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Freshmen Arrive for Revamped Orientation

By Jeffrey Greenbaum


The Class of 2006 arrived this weekend as the first class to experience the myriad of changes to the MIT residential system, and initial reaction has been largely positive.

For the first time, all freshmen are being housed on campus, thanks to the recent opening of Simmons Hall. The Residential Based Advising program has been expanded at Next House, and freshmen now have the option of permanently living in the dormitory they selected over the summer and lived in during orientation.

Several freshmen said that they have been enjoying meeting others through Freshmen Preorientation Programs and are excited about the dormitory in which they currently live.

“I’m really happy with Baker because I met a lot of [freshmen] from DOE [Discover Ocean Engineering] who are living there,” said Noel R. Davis ’06.

Freshmen make friends at FPOPs

This year, the number of Freshman Preorientation Programs (FPOPS) increased from six to nine, with the addition of Discovering Civil and Environment Engineering, Discovering Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences, and Discover Nuclear Science and Engineering, which allowed approximately half of the freshmen class to participate in FPOPS.

Freshmen said that they liked making new friends and having more time to adjust to the MIT campus. “I like that I got to meet my friends that I know now,” said Sarah E. Sheppard ’06.

Brian C. Chase ’06, who participated in the Freshman Outdoors Program, said that “although there were a few activities that were uncomfortable to do ... it was a really challenging experience, and you got to know a few other freshmen really well.”

Timothy D. Pennington ’06 said that he liked that “we got to move in before everybody else.”

Likewise, Davis said that “it was nice to have some more time to get used to the campus.”

However, Cynthia N. Whitney ’06 said that although she liked meeting other freshmen, “I came when the dorm was mostly empty so it was a little scary.”

Andrew D. Greenhut ’06, who did not participate in FPOPS, nonetheless arrived to campus on Wednesday. Greenhut said that “as soon as I got here, I’ve been meeting many new people ... and have went to about four or five of the dorms to see people I met during [Campus Preview Weekend].”

Freshmen plan to squat

Like the past two years, each incoming freshman was asked to rank his preferences for his temporary dormitory assignment during the summer. However, unlike any prior year, freshmen will remain in their temporary dormitory assignments unless they decide to enter the traditional dormitory lottery.

At this point, many freshmen are not interested in moving into another dormitory. In fact, many are hoping to remain in the same room with their temporary roommates, providing that their dormitories allow it.

Whitney received her first choice of East Campus and selected it because it is “quirky and eccentric ... plus, it’s cat friendly.” Whitney, who said she likes living on Fourth West, intends on staying in East Campus.

Joe J. Sikoscow ’06, who is living at Simmons, also said he intends to stay in Simmons and would like to stay in the same room with his current roommate.

However, Chase, who is currently living in New House, is considering entering the dormitory lottery. “I am thinking of trying to move into Burton-Conner because I like the suite style. I don’t think that I want to do the rush thing in New House,” Chase said.

More freshmen sign up for RBA

This will be the third year that all freshmen who want to live in McCormick must participate in RBA. In addition to McCormick, Next House will be requiring its freshmen to participate in RBA.

Last year, less than half of Next House’s freshmen participated in RBA.

Sheppard, who is participating in McCormick’s RBA program, said that she really likes living in McCormick.

Greenhut said that he likes Next House’s RBA program. Nonetheless, Greenhut “selected Next House because it seems like a social dorm. ... RBA is just an extra benefit.”

Pennington, however, said that he was unhappy in Next House’s RBA program. “The guys that I met [during DOE] live in Baker, and we wanted to sign up for a quad together,” Pennington said.

Pennington said that he has asked to leave the RBA program, since he did not understand that it was binding when he filled out the application.