Well, even though we’ve gone back to on-line classes it seems there was no stopping O Week this year. They are back and bubbling over with enthusiasm, sending me into hiding until it’s over. I recently came across this short report produced by a student-faculty committee that studied how best to manage freshman orientation. It was written just at the moment the college system was about to come into existence. It’s dated February, 1957 and the move into the colleges happened that March. The genesis of the college system was not welcomed by everyone, and in fact there was pretty stout opposition from some students. It took several years for loyalty to one’s class year to be replaced by loyalty to the colleges and this report reads more or less as though the dominant social groups would continue to be the classes. (And note that it’s signed by Burt McMurtry, who served on the committee that recommended the switch to the college system and provided the original design.) Which shows us nothing, I suppose, except that it’s very hard to anticipate precisely how change will play out.
The other thing that jumps out of this document is the repeated insistence that there be no hazing and that participation be absolutely voluntary. Hazing of freshmen by sophomores had been a feature of student life at the Institute from the beginning but the 1956 deaths of two students who got trapped in the Campanile brought great resolve to the effort to do away with it. It’s my sense that it did largely disappear, but only gradually.
Bonus: The new field turf looks really nice!
The old stuff awaits disposal: