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 http://alum.mit.edu/parents 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. http://web.mit.edu/newsoffice/2008/cancer-
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 http://alum.mit.edu/travel.
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. email@example.com • 800-992-6749 • alum.mit.edu/travel
I am the Chaplain to the
2 MIT Parents Association http://alum.mit.edu/parents/ firstname.lastname@example.org
Summer Send-Off Events: Hosts Needed
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 email@example.com 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 firstname.lastname@example.org
3 MIT Parents Association http://alum.mit.edu/parents/ email@example.com
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: http://web.mit.edu/ 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 http://alum.mit.edu/parents/
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. https://giving.mit.edu/liveRoster
4 MIT Parents Association http://alum.mit.edu/parents/ firstname.lastname@example.org
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
• 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 email@example.com
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 http://alum.mit.edu/parents/senior- 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 http://web.mit.edu/thecoop/
5 MIT Parents Association http://alum.mit.edu/parents/ firstname.lastname@example.org
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 http://web.mit.edu/
MIT Medical: Supporting Better Z’s...................... 5 newsoffice/2008/
15 Last day of classes weinberg-prize-0131.
19–23 Final Exams Commencement 2008 .........................................5
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
http://alum.mit.edu/parents e-mail: email@example.com Phone: (617) 253-8183 Fax: (617) 258-6211