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1999 Orientation to Feature Significant Changes

By Naveen Sunkavally
NEWS EDITOR

While generally following the format of previous years, the 1999 freshman orientation will feature a few new activities and changes designed to broaden student involvement in the community.

One significant change is the re-scheduling of the Welcome Dinner, a student-faculty mixer. Instead of being held the day students arrive, the Welcome Dinner will occur on the day of Convocation, which is Thursday, Aug. 26.

Director of Orientation Elizabeth Cogliano Young said that the event was moved in order to give students time to settle down and to formulate questions for faculty members. In place of the Welcome Dinner on Wednesday night, students will get the opportunity to socialize at a barbeque and an outdoor movie.

Thursday afternoon, students will participate in a new addition called “MIT Real World”, a series of activities held from 1-5 p.m.

The activities will include pick-up games and other physical activities intended to suggest that “athletics are just not for varsity players,” said Dakus S. Gunn ’01, personnel coordinator for orientation. Also included will be a presentation by the MIT chaplains called “Cheesecake, Chowda, and Chinatown” designed to give students greater exposure to the Boston and Cambridge area, Gunn said.

Frosh to have off-campus dinners

Freshmen this year will participate in off-campus dinners Friday night in the groups led by their orientation leaders. These dinners will serve as “no substitute for the Thursday night dinners” held in previous years, Gunn said. In previous years living groups had hosted freshmen for the dinners. The Interfraternity Council will closely monitor these dinners to make sure no violations of rush rules occur, he said.

Last year’s orientation “surprise” event, a cultural sensitivity and training forum called BaFa BaFa, is not happening this year, according to Cogliano. In addition, Gunn said, several of the more unpopular tours have been removed this year, and a new shopping tour has been added.

The orientation group is also developing plans to hold an unprecedented Wellesley-MIT freshman student mixer on Saturday,. Sept. 4, said Damien A. Bronsan ’01, logistics coordinator.

Openness a goal for Orientation

Gunn said the focus of this year’s orientation was “opening things up,” giving students less activities but more time to engage in those activities. No event this year is mandatory, and more activities this year are meant to teach freshmen how to be independent, Gunn said.

The majority of freshmen will arrive on campus before 5 p.m. on Wednesday, Aug. 25 preceded by international students and participants of summer programs such as the freshmen leadership program.