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Orientation Introduces Parents to MIT Culture

By Zareena Hussain
Associate News Editor

As Residence and Orientation Week comes to a close for freshmen, the orientation for their parents will begin today and last through the weekend.

The Parents' Orientation is intended both to introduce parents to the Institute and to address any concerns they might have as their children begin college.

Parents will start their orientation on the Stratton Balcony, located on the third floor of the Student Center, where they will be greeted by members of the R/O Committee.

Today, a series of open houses, offered by the Athletics Department, the Medical Center, the Campus Police, the Student Services Center, and the Office of Minority Education, will inform and educate parents.

Parents learn about MIThistory

In addition, the MITMuseum will do a presentation entitled "History and Traditions of MIT" at 7 p.m. in 10-250.

The presentation highlights the symbolism of MIT's charter as well as the illustrious history of hacks at MIT, said Warren Seamans, former director of the MIT Museum, who will be giving the presentation.

"Any parent that sits through this will know more about the Institute than most students who go through MITfor four years and graduate," Seamans said.

Vests' reception promises crowds

Tomorrow morning, parents will be greeted by President Charles M. Vest and his wife Rebecca M. Vest at the their house. Parents will simultaneously be able to meet with MITadministrators at a continental breakfast in Walker Memorial.

In past years, about a 1,000 people have attended the president's reception, said Martha R. Jennings, manager of president's house.

Getting to see the Vests, however, may require a long wait in line. As a result of this situation, parents are encouraged to go to Walker first for breakfast if they find the line to president's house too long, Jennings said.

The president's reception has gone much more smoothly in recent years as a result of moving the breakfast to Walker, Jennings said.

"We used to have both at the president's house, which became a very crowded situation,"Jennings said.

Three student a capella groups: the Muses, the Logarhythms, and the Chorallaries, will also be on hand at the reception to entertain those waiting on line, Jennings said.

Panels to discuss Institute life

Later, in the afternoon, students and parents will be able to attend Parenting 101, a discussion with a panel of counseling deans and students.

The issues brought to light cover a very wide range, said Dean for Student Life, Margaret R. Bates, who attended last year's discussion. They ranged from activities to housing, Bates said.

The panel is designed so that parents will feel less intimidated when dealing with an institution as large and prestigious at MIT.

"It's helpful for them to know a name and a face," Bates said, "You want them to know that this is a good place."

After Parenting 101, parents of students who have decided to join a fraternity, sorority, or independent living group can attend Greek 101 to have their questions answered.

Present at the panel will be the Interfraternity Council and Panhellenic Association presidents as well as the new member educator of Phi Delta Theta which was honored for outstanding new member education last year, said Neal H. Dorow, assistant dean for Residence and Campus Activities and adviser to FSILGs. The presidents and new member educators from all the independent living group were also invited to attend, Dorow said.

Issues addressed at the discussion in past years have included cleanliness, safety, and scholarship in FSILGs, Dorow said.

The discussion is intended to make parents "feel more comfortable with their son's or daughter's decision to affiliate," Dorow said.

The program also includes smaller group discussions between IFCrepresentatives and parents.

"Parents, I think, get a lot out of it because of the students," Dorow said.

On Sunday, parents can also arrange to go on a boat cruise touring historic Boston as well as tour the campus.

Frank Dabek contributed to the reporting of this story.