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Dinners, Messaging Differ for R/O 2001

By Brett Altschul
ASSOCIATE NEWS EDITOR

This year's Residence and Orientation Week will see significant changes as long-standing events such as Thursday Night Dinners and Killian Kick-Off are re-designed as well as additions like Stand Up, a pilot program which discusses diversity issues. In addition, this R/O will see big changes to the freshman messaging system, and new rules for sorority rush.

Dinners change name, add scope

Thursday Night Dinners has been revamped and renamed, said Wesley T. Chan '00, R/O logistics manager. The new name, Thursday Night in the City, reflects the move away from just going to dinner, he said.

"We want people to be able to go out to Jillian's [a local 18+ Boston nightclub] and have a good time," Chan said. However, the freshmen should still be back by 10 p.m., he said.

This year, upperclassmen are not required to register with the R/O committee if they want to take groups of freshmen out, Chan said. However, the Interfraternity Council will still place restrictions on the actions of its member organizations with regard to the event.

Tech Trek out, barbeque in

There will be a very light barbeque after project Move Off Your Assumptions, for people who may not want to participate in Thursday Night in the City, Chan said.

"It will be just a burger, a hot dog, and a salad, with no dessert," Chan said. That way, people should still have room for something later, he said.

In addition, MOYAitself has changed with the removal of Tech Trek, an Institute-wide scavenger hunt that took place immediately after MOYA, and the addition of new problem solving games to challenge the creativity and skills of the incoming freshman, said Reshma Patil '00, R/O publicity and personnel manager.

Kick-Off to promote interaction

Killian Kick-Off is also seeing some changes this year. Unlike the last two years there will be no keynote speech by a student, Chan said. The Kick-Off is supposed to be more of a fun event this year where people can enjoy themselves and eat ice cream, he said.

"We want them to mingle," Chan said. "We want them to enjoy themselves for the first 25 minutes," he said.

There will also be upperclassmen present for them to talk to, Chan said. However, there will be no organized student groups there except for the solar car team, he said.

The final portion of the event will remain unchanged from last year. "The last 15 minutes is the same," Chan said. Speakers from the three living group options, dormitories, fraternities, and independent living groups, will present those options to the students.

Messaging system revamped

The new freshman messaging system will also improve R/O, said Kyle A. Jamieson '00, a member of the R/O committee in charge of the system.

This computerized system will replace the old system for sending messages to freshmen. Last year fraternities, sororities, and independent living groups would send notes to the R/O Center which would relay them to the dormitories in which freshmen were housed. The change was made to ease the load on desk workers who used to be responsible for transcribing the messages, said Jamieson.

The system has special features for processing information sent by FSILGs. We don't want the system abused, but we do want to help them with rush, Chan said.

Messages sent by FSILGs will be expunged from the system after a set period of time. FSILGs are also limited in the number of messages they can send to freshmen, Jamieson said. This was added to prevent groups from sending out many messages, or spamming, he said.

One new event this year, Stand Up, is a test of a possible replacement for MOYA, Chan said. This year will test its feasibility.

The event is designed to explore the similarities and differences in the freshmen class. A group of students approached the R/O committee with this idea, Chan said. They felt that MOYA wasn't really fulfilling its mission, and they wanted to try something different.

Sorority rush undergoes changes

Sorority rush will also see major changes this year, said Joanna F. Au '98, vice president of rush for the Panhellenic Association.

This year, sorority members will be allowed to answer direct questions from freshmen. Previously, they were not allowed to speak to freshmen outside their sorority's designated rush room.

"If they ask what sorority you're from, you can tell them," Au said. However, if they ask too many questions, we're supposed to direct them to explore the sorority rush process, Au said. "We're not allowed to rush them outside the rush rooms."

The new rules are a pilot project, Au said. It will require a three-fourths vote of Panhellenic Association to add it to the rules permanently next year, she said.

This year all organizations in the womens' conference, which includes all groups that rush women, will be allowed to wear identifying markings, such as sorority letters, before Killian Kick-Off and outside sorority rush rooms, Au said.

"There is an exception," Au said. Sorority members working at official R/O events before Killian Kick-off can't wear their letters, she said.