news spring08 by c9c18P


									                   MIT Parents News                                           A publication of the    M I T Parents Association
Vo l . X I X , I s s u e # 2      A Biannual Journal Sponsored by the MIT Alumni Association                                     Spring     2008

Connect Infinitely: MIT Parents Gain Access to Online Services
Current MIT parents now have access to          In the past, the Parents Association has         parents can quickly register for programs by
select online services provided by the MIT      often facilitated parent to parent discussions   using their Infinite Connection accounts.
Alumni Association through an Infinite          by placing current parents in touch with         Event registration pages pre-populate with
Connection account. These services              parent volunteers. Now, parents can join         name and address information.
have the potential to draw parents more         other parents, alumni, and friends on our
deeply into the vast and welcoming MIT          Discussion Network to address current MIT        Parents concerned that a change of address
community, provide a new network of             topics, such as energy, entrepreneurship,        or email will result in missed newsletters,
resources, and simplify routine tasks such as   and parent-specific interests like the best      invitations, letters, or other important
information updates and event registrations.    hotels for Family Weekend and which              MIT documents can update their contact
                                                restaurants near campus students prefer to       information directly within the Parents
                                                                  be taken to by their           Association database through their Infinite
                                                                  visiting parents.              Connection accounts.

                                                                 Parents looking for more        Another benefit of an Infinite Connection
                                                                 ways to get involved in the     account is the ability of a parent to establish
                                                                 MIT community can use           a customized giving account. Once created,
                                                                 an Infinite Connection          parents can explore and customize their
                                                                 account to sign up for          giving options and track donations and
                                                                 regional MIT club email         pledges online.
                                                                 lists, which update parents
                                                                 on what MIT activities are      Registration is easy and takes little time.
                                                                 happening where they live.      To begin using these new features, visit
                                                                 Once aware of the many and click the
                                                                 events in their areas,          “Connect Infinitely” featured link.

Catching Up with the Chaplain:
An Interview with Robert Randolph
Over 50 years ago, former MIT President         Q: Why does a secular school like MIT
James Killian envisioned MIT as an              have a chaplain?
Institute that recognized the place of
religion in modern society. Steps were taken    A: It is important to realize that a
toward this goal, but plans for an Institute    university is never simply secular. The
chaplain were put on hold when Killian left     issues that confront students while they
MIT to work for President Eisenhower. The       are in university will contain matters that      ELLENZWEIG

intention finally came to fruition as Robert    may be religious or spiritual, depending         MIT Breaks Ground for Koch Institute
Randolph, formerly the senior associate         on the circumstances. A school like MIT
dean for student life, assumed the role of      has a chaplain because it recognizes the         Building 76, the new home of the Koch Institute,
chaplain to the Institute in January of 2007.   multi-dimensionality of the university           will feature roughly 180,000 square feet of state-
                                                experience. A chaplain is not an advocate        of-the-art lab and workspace. The floor plans
Randolph has now held this position for         for a particular religious tradition but         are specially designed to foster interaction and
over a year, and we were delighted to have a    may be a gatekeeper for the varied               collaboration among biologists and engineers.
chance to see how the responsibilities of his   religious communities on campus.
new role have developed.                                                               
                                                                  Continued on page 2            groundbreak-0308.html
   Catching Up with the Chaplain: An Interview with Robert Randolph continued
                                                        I have been listening and am moving to                 Institute, and that means the whole
                                                        lay out goals for short term and long term             Institute. I am not a proponent of one
                                                        activities. In the short term, I want to have          tradition over or against others; I am a
                                                        a core group of thinking partners who will             resource to all communities. It is my job to
                                                        be resources to me as we work through the              make sure that I am viewed as an honest
                                                        next few years. In the long term, I want to            broker in the give and take of MIT.
                                                        have the resources to support a diverse and
                                                        productive community in the Religious
                                                        Activities Center.                                     Q: What moral/spiritual issues do MIT
                                                                                                               students face today?

                                                        Q: You've been at MIT for 28 years and                 A: They range from the relational—
                                                        have served as the point of contact for                e.g. how do I treat my boy/girl friend—to
                                                        MIT's religious groups for 26 years. How               the professional—e.g. honesty in research.
                                                        have your responsibilities changed since               We learn how to be ethical by watching
                                                        officially assuming this role?                         others. To set a proper example, it is
   Above: Randolph addresses a crowd of hundreds
                                                                                                               important that faculty give credit to
   during his installation as MIT’s first chaplain to
                                                        A: Now that I am no longer on call around-             students for work they do and treat them
   the Institute. Photo by Dan Bersak
                                                        the-clock, I have some reflective time to              with respect, paying attention to the power
   Q: What percentage of the student body               think and plan, which is a marvelous relief.           disparities that make exploitation possible.
   is involved with a faith-based, religious or                                                                There are opportunities to educate the
   spiritual group?                                     I need to be about resource development                community with regard to these matters,
                                                        so that good programs do not disappear                 and the chaplaincy may well be an office
   A: That is a number that is hard to come             for lack of resources. I need to think about           that can prompt healthy reflection and
   by. We have sixteen denominational                   the implications of actions in a longer                intervention.
   chaplains supported by religious groups              time frame, for example: the state of the
   working on our campus. There are nearly              Religious Activities Center, the upkeep                This is a small corner of the moral universe,
   forty student religious groups, and they             of the organs in the chapel and in Kresge              but it is one that has the potential to do
   vary in size from a handful to two hundred           Auditorium (a.k.a. The Meetinghouse of                 great good. As a student said to me the
   or more. On any given weekend, three to              MIT), the care of the chapel, and support              other day: “I get confused. My girlfriend
   four hundred students, staff, and faculty            for smaller religious communities including            wants to work in the developing world.
   members will attend worship services                 the Bahai and the Jain communities.                    I want the newest hardware, a nice
   beginning on Friday for prayers, Sabbath                                                                    apartment, and lots of cultural resources. Is
   observance, study of scripture, a series of                                                                 there hope for our relationship?”
   Catholic Masses and Protestant worship.              Q: In a previous interview, you stated
   During the week, there are also regular              that a chaplain of the Institute should be        “Maybe,” I said, “but we need to talk.”
   prayers for the Muslim community,                    “a voice for justice, integrity and ethical       Welcome to my new world!
   the Conservative and Orthodox Jewish                 conduct on campus.” How
   communities, and the Lutheran/Episcopal              do you reach out to the entire
   ministry.                                            MIT community, which
                                                        may include non-religious                   Main Salmon River
                                                        individuals, from a religious               Rafting in Idaho
   Q: What are your goals, and how have you             role?
   been able to move toward them during your
   first year as chaplain to the Institute?             A: My commitment is to
                                                        helping students grow as they
   A: I have spent a good part of this year             explore their own religious
                                                        tradition or the traditions              Join fellow MIT Community members from August 15-22, 2008 on a
   asking people what they think the chaplain                                                    rafting trip on the Main Salmon River, with free-flowing Class III
   to the Institute should do, and people have          of others. I am mindful, as              whitewater that’s suited to any experience level.

   been rather straight forward: be concerned           well, that some do not have                 •     Explore the river on the rafts

   about the core values of MIT, pay attention          a religious tradition and are               •     Embark on leisurely or challenging hikes
                                                                                                    •     Enjoy fresh hearty meals prepared at preset campsites
   to the moral and ethical dilemmas that               seeking to develop a moral/
                                                        ethical framework that will              For more information about this program or any of our other 40+ trips,
   confront us, think about tensions between                                                     visit our Web site at
   religious groups, monitor the heartbeat              serve them in all aspects of
   of the community, and be willing to raise            their life.                              Sponsored by the MIT Alumni Travel Program

   uncomfortable questions.                                                                   •    800-992-6749       •
                                                        I am the Chaplain to the

2 MIT Parents Association                                                                              
    Summer Send-Off Events: Hosts Needed
                                                                                                      HARTFORD, CT
    Every summer, the MIT community eagerly to coordinate a grand total of 58 events,
    awaits the arrival of the incoming freshman covering 45 cities and 12 countries. This
    class. These students will be the future          year, we hope to surpass these numbers and
    of MIT. Who are they? What sets these             make events available to nearly 100% of the
    individuals apart? Parents can be among the incoming students.
    first to find out by
    hosting a Summer                                                           The Parents
                             “Together, we hope we’ll further
    Send-Off Event.                                                            Association will
                                  strengthen the sense of belonging provide invitations,
    This community-              and spirit of unity                           decorations, and
    wide endeavor                         in the local MIT community.”         a planning guide,
    requires volunteers                                                        but it is the parent
                               – Hosts Cindy and Timothy Poon P ’09, ’05
    from all possible                                                          volunteers who
    sources, including                                                         plan and host the
    MIT Alumni Club members, Parent                   events. Send-Off Events will take place
    Connectors, Educational Counselors, and           between June 21 and August 11.
    affinity group participants across the globe.
                                                      Parents interested in hosting should send an
    Last year, the work or these volunteers           email to or call
    made it possible for the Parents Association 617-253-8183 before June 1.

    More Ways to Get Involved
    ADMITTED STUDENT EVENTS                          Many of these students are accompanied           Parent Connector, a current MIT parent
    The first opportunity admitted students          by their parents, and the initial impressions    volunteer available to answer questions with
    have to interact with the MIT community          of the parents play a critical role in a         the wisdom of experience.
    is through Admitted Student Events, which        student’s final decision about where to
    usually take place during spring break           attend college. During the weekend, there        Parent Orientation will be held Saturday,
    for high school students. These events           will be a number of events and programs          August 23–Monday, August 25.
    are organized and hosted by Educational          designed exclusively for these prospective
    Counselors, approximately 2,500 MIT              parents, and it is wonderful to have Parent      FAMILY WEEKEND
    graduates around the world who recruit,          Connectors on-site as ambassadors for MIT.       Not only does this event offer parents
    interview, and act as a community resource                                                        the chance to meet MIT faculty and
    for their regions.                               Campus Preview Weekend 2008 (CPW)                staff, participate in activities, and attend
                                                     will take place April 10–13, and the Parents     numerous entertaining and intellectual
    Parent Connectors may be contacted by an         Association needs volunteers to share their      presentations, it also highlights the strength
    Educational Counselor in their area and          MIT experiences and answer questions             and depth of the MIT community.
    asked to help with an event by welcoming         during parent registration, in the hospitality
    the students and their parents, participating    lounge, at the Academic Fair, and during         Last year, 45% of attendees were from
    in question and answer sessions, and             the Parent Reception.                            freshman families, unfamiliar with the
    sharing their MIT experiences.                                                                    campus and with many questions. Knowing
                                                     PARENT ORIENTATION                               that volunteers are waiting in the hospitality
    CAMPUS PREVIEW WEEKEND                           As first-year students arrive on campus, the     room to help them acclimate to the campus
    Campus Preview Weekend (CPW) gives               Parents Association welcomes new MIT             and possibly to being a new parent of a
    newly admitted students the opportunity          parents to the community and provides            college student is a great comfort and well
    to visit the MIT campus and plays a vital        resources to assist with their transition.       represents what being a part of the MIT
    role in helping prospective students decide                                                       community is about: support.
    whether or not to accept their offer of          The resource most valuable to the parent
    admission to MIT.                                of an MIT freshman is the presence of a

     The MIT Parent Connectors are our dedicated volunteers who serve as a resource for both MIT parents and parents of prospective
     students. If you are interested in becoming a Parent Connector, please call us at 617-253-8183 or send an email to

3   MIT Parents Association                                                         
    Underclassmen Giving Campaign
    The Public Service Center’s grant program         during the winter Independent Activities
    helps members of the MIT community                Period and the summer break.
    solve real-world problems by funding local,                                                        Parent Poll
    national, and international public service        In the first weeks of the campaign this year,
    projects. Grants have been awarded for            20.5% of underclassmen contributed more          How often do you talk to your
    everything from water filtration projects         than $3,500, not quite replenishing the          son or daughter at MIT?
    in South America to tutoring programs in          funding to once again offer four complete
    Boston and Cambridge.                             expeditions.                                        DAILY
    Last year, in just two weeks, 21% of the          It’s time for the MIT community to unite            MONTHLY
    freshman, sophomore, and junior classes           again to help our students continue making
    supported fellow MIT students and                                                                     QUARTERLY
                                                      an impact around the world!
    the Public Service Center through the
                                                                                                       Take less than a minute to answer this
    Underclassmen Giving Campaign. More               For more information about how you can           and related questions online. The results
    than $3,800 was raised, funding four              support the Public Service Center’s grant        will be published in the fall edition of
    expedition grants enabling MIT students           program, please visit:       Parents News. Visit the site below and
    to travel oversees and do volunteer work          mitpsc/about/support.html                        click on the survey link:


    Champions for the Fund
    The MIT Parents Fund Committee                    IRDF
    members are hard at work making                   For over 40 years, the Independent              HONOR with BOOKS
    calls to fellow MIT parents and raising           Residence Development Fund (IRDF)
    contributions for the priorities of the           has made long-term loans at favorable
    Parents Fund. Parents who have the chance         rates to independent living groups for
    to speak with a committee member will be          the acquisition, improvement, and
    able to discuss in detail the opportunities       maintenance of their houses. Today, 36
    provided by the Parents Association and the       independent residences house a third of all
    areas where support is needed most:               undergraduates.                                       “A-ha!”
    STUDENT LIFE NOW                                  UNRESTRICTED GIVING
    This fund is comprised of contributions           Unrestricted gifts go directly toward
    made by parents of MIT students who wish          solving the Institute’s most pressing needs
    to enhance student life on campus during          from providing scholarships to campus            The MIT Parents Association invites
    their student’s tenure at the Institute.          maintenance.                                     you to celebrate your student’s
                                                                                                       achievements at MIT by participating
    UROP                                              The Parents Fund Committee has given             in Honor with Books.
    The Undergraduate Research Opportunities          over $20,000 to the programs most
    Program (UROP) cultivates and supports            important to its members, including Honor        Each $100 donation will allow the
    research partnerships between MIT                 with Books, which builds the resources           MIT Libraries to purchase a book for
    undergraduates and faculty.                       of the MIT Libraries; the Public Service         their collection. A bookplate bearing
                                                      Center, which enriches the educational
                                                                                                       the name of your student will be placed
    ATHLETICS                                         and life experiences of students through
    The MIT Department of Athletics, Physical                                                          inside, and those who see it will know
                                                      leadership and service opportunities; and
    Education, and Recreation (DAPER)                 the priorities of the Parents Fund.              the book was purchased in honor of
    stresses not only the physical benefits of                                                         someone special, whose own quest for
    athletic activity, but also the critical skills   The Parents Association wishes to thank the      knowledge brought him or her to this
    that students develop through sports—self-        members of the Parents Fund Committee            extraordinary place.
    discipline, leadership, teamwork, and             for their time and efforts and the generous
    communication.                                    donors who have helped the Parents Fund          Honor with Books
                                                      attain over 60% of its goals of $800,000         is an MIT Parents Fund program
    FINANCIAL AID/SCHOLARSHIPS                        and 2,600 donors.                                in support of the MIT Libraries.
    MIT’s undergraduate financial aid packages                                               
    must be strengthened to continue to bring         To view committee memebers, donors, and          honor-with-books/
    the best students to the MIT campus and           the progress of the Parents Fund, visit
    protect the need-blind admissions policy.

4   MIT Parents Association                                                         
   Supporting Better Z’s by Zan Barry
   College students are among the most sleep     more likely to become obese than subjects       more than 2 days in the previous week.
   deprived individuals in the country, and      who slept 7 hours per night (August 2007).
   those at MIT are no exception. Students       In another study, healthy young adults          What can parents do to support better Z’s?
   from Next House to East Campus                deprived of slow-wave sleep for just 3 nights   • Students often live in crowded, bustling
   chronically pull “all-nighters” the night     developed insulin resistance—associated             environments. Healthy sleep patterns
   before psets (a.k.a. problem sets) are due—   with increased diabetes risk—comparable to          can be supported by comfortable
   but to what end? Many studies, including      a 20–30 pound weight gain (University of            bedding, earplugs, sleep masks, and
   one published in the January 2008 issue of    Chicago, December 2007).                            other light and noise cancellers.
   Behavioral Sleep Medicine, find that
   college students who sleep less perform       Research has reinforced that inadequate         • Notice the time stamps on the emails and
   worse academically.                           sleep impairs cognition and productivity,          voicemails you receive from your son
                                                 impairs mental health, increases feelings          or daughter. If you know they have a
   According to Xiaolu Hsi, Ph.D., a             of stress and anxiety, and depresses the           10 am class and are emailing you at
   psychologist at MIT Medical specializing      immune system. Sleep researchers indicate          4 am, remind them of the importance
   in psychotherapy and neuropsychology,         that 17–19 hours without sleep results             of sleep for physical, academic, and
   “Sleep not only helps to rest the brain and   in slower reaction time, word recall, and          emotional wellbeing.
   consolidate memory and learning, it helps     judgment to the same degree as having a         • Students need to remember that caffeine
   to minimize the damage sleep deprivation      Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) of .05.           and sugar are not a substitute for
   readily causes to one's learning, working,    24 hours without sleep has the effects of a         rest. If you want to send them a care
   and social functions.”                        more than .10 BAC, which is legally drunk           package during a stressful time of the
                                                 in all 50 states.                                   semester, consider healthful foods
   Unfortunately, sleep deprivation can be                                                           that provide sustained energy (such as
                                                 National College Health Assessment Survey
   a matter of “nerd pride” at MIT with                                                              whole grains) or a gift certificate for
                                                 Spring 2006: Number of Days in a Week
   students operating under the misguided        Respondents Awoke Rested                            a massage at the Zesiger Sports and
   assumption that being severely sleep                                                              Fitness Center: http://mitrecsports.
                                                         10%      11%             0 days
   deprived is an academic badge of honor.                                                           com/massage-therapy/registration-
   MIT Medical is working to get the truth                                        1-2 days
   across to the MIT community: adequate           45%                  34%       3-5 days
                                                                                  6-7 days
                                                                                                 • Recommended Reading: The Promise of
   sleepers not only perform better, but they            MIT Students
                                                                                                     Sleep by William C. Dement; Power
   are also healthier.
                                                                                                     Sleep by James B. Maas
                                                 In the spring of 2006, MIT students
   In recent sleep studies, researchers have     completed the National College Health
   identified major weight and diabetes risks    Assessment survey, which included the
   associated with inadequate sleep. In the      question “On how many of the past 7 days        Zan Barry is Health Educator for Stress
   Nurses Health Study, subjects who slept 5     did you get enough sleep so that you felt       Management and Resiliency at the Center
   hours per night were 32% percent more         rested when you woke up in the morning?”        for Health Promotion and Wellness at MIT
   likely to gain 33 pounds or greater and 15%   Nearly half of students (45%) felt rested no    Medical. She can be reached at

   Commencement: June 6, 2008
   Commencement is fast approaching,             doors will close from 9:45 am–10:15 am
   and parents of graduating seniors are         for the Procession. One ticket per guest is
   busy making arrangements for travel,          required for admission, including children
   accommodations, and post-ceremony             three years of age and older. Each graduate
   celebrations.                                 is allotted four tickets.

   With so much to do, it’s easy to overlook     The MIT Coop at Kendall Square offers
   something. To make sure everything is in      personalized graduation announcements
   order, Parents can access the Graduation      and manages the rental of regalia to
   Checklist, the official Commencement Web      graduating students. Orders for regalia
   site, information on diploma frames, and      will be taken in April, and orders for
                                                                                                 Muhammad Yunus, winner of the 2006
   more at   announcements may be placed at the store
                                                                                                 Nobel Peace Prize, will deliver MIT’s
   parents.html                                  or online. For more information, contact
                                                                                                 2008 Commencement address on June 6.
                                                 the MIT Coop in Kendall Square at
                                                                                                 Photo courtesy of MIT News Office
   Killian Court will open at 7:30 am for        617-499-3200 or visit their Web site at
   guests to begin seating. Please note that
5 MIT Parents Association                                                      
                                MIT Parents Association
                                77 Massachusetts Avenue, Building W59-200
                                Cambridge, MA 02139-4307

              March                                Inside This Issue:                                               POINT OF PRIDE:
              24–28    Spring Vacation
                                                   Connect Infinitely: New Online Services ..............1           MIT Professor Is
              April                                Catching Up with the Chaplain ............................1      First Recipient of
              10-13    Campus Preview Weekend      Upcoming Volunteer Opportunities .....................3          Science Prize
              21, 22   Patriots Day–Vacation       Underclassmen Giving Campaign ........................4
                                                                                                                    For the full story, visit:
                                                   Champions for the Fund ......................................4
                                                   MIT Medical: Supporting Better Z’s...................... 5       newsoffice/2008/
              15       Last day of classes                                                                          weinberg-prize-0131.
              19–23    Final Exams                 Commencement 2008 .........................................5

              6        Commencement

              Send-Off Events
                                              Save t
                                                     he               Family Weekend
              June 21–August 10
                                                                       Friday, October 17–Sunday, October 19
                                                      h t t p :/ / a l u m.mi t .e d u / p a re n t s / f a mi l y - weekend

                   MIT Parents News          77 Massachusetts Avenue, Room W59-200                        Cambridge, MA 02139             e-mail:              Phone: (617) 253-8183             Fax: (617) 258-6211

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