A few weeks ago, Susan Lanza (the undergraduate administrator for MIT’s Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences a.k.a. Course 9) sent out the following email:
“I , and the department are looking for 4-6 volunteers from each class who would like to have lunch on Tuesday, April 26, 2011 with the Visiting Committee. The Visiting Committee is made up of members of the MIT Corp., faculty from other schools and donors/sponsors to both the department and the Institute. You must be available from 12-1:00 pm.
Every 2 years all departments through out MIT are reviewed by these committees, different cast of characters. This is a very important process, the Visiting Committee meets with undergrads, grads, junior faculty and tenured faculty separately to assess the state of the department. Your feedback is vital to this process.
If you are interested in participating please respond to this e-mail with your name and your year. In the case of too many volunteers we will pick names from a hat.”
I RSVP-ed attending to this lunch event for two main reasons:
(1) I didn’t really know much about Visiting Committees but thought they sounded neat.
and, of course:
(2) Free food is always good :)
The lunch in question ended approximately 41 minutes ago and seriously just made me love MIT more. The members of the Visiting Committee were, as expected, incredibly legit. If you check out this list here, you might even recognize a few names, like…oh, I don’t know the McGovern of the the McGovern Institute for Brain Research at MIT or maybe the Whitehead of MIT’s Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research? Yeah, like I said: legit.
For about an hour, the Visiting Committee listened to us share our thoughts on the Brain/Cognitive Sciences major, listening to both the criticisms and the compliments we doled out. Several of the V.C. members took detailed notes on what we had to say and asked us follow-up questions whenever they wanted to know more.
They made me feel so special. Yeah, MIT has 4,000+ undergrads, but these people take time out of their days and lives to come and listen to us, to report on what we say, to champion our cause, and to make changes in the department based on our feedback.
I know there are a lot of you who still haven’t fully decided whether or not to enroll here at MIT. Though I have no awe-inspiring advice or foolproof wisdom, I can tell you that if you do come here, you will be taken care of. People will seek you out, ask to hear your ideas, treat your suggestions seriously. You will have an impact on your school, your community, your world. You will have the chance to better what already exists and create what doesn’t.
And you might have just as hard a time as I am right getting over the fact that I spent an hour of my life sitting next to the incrediblyy nice Susan Whitehead. Ahh!
P.S. A shoutout to my CPW prefrosh, who can now offically call herself Mihika ’15 :) Can’t wait to meet more of you ’15s in the fall!