Ideas for Welcoming New Members/Building Group Cohesion

There are many alternatives to hazing that can help provide positive, inclusive experiences for new members of your organization.

A successful new member education program should…

  • Encourage individual development and success.
  • Assist first-year students and/or new members in their transition to college life, MIT, and your group, organization or living community.
  • Build respect for the individual.
  • Stimulate intellectual, social, and emotional growth.
  • Promote an understanding of the organization and its history, mission, purpose, and values.
  • Promote social responsibility and a healthy lifestyle.
  • Promote friendship and interpersonal skills.
  • Promote a sense of community within the larger MIT community.
  • Promote diversity and the exchange of ideas.

Examples of positive new member experiences:


  • Participate in a leadership retreat/weekend with a ropes course and teambuilding activities.
  • Hike some of New England’s finest trails.
  • Host a dinner and movie night or choose a documentary to make the event more educational.
  • Have a trivia night, including Institute and organizational history.


  • Create an intramural team. Have new members compete in basketball, volleyball, or softball games against current members or other groups.
  • Attend an MIT athletic event on campus.
  • Attend a professional sporting event in Boston (e.g. Red Sox, Bruins, or Patriots).

Community Service/Philanthropy

  • Mentoring
    • Set up a “big brother/big sister” mentoring program. Assign the mentor responsibility for teaching about the values of the organization and check-in regarding their involvement and experience within the organization as well as academic performance.
    • Have the mentor take a new member out to dinner or to an athletic or cultural event at least three times.
  • Participate in a group community service project on campus or in the community.


  • Sponsor roundtable discussion on topics important to the team or organization.
  • Attend an educational speaker program of new members’ choice and discuss as an organization.
  • Invite alumni to come back and share post-graduate advice, how to navigate life after college.