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Spring Weekend to Feature Many Events

By Sonali Mukherjee

STAFF REPORTER

Spring at the Institute has finally arrived.

MIT’s celebration of the new season manifests itself in Spring Weekend, a variety of events eagerly anticipated by the campus community.

Spring Weekend was kicked off by Alpha Chi Omega’s Lip Sync Contest yesterday and continues today with the International Students’ Association I-Fair and the Spring Weekend Concert, featuring the Roots and Blues Traveler. Saturday’s events will begin with Kresge Kickback, and the weekend will glamorously conclude with the Odyssey Ball.

AXO Lip Sync

Yesterday, Phi Sigma Kappa won the Alpha Chi Omega Sorority’s 14th annual Lip Sync competition. Event co-chairs Janaki T. Wickrema ’02 and Judy Y. Chen ’03 said this year’s contest was a night of talent and entertainment.

“Teeny Weenies” received the funniest award, “Phi Delts ’04” were the best choreographed, and Mick Jagger (played by Matt M. Wilkerson ’04) was the most innovative.

Each competing group lip-synced to various types of songs with emphasis on choreographed or comedic performing styles.

“I’m always impressed at how creative and entertaining the MIT community can be,” said Wickrema.

Different organizations, such as several fraternities and sororities, the class councils, the MIT Varsity Swim Team, and various other student groups were scheduled to perform, in addition to a live band that will be played during intermission and judging.

Lip Sync a charity event, and all proceeds from ticket sales will go towards the McDowell Center, AXO’s national philanthropy, and the Boston Area Rape Crisis Center.

I-Fair

The International Students’ Association is sponsoring the I-Fair on Friday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. The fair, which will take place around Kresge Oval, gives MIT’s international community the chance to showcase their cultures with an array of fashion shows, exotic foods, and other surprises.

Siddharta Sen ’03, the current president of ISA, believes that I-Fair is one of the most diverse activities to be seen on campus all year. “One of the major goals of this year’s fair was to make it generally more festive than in previous years,” he said.

Participating international student organizations represent all the major continents. These groups include the African Students Association, the Chinese Students Association, the South Asian American Students’ Association, Club Argentino, and MIT-Hillel.

Spring Weekend concert

A traditional part of Spring Weekend is to invite a musical group to perform at MIT, and this year is no exception. This year’s featured bands are two Grammy award-winning bands in two different genres of music: Blues Traveler and the Roots.

According to Tara Paravar ’03, one of the members of the Spring Weekend committee, the bands were chosen based on the responses to an online poll. The results of the poll indicated that most students preferred either rock/alternative or rap and hip-hop, so the concert chairs, Sonia Garg ’02 and Clifford H. Hodges ’04, chose the bands accordingly.

Based out of New York, Blues Traveler is characterized by an alternative and blues feel. The band is led by singer and lead harmonica player John Popper, who adds most of the distinctive impromptu-style harmonica riffs.

The group became nationally famous in the early 1990s when they performed on the Late Show with David Letterman. They have also performed with musicians such as Carlos Santana, Big Head Todd, and the Monsters. In 1995, Blues Traveler won the Grammy for Best Rock Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal for their song “Run Around.”

The Roots, by contrast, started out as an underground band in Philadelphia and New York City. Famous for their hip-hop and rap, the band is often touted as one of the best live performers of their genre in the country.

The band’s first album, Organix, came out in 1993 in conjunction with a concert performance in Germany. Things Fall Apart, the band’s third album, was a commercial success and pushed the Roots into the mainstream spotlight. In 1999, the Roots won the Grammy for Best Rap Performance by a Duo or Group for “You Got Me,” a song performed with Eryka Badu.

Kresge Kickback

To take advantage of MIT’s green areas, Kresge Kickback will be held outside, between Kresge auditorium and Amherst Alley.

“This space isn’t used nearly as much as it could be, and hopefully this event will inspire future creative uses of spaces like that on MIT’s campus,” said Satwiksai Seshasai ’01, co-chair of the Spring Weekend Committee.

In addition to free sandwiches, ice cream, and drinks, a DJ from WFNX will be at the event to provide music and free giveaways. Kresge Kickback will be held from noon to 5:30 p.m.

The Odyssey Ball

The Millennium Ball held last year was such a success that it was decided to have a similar event in the future. The Odyssey Ball, which will be held Saturday from 8 p.m. to midnight, will be that event. The Ball, which will be held on Kresge Oval in a heated and floored tent, will have dancing, plentiful desserts, and cosmic decorations.

Members of the MIT faculty have also received hand-written invitations from students requesting them to attend the Ball.

“It’s a chance for people to socialize, dance, eat, and be entertained,” said Ted E. Johnson, Director of Community Services, who helped the Spring Weekend Committee organize the Ball.

However, Johnson refused to say too much about some of the special events of the evening, saying that his purpose was to give the Ball a mysterious air that would tantalize people into coming to see what surprises the event had in store for them.

As much as the Millennium Ball was a sweet reminiscence of the past, the Odyssey Ball is a glance towards the future. Johnson also said that the daisy on the posters advertising this weekend’s events not only symbolizes the coming of spring, but also alludes to Arthur C. Clarke’s 2001: A Space Odyssey.

“It’s been a ‘star aligned’ year,” said Johnson. “The obvious theme for the year is ‘odyssey.’” All members of the MIT community are encouraged to attend, and apparel is not only limited to black tie - any festive or cosmic attire is welcome at the event.