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Orientation ’99 Will Focus on Class Pride

By Frank Dabek

Although encouraging prospective freshmen to come to MIT is the focus of this weekend, the Orientation plans for those who choose to matriculate are already well underway. The recently-appointed Orientation coordinators have begun to develop the tentative schedule for Orientation ’99.

Orientation will be “a lot more like last year than in year’s past,” said Elsie Huang ’00, one of this year’s coordinators. Elizabeth Cogliano-Young, student programs coordinator, said that there are “not a lot of changes” in the schedule this year.

Some changes have been made, however. The athletics tour will be replaced with an alternate event according to Huang. BaFa BaFa will not return to Orientation, said Julie Gesch ’00, another orientation coordinator.

In one of the few major changes to the Orientation schedule, the Institute Welcome Dinner moved from Wednesday to Thursday. Gesch said that this change will “give freshmen a chance to relax” after they first arrive on Wednesday.

Focus of Orientation changes

In addition to scheduling changes, the focus of Orientation has been altered in several ways. Huang said that next year’s Orientation will feature a “bigger focus on Orientation groups.” More time will be spent in the small groups and freshmen will eat dinner off-campus with their groups on Friday night.

According to Dakus S. Gunn ’01, Orientation will have an increased focus on class pride. Gunn says that class colors will play a role in encouraging class unity. The 2003 colors, black and crimson, will be featured on advertising, T-shirts, and banners. Gunn also said that he wants to “bring the level of maturity up” in Orientation by encouraging students to explore Boston and through a possible event with Wellesley or other local colleges. Gunn characterized previous Orientations and R/Os as “child’s play” and said that this year Orientation will “treat [freshmen] as adults.”

Parent’s Orientation will also be expanded next year. Gunn said that a possible cruise on the Spirit of Boston is being investigated.

Committee to aid organizers

The four coordinators will soon appoint a committee of 20 to 25 students who will aid them in the organization of Orientation. Applications for this committee are due on Apr. 16.

The actual planning of Orientation is divided between these students and the administrative officials, notably Cogliano-Young and Kip V. Hodges, dean for undergraduate curriculum, Huang said.

She said that much of the schedule was designed by administrators but that the ultimate responsibility for organizing Orientation lies with the students. Unfilled time slots in the schedule give the organizers additional freedom, she said.

Students “do have a lot of say” in the process especially “during the box of time that we own,” Gesch said.

All of this year’s Orientation Coordinators are affiliated with the IFC. However, all said that Orientation and residence selection are completely unrelated.