More Students May Return Early This Fall

CORRECTION TO THIS ARTICLE: Preeya S. Phadnis is a member of the Class of 2009. She was incorrectly identified as Preeya S. Phadnis ’08 in the April 27 article “More Students May Return Early This Fall.”

The number of students returning to campus early this fall may increase, as part of a proposal between Dormitory Council, the Undergraduate Association, and MIT Housing to further participation of upperclassmen in Residence Exploration and freshman Orientation activities.

According to Robin Smedick, assistant director of Housing, DormCon will receive the regular allotment of early returns, about 30-35 per building, but because of the joint UA-DormCon proposal, dormitories that would like to request additional early returns to accommodate more students to help with Orientation or REX can submit proposals to Housing for consideration. Therefore, it is possible that more than 35 early returns could be issued per building.

Students from DormCon and the UA approached Housing at the end of January to start discussing the proposal, said Smedick. Most of the discussions concluded in March, but a final meeting will take place in early May to make minimal changes to the proposal, such as finalizing return dates.

Smedick said, however, that usually the regular quota of early returns is not really needed, so whether or not the total actual number of early returns will be increased from previous years is not certain.

Lauren E. Oldja ’08, UA treasurer, who, along with DormCon REX Chair Preeya S. Phadnis ’08, worked on the early returns proposal, said that the drive behind creating the new proposal for increased early returns was spurred by a recommendation in a report created by the UA Committee on Orientation last year.

“The report suggested that we look into increasing early returns to support the REX dormitory activities,” said Oldja.

The proposal has already been voted on by DormCon and approved by Housing. Smedick said that the new 2007–2008 school year will provide a test run to determine whether the new system of early returns is really beneficial for DormCon’s REX program, and feedback next year will determine whether Housing will make this early returns system a more permanent change.

According to Smedick, this proposal has no effect on early returns for any other groups.

The proposal outlines three possible tiers of students who could be given a DormCon early return, with each designation differing based upon campus arrival date as well as level of involvement in Orientation activities, Smedick said.

The first tier includes the REX chairs for each dormitory, totaling an estimated 10–20 students, who will be allowed to come back around Aug. 14, five days earlier than other early returns. Since some REX chairs do stay at MIT over the summer, not all of these estimated return allotments would be needed.

The next tier includes an estimated 15–20 students per dormitory who will arrive on Aug. 19, and will immediately receive tasks upon their return. According to the proposal, this will allow the delegation of tasks to begin earlier.

The final tier of early returns will arrive on Aug. 23, and these students, totaling and estimated 10–15 per dormitory, will be available to welcome new students to campus and help with Orientation events.

Phadnis said the reason for sectioning off the early returns by tiers was because house managers can only accommodate the arrival of a limited number of early returns at any given time and by having different arrival dates, all the students did not arrive at once, thereby making it easier for the house managers.

Oldja said she asked Phadnis to collaborate with her on this effort early in 2007. She said that she handed the project completely over to Phadnis in March.

Last year, the total number of early returns for all student groups was 453, with 213 of those being DormCon early returns.