The Tech - Online EditionMIT's oldest and largest
newspaper & the first
newspaper published
on the web
Boston Weather: 51.0°F | Rain Fog/Mist

Hundreds of IAP Activities Await After Winter Break

Charm School, Sports, 6.270 Among the Many Highlights for Students Who Stick Around Campus in January

By Kathy Lin

STAFF REPORTER

Mind your manners: when you wake up after passing out in a pile of Legos and electronics, politely use a napkin to gently wipe the resistors off your cheek.

Independent Activities Period is coming soon to a campus near you, with some 800 activities offered this year. Charm School and the Autonomous Robot Design Competition (6.270) are among the highlights as always.

“IAP is about the community sharing ideas, expertise, and fun,” said Michael Bergren, IAP program coordinator. “It brings everyone out of the rigor of the academic year and gives you a chance to do different and some off-the-wall things,” Bergren said.

“I think it’s wonderful to see people being so inventive,” Bergren said.

IAP includes a wide variety of activities, including how-to sessions, forums, lecture series, films, tours, recitals, and contests, and any MIT group can offer an IAP course.

Charm School back again

Charm School, now in its tenth year, is one of the most well-known offerings. Charm School offers classes focusing on “social skills, life skills, and etiquette, and is a fun and lighthearted way for students to learn these things,” said Linda D. Noel, Charm School coordinator. The first three floors of the student center will be occupied by approximately 30 classes. Noel said she expected between 800 and 1,000 students to attend.

Among the other IAP offerings are sessions discussing how to choose a major or a career. Eta Kappa Nu is sponsoring a “Life After Course VI” Alumni Panel. “Alumni come and talk about their careers and how their MIT educations are incorporated into them,” said Eugenia A. Trusova, panel coordinator. “It’s been running for the past several years and has generally been very productive.”

Another typical favorite is the Autonomous Robot Design Competition (6.270), in which groups design and build robots with Legos and then compete at the end of IAP. This contest is one of many events that has a lottery for participants.

6.270 is one of many department-sponsored, for-credit IAP offerings. Students have a “strictly enforced” 12-unit credit limit, according to the IAP guide.

Students’ IAP plans vary

While many students are taking advantage of MIT’s activity offerings, some have made other plans, including travel.

“I’m taking a vacation through IAP,” said Yanyun Wu ’06. “We’re going to China for the entire month and a half. I have family there and my girlfriend is there.”

Some students are working in undergraduate research opportunity programs or in the corporate world.

“I’ll definitely be working for a UROP in physics, EE, or both. and taking lots of fun courses,” said Dheera Venkatraman ’06. He said he would like to participate in “lots of neat things that aren’t found in semester courses, such as this astronomy course I heard about where you get to use their telescopes,” he said.

“I’ll be staying home in New York and working there,” said Aidan R. Downes ’04.

IAP is also a time to take part in activities that aren’t feasible with the regular school schedule. “I’m going to spend the entire month in New Hampshire with the varsity ski team. We’re going to practice during the week and have competitions during the weekends,” said Simone C. Klein ’06.

There are also students without any particular plans. “I don’t know what I’m going to do yet, and I don’t really have any ideas about it,” said Masood Qazi ’06.

“I’ll actually be able to get to some pleasure reading,” Venkatraman said, “and I’ll finally get to fooling around with a lot of random electronics that I’ve collected over the semester.”

Activities include athletics

The 85 credit subjects include a variety of classes offering three to 12 units. Some classes are offered during regular terms, while others are specific to IAP. Other classes, such as 18.02A, are continuations of classes that began during the Fall semester.

Fifty-seven physical education classes will be offered during IAP. “It’s a great time for students to do athletics for fun or to satisfy PE requirements,” Bergren said.

Other non-credit events are being offered in computing, arts, culture, health, and other areas.

Detailed information about these programs can be found in the MIT Bulletin’s IAP 2003 Guide or online at .