The Tech - Online EditionMIT's oldest and largest
newspaper & the first
newspaper published
on the web
Boston Weather: 38.0°F | A Few Clouds and Windy

Main Conclusions of the UA Report on Orientation

Main Conclusions of the UA Report on Orientation

We asked UA Orientation Committee Chair Andrew P. Spann ’07 to elaborate on the main conclusions in the Undergraduate Association Report on Orientation. The following are his responses.

Place greater emphasis on student-generated content

Andrew Spann: There has been this tendency for everyone planning Orientation over the last few years to think of Orientation as a theater. … Freshmen go into the theater and see one big performance after another. But one thing that we would like to look at is viewing Orientation as a modern video game, where emphasis is on nonlinear exploration and peer interaction.

Allow freshmen in Residence Based Advising dorms to enter the Housing Readjustment Lottery

AS: There were a number of complains about this in the Department of Housing survey. Particularly in Next House, not as much from McCormick [Hall], because in McCormick essentially you have everyone … listed as their first choice. We had a lot of people who ranked Next House their third place choice — there were 62 freshmen who put Next House as their third place choice — got put in there, and did not have any opportunity at all to adjust, to change. We’re not trying to guarantee that anyone who wants to get out of Next House can, but it’s according to market demand. … You don’t have to move all 62 of those people who got their third place choice because obviously some dorm is going to get third place choice people. There were some people who also wanted to move into Next House and I think it’s outright more efficient if we facilitate that transfer.

Examine the implications of scheduling residence move-in day and freshmen registration day in proximity

AS: Right now both freshmen move day and freshmen reg day are both Thursday. There’s plenty of time to do both there, that’s not a problem at all, but both of those programs have prerequisite chains of events — you have all the REX related events and in-house rush related events before you can move in. You have advanced standing exams and the learning community events like the [Experimental Study Group] and Concourse open houses. Those need to be performed before freshmen can register. Even a few days in advance because you need to grade your math diagnostic and advanced standing exams before freshmen can even register. It can be said that there are a lot of the big heavy weighted decisions that all fall on the first day or two.

Centralize and coordinate scheduling information for all Orientation events

AS: We had a decent number of comments saying that there was some really cool event that someone had heard about too late to attend it, be it either a REX event or a rush event. All the groups, Dormcon, IFC, Panhel, and UAAP post schedules, so an upperclassmen would know of course where to go, but as a freshmen you probably don’t know all the relevant Web sites, and the UA should play a part in helping freshmen get access to all those schedules.

The full report can be read at http://web.mit.edu/ua/www/committees/orientation/report06-full.pdf.