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Grad Orientation Costs Increase

By Brett Altschul

Although much attention has focused on the extensive changes to the undergraduate orientation process, new graduate students will also go through a somewhat different orientation this year.

The cost of graduate orientation roughly doubled this year, said Julie G. Lively G, one of the organizers of graduate orientation.

"There was a proposal that was put together and was endorsed by a number of people around campus," to increase spending on orientation, she said. "We solicited graduate departments for funding." The funds are still being collected, so the increased cost to the Office of Graduate Education is not yet known, she said.

Graduate orientation is still far less expensive that the undergraduate version, she said. "The bulk of [the funding increase] was for renting a tent."

About 1,000 incoming graduate students participate in an orientation program organized by the Graduate Student Council. The other 500 new graduate students in the Sloan School of Management go through a separate orientation process.

Unlike undergraduate orientation, the graduate program has no housing component. The centerpiece will be held on Thursday in Kresge Oval, Lively said. This new event was "funded in part by departments," she said. "Without their support, it couldn't happen."

Activities and athletics show off

The major event on Thursday begins with an activities carnival and information fair, a new event this year. It will last most of the afternoon, until 5 p.m.

The carnival is aimed at "showcasing graduate clubs," Lively said. It will have a "different tilt" than Tuesday's Activities Midway - "not just picking up flyers, but getting to hang out," she said.

Several groups at MIT will be having graduate student socials at the same time around campus, Lively said. The graduate Hillel, MIT Pro-life, and Sangam are among those groups participating.

Simultaneously, the Institute will be informally showcasing its extensive athletic facilities for the new graduate students. There will be "pick-up games on Briggs field - rugby, soccer, field hockey, cricket, ultimate frisbee, and volleyball," she said.

In the Alumni Pool, there will be swimming, kayaking, water polo, and scuba-diving opportunities for new graduate students. There will also be crew demonstrations and Tae Kwon Do lessons.

New barbecue follows carnival

"The one event that was added this year was in order to make graduate orientation more fun and interesting, Lively said.

"This is followed by a barbecue dinner on Kresge Oval instead of lunch picnic on Killian Court," Lively said. The barbecue will require tickets, but they will be freely available to new graduate students, while returning graduate students will need to purchase a ticket if they want to eat.

The tickets are being given out and sold at the GSC's booth in Lobby 10, which also serves as the main information center during orientation, she said.

After dinner, the graduate students will hear welcoming addresses from several members of the MIT community, Lively said. Chancellor Lawrence S. Bacow '72, vice-president of research and Dean of Graduate Education J. David Litster PhD '65, and GSC President Brian J. Schneider G will all speak to the new graduate students.

The finale of the day's events will be a performance by Bim Skala Bim, a Boston-based ska band, Lively said.

"In addition to this large event, several other annual events will be taking place," Lively said.

These events include drinks at the Muddy Charles Pub, a trolley tour of the Boston area, and an all-graduate student social on Friday. Over the weekend, there will be a day-long hiking trip on Saturday and an evening cruise on Boston Harbor on Sunday.