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Student Clubs at MIT—FAQs and the Fresher’s Fair

One of the most awaited aspects of student life is the opportunity to become a part of a fraternity on campus. However, the dizzying number of student bodies at MIT might seem overwhelming for a fresher. Confusion is bound to arise about which clubs are best, how one goes about joining a club, and what the process of club recruitment entails. This article aims to bring some clarity by answering some of the most frequently asked questions about clubs at MIT.

Which clubs should I join at MIT?

You can join almost any club that you want to! MIT has a vibrant student club culture that caters to a wide range of interests and skills. More importantly, all these clubs are eager to recruit a new crop of talented and enthusiastic freshers to take their legacy forward.

For those wishing to put their engineering skills to the test, there are several technical clubs that will help you further your knowledge of engineering subjects. From computer science and IT-focused clubs to the various branch-specific clubsthere are numerous opportunities to learn.

The Student Projects take it a notch further and allow you to fully immerse yourself in hands-on engineering.  Although the amount of effort and hours required to be put into these projects may seem taxing, you can rest assured that the results are rewarding. A lot of these clubs have participated in national and international-level competitions and brought many laurels home.

For the more artistically or culturally-inclined, there are music, art, drama, dance, writing, debate, designing, film, manga, fashion clubs, and more. With such a profusion of options to select from, there is a high probability that you will find your corner in at least one of them.  In addition to this, there are also a few public-speaking clubs and social welfare clubs. MIT also houses local chapters of international organisations that offer global exposure to students on campus.

There is no limit to the number of clubs you can apply for—therefore, you have the freedom to explore your interests through any of the clubs on campus. To get a head start, you can take a look at this handy guide about the clubs at MIT.

What is the ‘interaction ban’?

To prevent any instances of ragging, and to allow first-years to settle into college life, formal interactions between seniors and first years are prohibited. This does not mean you cannot talk to seniors. However, most events will not be open to freshers for participation and attendance. The interaction ban lasts until the end of the first sessional test, i.e. 9th September.

When can I join the clubs? 

Most clubs hold recruitments after the first Sessional Test, that is, after the end of the interaction ban, in September. Clubs publicise their recruitment details through social media, class-to-class publicity, and posters. Some clubs may also hold events specially tailored for freshers in the week following the first Sessionals, where more details about their recruitments can be communicated. Student Projects, however, carry out their recruitments at different times around the academic year, and publicise them well, to make sure you don’t miss them.

It may be a good idea to keep a note of the recruitment dates and venues of the clubs that you are interested in, so as to avoid missing the recruitment, since many clubs hold recruitments only once a year. Most clubs do, however, hold recruitments on multiple days so that you don’t miss out on any opportunity.

How many clubs can I be a member of? 

There is no limit to the number of clubs that you can be a part of. However, by the end of their first year, most people find it possible to be active, contributing members of at most three clubs, while maintaining good academic performance and a healthy lifestyle.

What happens at club recruitments? 

This mainly depends on the type of club whose recruitment is being considered. A large number of clubs require you to take a written test followed by a round of interviews. On the other hand, certain clubs may hold rigorous interviews, group discussions, and tasks for applicants. The performing arts clubs will, in most cases, require you to give an audition on the basis of your skill. As a general rule of thumb, most Student Projects conduct a written test and successive interview, followed by a long-term ‘task phase’which involves conducting research or doing projects based on the chosen sub-system and submitting the reports. Success or failure in such recruitments, to a large extent, depends mostly on your knowledge of the topic that is being tested, and your willingness to contribute to the club.

The Student Council has initiated a new event this yearThe Fresher’s Fairto familiarise first-years with the various clubs on campus. 

The Fresher’s Fair will be conducted after class hours from 31st July to 5th August and will give clubs the opportunity to present themselves to first years.  The first event of its kind in MIT, it is being conducted under the AICTE Student Induction Program and forms a part of the orientation for first-years.

The clubs have been divided into three categoriesSports and Cultural Clubs, Technical Clubs, and Student Projects, for the convenience of students. Twelve sections will participate in the Fair per day with four sections attending the slots for each category. In this way, the students will have plenty of time to learn about all the clubs that they are interested in.

Clubs participating in the Fair will each have their own stall and may also stage performances to publicise themselves. Students can explore the stalls and interact with the clubs in between performances as well as during them. They can also look forward to games and enjoyable activities as clubs put their best face forward to vie for the attention of freshers. This fair may also give them a chance to see demonstrations of the Student Projects for themselves. If they want to look back on the details of each club, students can refer to the Student Council’s website about student clubs at MIT.

In addition to this, students can also join the official freshers’ group on Facebook. There will soon be a round of posts with representatives of various clubs introducing themselves on the group. Students can use this opportunity to acquaint themselves with the activities of the clubs and take a first step towards deciding which club they eventually want to be a part of.