After a week of pre-orientation events that included building sandcastles and Tinkertoy projects, the Class of 2010 will all be on campus this weekend to kick off Orientation 2006, which officially begins Aug. 27.
"It is always a lot of fun," said Elizabeth Young, assistant dean and member of the orientation committee. "Orientation is a good way to start the year."
Among the week's highlights is the "Annual East vs. West Water War," featuring 10,000 water balloons. There will also be at least a dozen opportunities for the newest faces at MIT to mingle and mix at a variety of nightly theme parties and meals.
Roughly 50 percent, or 500 members of the class of 2010 have spent the past week on the MIT campus participating in a variety of pre-orientation activities sponsored by various departments and special programs.
The Department of Architecture sponsored a series of events between Aug. 24-26, including sandcastle building on Crane Beach on Boston's North Shore and Tinkertoy construction on the lawn in front of the Stratton Student Center.
Additional pre-orientation activities included the Freshmen Leadership Program and the Freshmen Arts Program, with separate subsections in music, creative writing, film and more.
Pre-orientation is not required, but the orientation program is, said Young. "Orientation is an important part of starting the new year," she said.
Convocation this Sunday
Although orientation generally follows a successful formula, the 2006 orientation will have minor tweaks, Young said.
The biggest change is that the Freshmen Convocation -- an annual event in which the president welcomes the newest class to MIT -- will take place on Sunday and will be the first official orientation event. "It is a good way to start," Young said.
Prior to Convocation on Sunday, a breakfast will be served starting at 9 a.m. Both events will be in Killian Court unless there is rain and they are moved to Rockwell Cage.
After President Susan Hockfield welcomes the incoming class, the students will disperse to their various residences and share brunch with their new housemasters, graduate residential tutors and members of the house government. On that same day, there will be dorm tours, placement tests and open houses for students to attend.
Additional activities will include a trip to the Cambridgeside Galleria in Cambridge on Aug. 28, a tea party for incoming women on the third floor of the Student Center on Aug. 28, and a number of tours and events designed to introduce new students to the realities of life on a college campus and in a new city.
After a full week of activities, Registration Day is Sept. 5. Classes start the following day.
"Orientation is a great time to get everyone comfortable with the campus and with each other as well as to set expectations," Young said. "It is really all about the incoming class and what we can do to make them more comfortable."