You think your parents are rough…

Alright, so side note: there's a fire alarm going off across the hall, so I needed to help out with that. You know, Olin students helping each other out. Anyway, sorry I'm late with the post. (Also I wanted some opinions on the post before publishing, so sorry I'm now days late with the post).

So if you think your parents are rough, you really ought to try governing yourself. It is far worse. Way more guilt. Let me give you a recent example, surrounded by a little reflection on the Honor Code. So one of the things I love most about Olin is the Honor Code. I could go on and on and on about what amazing things the Honor Code does for our social lives and our personal interactions, but today's story is in regards to the administration. Because we are an Honor Code campus and, more importantly, we observe our Honor Code, the administration here trusts us. We are given 24 hour access to all of the buildings on campus, 20 hour access to all machine shops and labs with a whole lot of expensive equipment in them, assignment and test turn in boxes in the library (plenty of take home tests), and no police patrols of any of the buildings.

So what happened recently? Well, something unprecedented. The class of 2010, having had such a great time at the BECC (Babson Executive Conference Center, where candidates who come with no parents stay) on their Candidates' Weekend and also wanting to spend more time with these awesome high school seniors, decided to visit the candidates there on Saturday night, after the first weekend was over. By some accounts it was a great experience had by all, while others felt that the candidates were crowded and felt awkward with up to twenty Olin students surrounding them. Either way, there were some concerns raised from students and administration alike about whether or not this is something we should do.

So what happened?

Well, at any other school you might get an edict from the administration or demands from Admissions. Not at Olin. Representatives from our class (this primarily concerned the class of 2010, as no other class had really done this before) met with representatives from admissions and the Office of Student Life to ask their opinions on the subject. We all decided that the best thing to do would be to have a class discussion about the issue. OSL and admissions were both worried about it, but they agreed to let us handle the issue on our own. So on the Wednesday night between CW1 and CW2 the class of 2010 had a well attended class meeting to discuss what we thought about the thing. We came to a consensus that it is best to interact with the candidates on campus, in order to be fair to all candidates, and not to try to relive our candidates' weekend through the class of 2011. It is important to note that we also discussed how everyone was still able to do what they wished, despite the strong class consensus, and that the class CORe and Honor Board reps (who were hosting the discussion) were not going to issue demands. As always, the only thing governing each person's actions was the Honor Code and what they felt to be the right thing to do. I'm not sure whether the off campus interaction was repeated the second weekend or not, and I frankly don't want to. I know that whatever people did this last weekend, they did it with full knowledge of the arguments for and against voiced by the different bodies of the school, and I trust Olin students so much that I will never believe that they would act without the best of intentions. I was so proud of my class for handling themselves so well, and am so happy that I'm at a school where the administration trusts us enough to give us leeway to self-govern.

Coincidently, that same day we had a school wide discussion about the use of public resources. It's been sort of a problem here, and now the school is working together to find a solution. I am very excited. Yay self-governance!

The take home message here is: it is one thing to do something because someone else, like a parent, is making you do it. It is an entirely different thing to have the maturity to act because you have used your own judgment and come to a decision about what you think is right. We are not only training engineers here, but also responsible adults. Sigh. I love Olin.

On a side note, here are some pictures from our ghetto-fabulous engineering project to make the fire alarm quieter until facilities arrived to shut it off. (Note: the smoke from the burned pizza had gone, and the alarm just needed reset from a panel downstairs. This project did not increase the possibility of fire in the building).

Ghetto Fabulous Engineering 3

So to dampen the sound, we filled a box with towels and placed it over the fire alarm. Unfortunately, the box was heavy, so we couldn't just duct tape it to the ceiling. Instead we had to find a way to support it from the bottom. Lacking any sort of string, and fresh out of duct tape, we decided upon a sheet. You can see the outline of the box if you look close enough.

Ghetto-Fabulous Engineering 1

One side of the sheet was attached to the ceiling with push pins. Originally I had placed the push pins on the bottom of the beam, but that didn't work. Then my friend Evan decided to place the pins on the side of the beam. This worked because now the force of the pull was normal to the direction of the pin, rather than applying the pull tangentially to the direction of the pin.

Ghetto Fabulous Engineering 2

Finally, we were able to clamp the sheet into the ventilation duct. We removed this assembly as soon as the alarm was shut off, because, well, we really like fresh air.

Thanks for reading!

-Jeff Moore, Class of 2010

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