Guardians of the Galaxy: Freshman Orientation 2015

Meghan Kenney, Assistant Dean, UAAP

Navigating MIT for the first time can feel like entering a new galaxy; you don’t know what challenges will present themselves. This year’s Orientation program used a “Guardians of the Galaxy” theme to welcome 1,107 first year students to MIT and show them that by working together as a team, they can truly succeed here.

2015 Orientation LeadersLeading up to orientation, 585 eager first year students arrived early on campus to participate in one of the 26 Freshman Pre-Orientation Programs (FPOPS). Students were able to explore programs in 22 academic disciplines as well as leadership, the arts, service initiatives, and the outdoors. This year, three new programs were launched: Discover Chemistry, Discover Chemical Engineering, and Discover Brain and Cognitive Sciences.

With 87 enthusiastic Orientation leaders guiding the way, the week started on Sunday, August 30, with some fun and games. Produced by Orientation Coordinator Jack Gordon ’18, the kickoff event featured video clips of MIT students facing and overcoming challenges in both this galaxy and the Marvel world, such as navigating a pset and defending against the evil villain. The event also brought together first-year students and Orientation leaders in a number of games on stage, including an epic final dance-off.

Throughout the week, the Class of 2019 attended a number of Orientation events designed to address many important first year issues, including President Reif’s Convocation, Tech Theatre, Speak About It, Diversity and Inclusion, and the annual “By Students, For Students: Conquering MIT” program, which highlights stories of student challenges and success and was a part of the MindHandHeart Initiative announcement.

Turning to the academic “galaxy,” first year students learned about the GIRs from faculty at the annual Core Blitz program, and were able to interact with departments at the Academic Expo. They all had a chance to meet with their academic advisor and associate advisor before registering for their first semester of MIT classes. To celebrate the end of a busy but fruitful week, the class traveled to the New England Aquarium for a night of entertainment, food, and fun! 

Overall, this year’s Orientation program was a success, thanks to the dedication and hard work of many faculty, staff, student leaders, and members of the MIT community!