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Orientation 2003: New Events, Less Time for Rush

By Lauren E. LeBon


The Class of 2007 will have three days to relocate to new dormitories once they arrive on campus, according to a draft of the 2003 Orientation schedule.

Students will move into their permanent rooms on Thursday of Orientation week. Last year students moved in on Saturday, giving them five days to move.

“We would like more time, but we also understand that there’s a limited amount of time,” said Ross E. Benson ‘03, the Dormitory Council Judicial Committee chair. “It’s a compromise.” Benson added that there is still discussion about the scheduling for in-house lotteries.

The amount of time allotted for dormitory exploration is not specified on the schedule. In an interview last February, Dean for Student Life Larry G. Benedict said that after 3 p.m. on Sunday and after 3:30 p.m. on Monday of Orientation week would be reserved for “Residence Exploration,” or REX.

On the draft schedule, no events are scheduled during those times.

“We want to make sure that it’s in the Hitchhiker’s Guide so that students can understand to go to it,” Benson said.

Last year, off-campus dinners were scheduled immediately before in-house rush events. Freshmen often arrived late to rush events and missed welcome statements from house governments and an explanation of the rush system, said Emily E. Cofer ‘04, Dormcon’s incoming president, in an e-mail.

Welcome dinners held in dorms

The freshman welcome dinner, where students have a chance to meet MIT faculty and other students, has traditionally been held in the Johnson Athletic Center. This year, the dinners will be held in individual dormitories.

Discussions about the details of the dinners are still ongoing.

“It is our home, and so we feel it’s important to have a say in how activities in our dorm are happening,” Benson said.

“The concern with the Welcome Dinner ... stems from concerns the dorm governments were not directly consulted before this event was scheduled,” Cofer said in her e-mail. “Dormcon is confident that, in the next few weeks before the Orientation schedule is 100 percent finalized, the few remaining concerns will be addressed and an amenable solution agreed upon by the ARC, DormCon and other appropriate parties.”

Professor J. Kim Vandiver, a member of the Committee on the Undergraduate Program, said that he is working on ways to make the faculty more approachable.

“We are taking creative scheduling ideas that might be implemented in future orientations in ’04 and beyond,” Vandiver said.

This year’s schedule is “99 percent complete” Vandiver said, though Associate Dean and Orientation Coordinator Julie B. Norman said that the schedule is “still subject to change.”

East and West Campus parties

A new addition to the 2003 Orientation are the East and West Campus parties scheduled for Sunday and Monday nights, respectively. The parties aim to encourage students to explore both sides of campus before the adjustment lottery closes.

“It’s more of a geographic designation rather than a cultural one,” Benson said. He said that the events will allow students to be “exposed to all places on campus and not sucked over to just one side.”

“The parties won’t be exactly the same. Each one will have its own flavor,” Benson said. The change will allow freshmen to “meet people, learn about the dorms, and have a good time.”

The East Campus party will be held from 8 p.m. to midnight on Sunday, August 24. The West Campus party will be held the evening of the 25th, just a day before the housing adjustment lottery closes.

When students arrive on campus on Saturday, August 23, their first activity at MIT will be the Freshman Essay Evaluation at 1 p.m., which will determine placement in freshmen writing courses.

The Orientation Kick-off will begin at 4 p.m. that afternoon, followed by the PlayFair, which was introduced at last year’s orientation.