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Benjamin W. Charrow ’08 wears a “CRYO-FAC” box in reference to East Campus’ Friday Afternoon Club at the 2008 Campus Preview Weekend in Johnson Ice Rink yesterday.
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A record number of prospective freshmen — 1021 — have descended upon MIT for this year’s Campus Preview Weekend, according to Ben Jones, Associate Director of Admissions. The event, which ten years ago was meant to attract women and minority students to MIT, is now open to all admitted freshmen. CPW has grown explosively since then, increasing from 974 last year and 868 the year before.

CPW runs from April 10 to April 13. Living groups, student groups, MIT organizations, and other groups offer more than 600 events throughout all hours of the weekend.

A smorgasbord of activities characterized last night’s CPW opening festival, held in the Johnson Athletics Center. Perennial favorites, like liquid nitrogen ice cream, drew long lines. Meanwhile, eager combatants wielded foam-laden swords and competed in “boffing” duels.

Elsewhere, crowds of prospective freshmen contorted their bodies in novel ways in large games of Twister and four-square. Raucous potential rock stars amused themselves playing Guitar Hero and Rock Band.

Prospective freshmen agreed that the weekend — which, yesterday being Thursday, had not really yet begun — was pretty intense and slightly crazy. The fast pace of events appeals to some more than others.

Laura Bagamery, a Pittsburgh native, standing in a crowd of people during last night’s CPW Festival, described CPW as “very loud.” She was also accepted at Princeton University, Cornell University, and Dartmouth College, and she said she is not yet sure about attending MIT. Bagamery said she is interested in studying chemistry. People at CPW “are much more global than I expected,” she said.

David Zhou, from Wilton, Conn., said he thinks CPW is “great.” He’s “definitely leaning” towards MIT, and he said he hopes that CPW will confirm this inclination.

Noah Brown, a prospective student from Iowa City, IA, has recently attended Interlochen, an arts preparatory school in Michigan. Brown plays the bassoon in orchestras and solos, and has played a concert in Carnegie Hall.

Brown is currently deciding among MIT, Stanford University, the University of Pennsylvania, and Princeton University. “You have to give those schools their due,” he said.

About CPW, he said, “It’s slightly disorganized, slightly psychotic, but I love it.”