Additional updates to orientation report

Changes to lottery, FPOP charges

CORRECTION TO THIS ARTICLE: The first paragraph of this article ambiguously describes the nature of the change to the housing adjustment lottery. While the official “adjustment lottery” will not exist in its current form, there still will be an option for students to move to different dormitories after orientation. The difference is that this year, by default, students will remain in their assigned dorm but may opt-in for a change — as the article states in paragraph four. This change reflects the orientation committee’s conclusion that, since most students are satisfied with their original summer dorm assignments, REX should refocus on “celebrating dorm culture” rather than explicitly deciding where to live. REX events will still happen — including this year on Tuesday night, when they could not previously.

The Review Committee on Orientation (RCO) released its final recommendations on Orientation last week with more updates on the state of Residential Exploration (REX) and freshman pe-orientation programs (FPOPs) for this fall. The biggest changes are that REX will no longer include a freshman adjustment lottery to change dorms, and an additional fee will be charged to FPOP students arriving early and staying on campus. The timing of FSILG Recruitment will be subject to further committee-based assignment, but no change in timing will be made for this coming fall.

REX to introduce students to dorm culture

Among the updates confirmed is that the adjustment lottery for all incoming freshmen will be eliminated. Previously, members of the freshman class ­— except those lotteried into dorms with binding assignments such as Maseeh and McCormick — had a chance to enter an adjustment lottery to change dorms if they were not satisfied with their assignments received in the summer.

According to an Orientation Survey conducted by Charles H. Stewart III, McCormick housemaster and professor of political science, most students were satisfied with their summer dorm assignments. The survey found that students generally found REX to be more relevant to learning about their own residential community than about dorm switches.

“We concluded that REX should focus more on celebrating dorm culture,” noted Henry J. Humphreys, senior associate dean for student life. There will be no housing lottery for freshmen to change their summer dorm room assignments, but freshmen may still request for a dorm change. Freshmen will still participate in floor rush within their respective dorms, and have the option to opt-in for a dorm change, but the default state will be to stay in the dorm they are assigned from the summer lottery.

In the past there has been a freshman social event on Tuesday night of orientation that is organized by the Student Life Orientation Programs and Experiences committee (SLOPE), but that event will be eliminated for the coming year. Dorms are now allowed to plan REX events on Tuesday night, though they could not previously.

“We are working for better coordination of events so that events during orientation week do not conflict as much,” said Humphreys.

The Friday night social event, which has traditionally been at the New England Aquarium, is still in place. REX events may still not be held during this period.

FPOPs see small changes

All FPOPs next year will start on Wednesday or Thursday and end on Sunday, effectively shortening some of the longer programs such as the Freshman Urban Program (FUP) and Freshman Leadership Program (FLP). “We want to coordinate with FPOP program coordinators to make sure programs end on Sunday afternoon, so that Sunday evening is free for social activities,” said Julie B. Norman, director of the Office of Undergraduate Advising and Academic Programming (UAAP).

Students attending on-campus FPOPs will have to pay $30 a day if they choose dorm housing during the FPOP period. Students will be charged the fee for at most four days. If students stay on campus for five days during the FPOP period (such as if they attend a five-day FPOP), they will only be charged for four days.

Students arriving before orientation will receive information on MIT’s various health and safety resources, such as MIT’s dean-on-call system. “We want to give them enough information to navigate safely in the residential system and community, and what resources are available in emergencies,” said Norman. The form in which the information will come has not been determined, but Residential Life will work to systematically ensure that students who arrive early receive the information.

Norman noted that these students should be given information early because they will not meet their housemasters or GRTs until the week of orientation. “Some students, such as those who come from rural communities, may not have a strong knowledge of safety in urban areas,” she added.

In addition, Norman noted that some on-campus FPOPs end their planned activities before the evening. To provide students in these FPOPs an opportunity for activity or interaction at night, Norman hopes to plan organized activities at night for these students.

No change to FSILG Recruitment timing next fall

The RCO concluded in its report that another group be made to assess the timing of FSILG Recruitment. Dean for Student Life Chris Colombo is planning to form another committee consisting of faculty; administrators from the FSILG office; Panhel, IFC, and ILG representatives; and FSILG alumni to examine “the social and financial implications of adjusting the Recruitment period,” said Humphreys.

No timing changes will be made to Recruitment for Fall 2012, but recommendations made by the committee should be implemented for the Fall 2013.

1 Comment
Anonymous over 12 years ago

The end of the housing adjustment lottery is a sad, sad day in the history of the Institute. The cultural specificity of each of MIT's living groups is one of the unique qualities that makes the Institute great. Removing incoming students' ability to experience each dorm's culture first hand will not only remove their ability to find satisfaction in their living group, it will prove a step towards homogeneity in a system whose diversity is its primary asset.