Ten Students Organize ‘Community Tour’; MIT President Might Watch on TV—Later

A group of MIT students are planning an event titled the “MIT Community Tour 2009,” scheduled for next Thursday, December 10. Labelled “Show Susan Hockfield Anything!”, the event starts in front of Hockfield’s residence, Gray House, at 10:00 a.m. and will visit locations “that reflect the inner workings of MIT that often go unnoticed,” the announcement said.

Unfortunately, President Hockfield will not be present for the tour. She will be out of town that day, said Leslie S. Price, her executive assistant.

Event organizers wrote to Hockfield on November 25 and again on December 2 seeking to schedule the event “to facilitate a unique opportunity for everyone in the community to learn more about each other.”

Organizers circulated an e-mail to students yesterday asking “What do you want to show Susan Hockfield on a campus tour to help her understand YOUR MIT experience?”

Informed of Hockfield’s absence, organizer Nicholas J. Grabenstein ’10, said “we plan on recording it and giving her a copy in some form or fashion.”

Archimides C. Stuk ’10, another of the organizers, said they had spoken to Hockfield’s staff last week and that, as of last week, she was free on the proposed date.

Organizers have conducted interviews with MIT community members over the past few weeks to determine areas to focus the tour on, in addition to the e-mail survey.

“We expect that Susan Hockfield will appreciate this gesture as an opportunity to step back from the tough decisions and bureaucratic meetings she is forced to deal with and instead gain new perspectives from the individuals that makeup the community,” said organizer Adam B. Talsma ’10 in a statement.

Stuk said three locations that had received “a lot” of suggestions were 1) Lindgren Library, the now-closed Library in Bldg. 54; 2) the small “fishbowl” computer work areas in Bldg. 3 that are Mechanical Engineering lounge spaces, and 3) Pritchett, the now-closed dining hall on the second floor of Walker Memorial.

Tentative locations also include MIT Medical’s waiting room, the 2-225 Athena cluster, the MIT Electronics Research Society in N52, and Bldg. 4’s southern roof access, Stuk said.

A recording of the event will be made available on MIT’s Tech TV, Stuk said (