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Despite Rain, Frosh Take Jaunt In the City

Indranath Neogy -- The Tech
Bedraggled upperclassmen lie in wait for freshmen in Kresge Oval yesterday. The drenched crowd then headed out for Thursday Night in the City.

By Dan McGuire
Executive Editor

Heavy rain yesterday evening drenched the first annual Thursday Night in the City program in Kresge Oval, causing headaches and logistical problems with what was already a new program.

Thursday Night in the City replaces the old Thursday Night Dinners and boadening its scope somewhat. Freshman are now fed a meal of hot dogs or hamburgers and a salad before being trurned loose with student and living groups into the city. Last year there was no meal and groups met with freshmen immediately after MOYA.

The objective is to keep freshmen "full enough not to have to go out again" but also to give them the chance to eat again if they wished, said R/O Intern Wesley T. Chan '00. "We're telling people it's a meal for people who don't want to go out" later, he said.

Downpour forces innovation

After feasting at an improvised indoor barbecue in the Johnson Ice Rink at 6:00, and watching a twenty minute video montage covering their time at MIT, incoming students entered the sodden green at 7:25 to either find a group to go out with or to head back to their temporary rooms.

Most groups were determined not to let the weather prevent them from enticing freshmen to follow them. The rain "is not going to reduce the number of Interfraternity Council groups that will show up," said Neal H. Dorow, advisor to fraternities, sororities, and independent living groups. "The freshmen will not be disappointed by the turnout of upperclassmen," "Rain or shine, we're going to be out there," said David J. Day, the Interfraternity Council's Judcom chair.

However, dealing with the rain "required a lot more planning on our part," said Sye K. Chanthaboun with Phi Kappa Theta. "We had to rent more cars [to drive students to the restaurant]. Usually people just walk across the bridge," he added.

In addition preparations made before today found themselves being hastily revised. "A lot of the posters are going to get swamped," said Pauan K. Gupta '00 with Baker House. The rain "makes it more difficult to get where you want to go." As the rain began to fall, Baker residents found themselves "getting umbrellas, raingear, and looking for restaurants nearby," he said.

"Everybody is having the same problem" dealing with the rain, said Seungyong A. Lee '98 with Hansori.

Thursday event feeds students

Thursday Night in the City was conceived of last year to feed freshmen who didn't want to go out on Thursday night. "The issue is that lots of times freshmen don't go out" either "because they're physically unable" after a day of moving in or because they don't wish to for personal reasons, said Elizabeth I. Cogliano, the director of R/O.

In addition, the barbecue offered freshmen the chance to "sit around in groups and talk," she said. "The only time they come together as freshmen without worrying about being part of a group is Thursday," she said. "On Friday they have exams and Saturday they have Killian" kick-off, she added.

The Thursday Night in the City program also broadened the scope of activities that freshmen could participate in, said Cogliano. Thursday Night Dinners Program "was never restricted to just dinners," said Neal H. Dorow,. But because the freshman had not had anything to eat "the immediate impulse was to go out to dinner," he said.

"The R/O committee changed the semantics of this. There are a number of ideas kicked around. For all intents and purposes nothing is changing: they're going somewhere and talking about MIT, residential options, and answering freshmens' questions," he said

"Last year we did this in Johnson. Having us back here is the same thing," said Songjoon Park '97 with Hansori.

Thursday Night in the City "is about the same thing" as Thursday Night Dinners, said Chanthaboun.

Few rules govern event

The R/O committee imposed few rules the on Thursday Night in the City. Most of the rules governed when groups could come to Kresge Oval. Groups "cannot be on the Student Center steps, the Barbecue pits, anywhere around Kresge, in the Student Center, or in Amherst Alley" until 7:20, said Cogliano. "Because [new students are] coming from DuPont, Johnson [to Kresge] it's important that those areas be clear," she said.

The R/O committee did not impose any restrictions on which groups could take freshmen out on the town. "You can just show up and and take somebody, say, bowling," said Chan.

The IFC did impose some rules on its members, however. "The IFC limits male and coed groups to three groups of five people," said Dorow. "Women's groups are limited to six groups of five," he said.

The idea was "to ensure that the upperclassmen meeting the freshmen class reflected the gender demographics of MIT," he said.