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Cambridge, MIT Exchange Nearly 100 Students for ’02

By Diana Lui

The Cambridge-MIT Institute undergraduate exchange program continued to expand this year, with 49 Cambridge University third-year students currently at MIT and 44 MIT juniors heading to the United Kingdom in early October.

“We’re hopeful and happy that the program is getting off the ground,” said Jason K. Shumaker, a CMI program coordinator for undergraduate education. “There’s a positive word of mouth -- people are definitely hearing more about the program.”

Last year, 27 MIT students studied in Cambridge, and 33 Cambridge University students came to MIT. In the program’s first year, only nine MIT students studied in Cambridge, four of them for only a half-year each.

More departments involved

Cambridge students will study in 11 MIT departments this year, three more than last year. Course I (Civil and Environmental Engineering), Course II (Mechanical Engineering), Course III (Material Science and Engineering), Course V (Chemistry), Course VI (Electrical Engineering and Computer Science), Course VII (Biology), Course VIII (Physics), Course X (Chemical Engineering), Course XIV (Economics), Course XVI (Aeronautics and Astronautics), and Course XVIII (Mathematics) are all participating in CMI this year.

“More departments are now involved so that we may work this to fit in with the demanding curricula of both schools,” said Dean for Undergraduate Education Robert P. Redwine.

More than half stay in FILGs

This year, 30 Cambridge students are staying in fraternities and independent living groups.

“We reached out to the fraternities and independent living groups, and they were very enthusiastic about accepting Cambridge students,” Shumaker said. “A handful of Cambridge students stayed in FILGs last year, and I’m sure they had a positive experience.”

Students based their housing decisions on information about dormitories and FILGs that they received a few months before arriving at MIT, and from last year’s MIT students in Cambridge.

“I chose to live in a fraternity because of [what I heard from] the CMI people over in Cambridge last year,” said Bryn L. Jones. “Living in a house full of people is so much more fun and sociable than having your own little cell on some anonymous corridor, as would be the case living in a dorm.”

FILGs receive transition support

In addition to receiving room and board payment from the Cambridge students living in their respective houses, FILGs will also be reimbursed by the Financial Transition Plan. The three-year Financial Transition Plan was created by MIT to ease the financial burdens of the fraternities, sororities, and independent living groups caused by lack of freshman occupancy.

According to an agreement between the FSILGs and David N. Rogers, assistant dean and director of FSILGs, MIT will also reimburse 40 percent of the fixed costs of living of each Cambridge student to the FILGs.

Students enjoying experience

Although they have only been on campus a few weeks, CMI students at MIT are already having typical Institute experiences.

“Things have settled down into a good rhythm already,” said Christopher J. Caulkin, who is living at pika. “MIT is a great place to be. The general attitude to work, sports and socializing is very refreshing.”

“Boston is a great city, although I’ve had too much work to go and explore it properly,” said Katherine E. Davidson, who is living at Student House. “People here work just as hard as in Cambridge. The facilities are miles better, especially for sports and computing, but then, you’re not surrounded by buildings from the 13th century.”

CMI continues to expand

Later this fall, CMI will hold a general information session for sophomores interested in participating in the program. Individual departments will hold their respective sessions in February.

“We’re happy to get as many applications as possible, so that we may increase the quality of the program and the number of students to be selected,” Shumaker said.