MIT Olympics: Orientation 2016

Meghan Kenney, Assistant Dean, UAAP

Every four years, the summer Olympics brings together different people and teams from around the world to work towards a common goal—becoming Olympic champions. This year’s Orientation program used an Olympics theme to welcome 1,110 first-year students to MIT and show them that by working together as a team, they can truly succeed here.

Leading up to Orientation, 619 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.      

MIT Orientation Leaders 2016With 80 enthusiastic Orientation Leaders guiding the way, the program started on Sunday, August 28 with some fun and games. Produced by Orientation Coordinator Marcas Smith ’19, the kickoff event featured video clips of current and past MIT students talking about their transition to MIT. The event also brought together first-year students and Orientation Leaders in a number of games on stage.

Throughout the week, the Class of 2020 attended Orientation events designed to address many important first-year issues, including President Reif’s Convocation, Tech Theatre, Speak About It, and the annual By Students, For Students: Conquering MIT program, which highlights stories of students overcoming challenges at MIT. Students also attended a diversity orientation program, which featured a new format this year. After remarks from a national speaker and members of the MIT community, students participated in smaller breakout discussions facilitated by MIT faculty and staff. This change was a result of the Black Student Union recommendations for a more inclusive MIT.

Turning to the academic playing field, 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 successful 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!