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Orientation Activities Impact Dormitory Rush

By Jeffrey Greenbaum


MIT’s packed schedule of Orientation events has had a mixed impact on dormitory rush, with some dormitories rebelling against what they view as a restrictive official schedule and others simply seeing low turnout.

In a statement released by the Dormitory Council in Sunday’s issue of The Tech, Dormcon said that they will not prohibit dormitories from scheduling a rush event at any time.

East Campus and Senior House are conducting dormitory rush events during scheduled Orientation events and distributing pro-dormitory rush propaganda during Orientation events, such as during Sunday’s PlayFair.

In an e-mail written by Daniel E. McAnulty ’04 to several public East Campus and Senior House mailing lists, McAnulty said he and others “participated in handing out [the propaganda] in front of Johnston [during the PlayFair]. Some of the freshmen thought that we were stupid ... other frosh, embarrassed, explained that they had been dragged along by their friends and that they expected to leave after seeing what it was.”

McAnulty said that he eventually went inside the PlayFair and that the “Orientation deans start[ed] tailing us, yelling at us, stealing our inflatable shark.”

Mark C. Feldmeier G, a former undergraduate resident and current graduate resident tutor from East Campus, said, “I think that this will heighten their awareness and send a message to the administration that what’s going on is not appreciated by the students. Hopefully it will cause some change.”

However, Feldmeier said that “it’s too bad that we feel that we have to compete with the administration’s events.”

Orientation a compromise

Members of the administration said they were disappointed to read Dormcon’s statement because they worked with students, faculty, and staff in order to reach a compromise about the Orientation schedule.

Dean for Student Life Larry G. Benedict said an Orientation planning committee decided there would be a specific time for Orientation events and a specific time for rush events and that the two would not conflict.

“What’s disappointing is that members who were a part of this committee are in abrogation of the agreement,” Benedict said.

Because Killian Kickoff and off-campus rush no longer exists, Benedict said that the committee decided to shorten the period of Orientation and rush. In addition, Benedict said that “faculty had been complaining that rush and Orientation used to be so long and so exhausting that students were tired during their first classes.” Instead, the new schedule “allows a [longer] easing off period before classes begin,” Benedict said.

Because of the changing Orientation schedule, Benedict said that “we sent out even more information to the students so that they could make a more informed decision. Given that people have better information, people can make a more informed decision, and less people will need to move.”

Benedict said that students “have a legitimate point” that the freshmen should meet the upperclassmen, but he also said that the process could be sped up given that the dormitories send the incoming freshmen so much material.

For example, incoming freshmen were asked to complete questionnaires to help better assign them to their rooms.

Benedict said that “I have had several complaints that many questionnaires were ignored.”

Some skip scheduled events

Josiah B. Rosmarin ’06, who did not attend Monday’s President’s Convocation, is currently living at East Campus. Instead, Rosmarin participated in East Campus’ East vs. West Water War.

He said that “nothing is mandatory, and I’m living by that.”

Jonathan B. Downey ’06 also did not attend the President’s Convocation because “I had a lot of stuff to do, such as buying books.” In addition, Downey decided to take a tour of East Campus and realized that “it’s a lot cooler than what people make it out to be.”

“I’m going to go to the events that I want to go to,” he said.

However, Christopher J. Mattenberger ‘06 said that he has been attending some of the MIT-scheduled Orientation events.

“I guess nothing is really mandatory, but I’ve really been expanding my viewpoint [by attending],” Mattenberger said.

Dorm events rather uneventful

Despite Dormcon’s advice to freshmen, some dormitories are not seeing many freshmen who are interested in moving at the rush events. Instead, those who are currently living at the dormitory appear to be more active in the given dormitory’s events.

“A lot of people are coming by [to Burton-Conner], but nobody is asking questions about the dorm,” said Jenny A. Lichter ’05, Burton-Conner social chair. She said that at the Residence Midway she “didn’t answer a single question about what the dorm is like.”

Many upperclassmen and freshmen have said that dormitory rush has turned out to be a chance for upperclassmen and freshmen to meet rather than for upperclassmen to recruit freshmen.

“I think that the dorms are doing a really good job of making it like last year’s rush,” Lichter said.

Carly A. Saylor ’05 said that Burton-Conner will not host any events that conflict with the Orientation events.

Amanda M. Stockton ’04, a recruitment chair for McCormick Hall, said that McCormick is not hosting any events that conflict with Orientation. Stockton said that this is a chance for McCormick’s girls to get oriented with MIT as well as McCormick.

Laurie A. Eich ‘03, who is the rush chair for Baker House, said that Baker is not holding many rush events this year.

“I think that the majority of the people who are living in Baker preferred it first, so I don’t think that they are going to move out,” Eich said. “It’s disappointing, we don’t really have to do much.”

Freshmen explore passively

Many freshmen have said that they are looking at the other dormitories during dormitory rush, but that they intend on remaining in their current assignment.

Chen Li ’06, who is living at East Campus, said “it’s great ... I’m going to stay.” She said she has visited Simmons Hall and might visit some of the other dormitories.

Several commented that they enjoy the free food, but that the events are not helping them in the dormitory selection process.

Stephanie Lee ’06 said that “I don’t feel like eating ice cream and other foods will help me decide where I want to live.” However, Lee said that these events are fun to have before classes begin.

Melissa W. Gregson ’06 said that “the way that they are doing dorm rush is confusing. I just want to settle in already.” Gregson, nonetheless, said that “the choice is cool.”

Mattenberger said that he likes visiting the other dorms during rush because he can “explore the personalities that MIT has to offer.”