday said that they were interested in seeing both the academic and social aspects of life at the Institute.
Some students wanted to dispel or prove various rumors that they had heard about campus life. "I've heard vicious rumors that people brag about how many days they haven't seen the sunlight," said Katie M. Jeffreys, from Buffalo Grove, Ill. "I'm hoping to prove them wrong."
Others expressed an interest in finding out about the students here. "Some people tell me that people who go to MIThave a very narrow focus," said Pablo E. Hollstein, from McLean, Va. "Iwant to see what people do outside of science."
Most, however, seemed to just get a feel for the campus. "You can't really get a feel for the place if you haven't been there,"said Christy L. Starner, from Atlanta.
Variety of events scheduled
Visiting students will be invited to several social and academic events and tours this weekend to show off the MIT community.
To start off the weekend, prefrosh were encouraged to attend a jazz social and dinner in Walker Memorial on Thursday evening, so they could mingle with future classmates and enjoy the music of the MIT Jazz Collective.
Tonight, prefrosh can attend another dinner in Walker with guest speaker James McLukin '95 who is currently researching robotics.
There will also be a special guest lecture this afternoon presented by Professor of Physics Walter H.G. Lewin in 26-100. Lewin is well-known among current students for his weekly physics television program which can be viewed on the MIT Cable 24 hours a day.
In addition to the traditional student-organized discussion session on the minority experience at MIT, there will also be a women's discussion and luncheon cosponsored by the Women's Conference and the Society of Women Engineers.
At this meeting, members of MIT's sororities, other independent living groups, SWE, and the Program in Women's Studies will describe services provided for female students and opportunities for involvement in organizations.
Departments and laboratories are also offering tours and open houses throughout the weekend.
Visiting parents are also invited to participate in scheduled activities, ranging from informal campus tours to a parent's panel at which representatives from student services will address parents' concerns.
Campus Preview Weekend will conclude tomorrow at 2 p.m. with a check-out lunch for prefrosh, parents, and hosts.
Prefrosh to stay in FSILGs
In previous years, prefrosh attending Campus Preview Weekend had not been allowed to stay in independent living groups. Last year, a policy change was implemented that allowed some prefrosh stayed in certain FSILGs.
Romero said that a similar policy was adhered to for this year's preview weekend, as most on-campus fraternities, in addition to others which are located around Kenmore Square or within a shorter distance from campus will be hosting prefrosh.
"We try not to put prefrosh at a great distance from campus, in order to allow easy access to personal items that may be in their host's room," Romero said.
Prior to arriving on campus, prefrosh were asked if they would rather stay in an FSILG or a dormitory for the weekend. "Only about 20 percent of the prefrosh expressed interest in living in an FSILG or had no preference, while about 80 percent wanted to live in a dormitory," Romero said.
Prefrosh express interest in dorms
There was actually an excess of hosts living in FSILGs who volunteered to host, Romero said. "There were just not enough prefrosh to go around," she said. About six to seven fraternities which requested prefrosh were not allotted any.
Sigma Alpha Epsilon members expressed disapproval at Tuesday night's meeting, claiming that they had requested many more prefrosh and had been assigned very few. However, SAEhad already received more prefrosh than any other fraternity, Romero said.
Some male prefrosh who had expressed a strong preference in staying in dormitories were placed in on-campus fraternities because there were far fewer dormitory hosts than FSILG hosts.
"Some prefrosh who stated that staying with a minority host was extremely important were placed with minority fraternity hosts," Romero said. Also, prefrosh who have been assigned to off-campus fraternities for the weekend were placed in groups of three to four, to avoid isolation, she said.
Douglas E. Heimburger contributed to the reporting of this story.