Polar bear swims, pig parties, intramural sports, donut hours at the WHOI student center, volunteer science coaching... students have many opportunities to build community within the Joint Program, within their MIT departments, and across disciplines.
Sports, both organized and informal, are favorite after work and lunchtime activities. There are intramural teams through MIT departments and the Joint Program, pickup soccer and volleyball games, track practice every week, and regular nights of volleyball or racquetball at the Falmouth Sports Center or the MIT gym. WHOI has an intramural softball league with a dozen teams. The coastline offers opportunities for fun as well as science: many students windsurf, kayak, sail, and swim.
The MIT Graduate Student Council runs several committees focused on housing/community affairs, social get-togethers, fund-raising, and talks. Yet another option is a department-specific student organization such as the EAPS Graduate Student Advisory Council (EGSAC), which organizes activities for EAPS graduate students. The MIT Biology department has a similar organization called Bio99.
Going to sea—whether for the summer sail for first-year students or to conduct research—forges community in a relatively short, intense period. Joint Program students share their excitement for ocean science with local junior high and high school students by volunteering to teach Science Club, as science fair judges, serving as coaches for independent science projects, and participating in the regional competition of the National Ocean Science Bowl as judges and timekeepers.
Students participate in the social activities of their MIT departments when they are in Cambridge. In addition, the Joint Program has its own unique social calendar, kicked off by a gala at the beginning of the year.