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UA Committees Plan Projects, New Goals

By Tiffany Chen

STAFF REPORTER

The committees of the Undergraduate Association have established new goals and projects for the 2004-2005 school year, including plans for Institute-wide midterm evaluations of classes, a new guidance counselor program, and an MIT “Tea Time.”

New class evaluations

The Student Committee on Educational Policy plans to begin implementing midterm evaluations of classes so that instructors can receive feedback and improve classes during the semester. Currently, evaluations are conducted at the end of the semester.

SCEP Chair Elizabeth R. Ricker ’07 said she hopes midterm evaluations will increase student motivation by allowing for more student voices to be heard.

The midterm evaluation will start as a pilot study with one participating department this term and will expand from there, Ricker said.

Students to mentor each other

The Committee on Student Life plans to introduce a guidance counselor system, through which freshmen and sophomores would be paired up. In each pair, the sophomore would provide support to the freshman as a big brother or big sister for three years.

According to CSL Chair Samuel J. Hwang ’05, the guidance counselor system is intended to “improve the mental health of MIT students.”

“Ever since getting to MIT, I have felt that many students are unhappy with being here and aren’t really enjoying college,”Hwang said.

He said he does not think that unhappiness at MIT is caused by the workload, but rather by the culture of “having to be independent and of not having good support structures set up.”

Tea Time for MIT

By the start of second semester, CSL plans to establish an “MIT Tea Time program,” where students and faculty can convene as often as once a week. The committee will pick times and places for these gatherings, and provide tea and cookies, Hwang said.

The program is intended to help relieve student pressure and give the community a time during which they can get together, relax, and eat, Hwang said. He also said he hopes that this can be the start of a tradition for MIT.

CSL also plans to expand the TechCash program by December and to improve campus safety through increasing SafeRide services. They would like to invite an artist or comedian, such as Dave Chapelle, to campus for a performance.

Weekly W20 study breaks planned

Jennifer H. Yeh ’07, chair of the Subcommittee on Dining, said that her committee will hold midnight breakfasts on the first Wednesday of each month on the fifth floor of the student center as a way for students to take a break from work.

Plans for a dining feedback forum, where students can taste foods from various caterers, especially those in charge of residential dining, are also under way. To address complaints about the lack of nutritious value in the foods on campus, the subcommittee plans to meet with caterers to investigate how nutritious options can be improved.

Other committee goals

Other committees continue to work on traditional goals and projects. Marcus B. Felder ’05, chair of the Committee on Housing and Orientation, said his committee will continue to evaluate Orientation and discuss “what went well and what people didn’t like.”

The Subcommitee on Athletics, a branch of CSL, would like to increase school spirit this year. Noelle J. Kanaga ’06, chair of the subcommittee, said the subcommittee hopes to “increase awareness of varsity sports on campus” by promoting home games for each sport and providing transportation for people to support MIT teams.

Public Relations Committee Chairs Leslie E. Kao ’06 and Stephanie J. Wu ’07 wrote in an e-mail that their committee will continue to promote the name of the UA by setting up booths in the Student Center. They plan to employ more undergraduates to put up posters around campus.

The Nominations Committee plans to complete a Nominations Committee manual. Committee Chair Mitra Lohrasbpour ’07 and Vice Chair Zain A. Gulamali ’06 wrote in an e-mail that the manual will “outline the organizational chronology of the application process” and serve as a guide for future NomComms.