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Freshmen arrive Wednesday for orientation that includes food, fun and Fenway Park

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. -- The Class of 2005 begins an 11-day orientation program Wednesday that includes lots of food and fun--a dance, scavenger hunt, hypnotist's performance, movies, and visits to museums, Fenway Park and the Big Dig.

The 1,034 freshmen (605 men and 429 women) come from 46 states. Forty-one percent of them were valedictorians while the rest were in the top 10 percent of their high school classes.

Identifying members of the class as "the most talented and promising students in this year's extraordinary applicant pool," Dean of Admissions Marilee Jones wrote in the letter of acceptance last spring:"We specifically selected you not just for your excellent academic preparation, but also for your initiative and style. We really believe that we are well-matched for each other."

President Charles M. Vest will welcome the class at the convocation in Kresge Auditorium at 11 a.m. Thursday. The keynote speaker will be Steven Pinker, the Peter De Florez Professor of Psychology, Brain and Cognitive Sciences.

In addition to Academic Expo and residence selection, the orientation program includes sessions on diversity, sexual assault, intimate relationships and alcohol.

The diversity program, entitled "Build Your Own Dome: How to Get the Most Out of MIT," is scheduled for Friday from 8 to 9:45 a.m. This event is sponsored by the Committee on Campus Race Relations (CCRR).

It will be followed at 10 a.m. by "No-Yes," a discussion on sexual assault and college life. This program will be presented by Katie Koestner, founder of Campus Outreach Services. On Saturday, Jay Friedman, a certified sex educator, will direct a program entitled "Sex Matters" in Kresge Auditorium from 9 to10:30 a.m.

On Friday, Aug. 31, Mike Green, an alcohol awareness speaker, will discuss college drinking and strategies for situations involving alcohol use. The session, sponsored by the Interfraternity Council, is scheduled for Kresge Auditorium from 5 to 6:30 p.m.

Students can attend Academic Expo in the Johnson Athletic Center to talk with faculty members about academic departments and special freshman programs from 2:30 to 3:45 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 24. The expo includes displays, handouts, freebies and raffles.

Other activities include visits to the Museum of Science, the Museum of Fine Arts, Fenway Park and the Big Dig; the annual egg drop from the 21-story Green Building; the swim test; and City Days, an opportunity to volunteer at non-profit organizations sponsored by the Public Service Center.

Orientation for the 800 new international students (including 79 undergraduates) begins on Monday, Aug. 20. Transfer students report the following day. All students register for classes on Tuesday, Sept. 4; classes begin Sept. 5.

For additional information, see MIT's orientation web site.

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