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Orientation Begins for Grad Students

By Naveen Sunkavally

As undergraduate orientation draws to a close this week and freshmen are settling into their new living groups, about 1500 graduate students are just beginning their introduction to the Institute.

Unlike undergraduate orientation, graduate orientation is more department-oriented; a large portion of the activities occur within a student’s department. However, the Graduate Student Council “has spent about $35,000,” organizing and sponsoring several high-profile activities designed to give graduate students the chance to meet students outside their department, said GSC President Luis A. Ortiz G.

These events include a welcome speech today at 12:30 p.m. by Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science Amar G. Bose; a camera safari from 2:30-6:00 p.m. today; a Boston trolley tour Friday; a hiking trip Saturday; a Boston harbor cruise Sunday; and a Boston Red Sox game on Saturday, Sept. 18. Yesterday, students had the opportunity to purchase tickets for a whale watch as well.

Tickets for the hiking trip, set in New Hampshire’s White Mountains, “sold out the first day,” said Atul Dalmia, co-chair of the GSC orientation committee.

The welcome speech and the camera safari are new additions to this year’s orientation. As a “student, faculty member, and entrepreneur,” Bose can give new graduate students a unique perspective, Ortiz said.

“We expect 1,200 students” to come to the welcome speech and lunch shortly afterwards, said Dalmia.

In the camera safari students will go sightseeing in Boston and Cambridge, and they can win prizes for taking the most outrageous prizes.

For the first time, “students will also be receiving free T-shirts,” sponsored by the GSC and the MIT Coop, said Yogish V. Joshi, also co-chair for the orientation committee.

Sloan runs own orientation

Graduate students in the Sloan School of Management have another separate orientation planned at the same time as the general orientation, said Ortiz. As a result, students in Sloan won’t be able to participate in general orientation activities to the extent that other graduate students might. Ortiz said that he expects about half of Sloan’s students, who in previous years have attended the food events well, to attend the general orientation activities.

Of the 1,500 new graduate students, about “600 are international students,” said Dalmia. For comparison, international students comprise eight percent of the new undergraduate freshman class.