A Letter to Prospective Members

Nick Mosher August 26, 2019

Hey there!

If you’ve made it this far, you’re probably thinking about becoming a member. That’s great! We need curious and motivated people like you. I want to take a minute and walk you through our intro process so that you know what to expect; there’s a handful of steps involved and I want you to have a clear idea of what you’re getting yourself into.

The majority of the intro process takes place during the first 10 weeks of school. The first 2 weeks are what we call “packet season”. Packet season is all about meeting people - we want CSH to be a tight-knit community, so we believe that every member should meet every other member. A Packet is a list of the names of all active CSH members, and one is given to every intro member. Your job as an incoming CSHer is to seek out and meet as many active members as you can. This isn’t as easy as hide-and-seek. Once you find an upperclassman, you have to put in an effort to genuinely get to know them! Ask them about what their interests are, what projects they’ve done, or how their co-op experiences have gone. Active members will sign your packet if they think you’d make a good member of CSH, which is usually the case if you show that you’re passionate and interested in what you do. After packet season is over, we’ll count up all of the signatures you’ve collected. If you get a passing percentage of signatures, congratulations! You’ll receive a CSH account and gain access to all of our house computer services. If not, there’s still hope! The packet is just one component of your 10-week evaluation.

We have a handful of other objectives for you during the 10-week intro process. These requirements are intended to introduce you to our house culture and traditions, and are things that active members continue to do throughout their entire membership. One of the first things we ask you to do is attend some of our directorship meetings. Each of our 7 directors hosts a weekly meeting where they discuss ongoing projects, upcoming events, or other news that falls in their domain. Intro members are expected to attend any 10 directorship meetings during the 10-week evaluation period, preferably at least one a week. Another cornerstone of CSH culture is the presentation of technical seminars! Technical seminars early in the year are usually given by upperclassmen and tend to focus on introducing you to the world of computer science. Common early-year topics include setting up basic coding tools, intro to Linux operating systems, version control for code, and more. Upperclassmen volunteer a lot of time to prepare seminars, so we ask every intro member to attend at least 2 of them during their 10 weeks. Plus, this is a special-interest house for computer science, you probably want to attend as many seminars as you can.

Our last but most important requirement is for you to attend all of our house meetings. House meetings happen every Sunday at 7:15pm, and are where the directors summarize house news and events for the past week and upcoming weeks. This meeting is required because it’s the one time we have a chance to address all of house together, and is when we make large decisions as a group. Though we require you to attend every house meeting, we also understand that life happens. If you can’t make it because you’re sick or out of town, just let our Evaluations director know and they’ll write a note about your absence.

At the end of the 10-week intro process, all of the upperclassmen gather together to vote on intro members. During this meeting, we look at the big picture of how well you’ve met the requirements and who you are as a person. Did you attend at least 10 directorship meetings? Did you get a good score on packet? Are you a curious and engaged member? Are you friendly and light-hearted? Remember, we want CSH to be a welcoming and inclusive community, but we’re also looking for the mad scientist in each of you.

I hope that this has given you a good idea of what to expect when signing up for CSH. It’s a crazy ride for sure, but it’s totally worth it. If anything, I hope I’ve talked you into applying. I look forward to meeting you all when school starts!


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