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Limited Residence Exploration In Draft of Orientation Schedule

By Jiao Wang

STAFF REPORTER

The Academic Resource Center recently completed its draft of the schedule for Orientation 2005, which will include an earlier closing date for the housing adjustment lottery than previous orientations have.

Dormitory Council President Ian Brelinsky ’06 said that the amount of time set aside for Residence Exploration is similar to last year, but is concentrated earlier in the week.

“There are benefits and there are cons to the schedule,” Brelinsky said. “Basically, we had set out to do something different” by dedicating three days to Residence Exploration, he said. Instead, most of the dormitory events will be held on a Sunday. The housing adjustment lottery will close on Tuesday of that week.

Brelinsky said that DormCon is working with the ARC to ensure that freshmen will be encouraged to arrive on campus by Saturday. “If the freshmen don’t come in until Sunday night, then they’re going to miss REX,” he said.

CityDays, rush schedule changed

Julie B. Norman, associate dean of academic resources and programming, said that some agencies were not able to host volunteers for CityDays, a public service event, last year because the event took place on the Friday before Labor Day weekend. The event is planned for Monday this year.

Fraternity rush will also begin earlier this year, which Brelinsky said should help the fraternities attract more freshmen. Rush will begin after the Greek Griller on Saturday, one day earlier than last year and two days after the freshmen move into their assigned dormitories on Thursday.

“Our interests are being met, things are looking great, we are excited,” said Interfraternity Council Vice President Jordan K. Fabyanske ’06.

Brelinsky said that Residence Exploration should not be affected by the earlier start for fraternity rush. “Whether [students are] only here for a year or four years, it doesn’t matter, we have the same goals for them” of providing a good support network, he said.

Making schedule a ‘difficult fight’

Brelinsky said that crafting the orientation schedule was a joint effort between administrators, the Undergraduate Association, DormCon, the IFC, and Panhellenic. Discussions began in November and will continue until the schedule is finalized.

“We’re working on better terms with the administration than we did in the past,” Brelinsky said. “We got a whole lot more than the trend was going for.”

Still, he said that DormCon did not get what it wanted for residence exploration out of the new schedule.

“It’s a difficult fight because not everybody agrees that REX is a good thing,” he said. “We wanted more, but we can’t ask for the world and expect to get it.”

Brelinsky also said that he feels that the administration supports the IFC and that both DormCon and the IFC have the respect of the administrators.

Earlier lottery to aid dorm culture

Norman said that the sooner the freshmen get settled, the sooner housemasters, house managers, and affiliated upperclassmen can start in getting freshmen acquainted with their dormitories.

Some members of the Dormitory Council, including Jeff S. Cohen ’06, president of Random Hall, want to structure certain orientation events so that they can connect freshmen to upperclassmen and “establish good support network in dorms.”

Brelinsky said in an e-mail to dormitory presidents and members of DormCon’s Executive Board that he hopes to “prepare small events across the various dorms... for the 500 or so frosh that will be on campus at the time.” He wrote that he expects “evenings will yield a few hundred [more] frosh” who are otherwise occupied during the day. He also wrote that the goals of these events is to “introduce [freshmen] to some members of our community (upperclassmen, graduate residence tutors and housemasters), and educate them on the expectations of our residential community.”

Norman said that these low-key events will also help to reassure freshmen “that they made the right choice for housing or can look for other options.”

Traditional events also included

Last year, parents had the opportunity to talk with former MIT President Charles M. Vest during the president’s breakfast at Walker Memorial. This year, President Susan Hockfield will address both the students and their parents in the Parent/Student Convocation in Killian Court.

Hockfield will also be present for a brief introduction during the faculty presentation and the MacVicar luncheon the following day. It is not yet decided which of the MacVicar fellows will host students in smaller groups.

Katie Koestner, MIT’s rape awareness program speaker since 2001, will give her presentation on Friday. Koestner, a date rape victim during her first year of college at William and Mary, went on to found Campus Outreach Services, an organization that promotes sexual violence awareness in middle schools, high schools, and colleges.

Consistent with previous years, the activities midway and the Health and Wellness Fair will occur after Koestner’s presentation so that graduate students taking part in Graduate Orientation can also participate.

Women, minority, alcohol awareness, and Lesbian, Bisexual, Gay, and Transgendered events have not yet been determined beyond having evenings set aside as place holders.

Barbara A. Baker, associate dean for student life programs, is now working with student leaders to “design some of the specific parts” of the orientation plan.

Marissa Vogt contributed to the reporting of this story.