Fall of 2016

By Lawrence Lai

Over the summer, virtually nothing happened. There was one event where we led a bunch of HKU students around (and that was fun), a dinner with Siu On, a thesis defense of Seven where only Lawrence and Grace went. Other than that, HKSS was stagnant due to the fact that nobody was really in town.

With the fall semester, we were looking for hyped up new students, as well as more involved returning members.

Recruitment events were all over the campus in September. This year HKSS capitalized on the activities midway (we haven’t in at least three years, since I didn’t see one the year I joined) and attracted a few members. The booth was pretty depressing though. People were showing up in front of adjacent booths, and there were always multiple members manning said booths; as for HKSS, we had very few recruits in the front, and problems getting even one person to be there (we found a not so elegant solution in the end).

Immediately following that, Sid-Pac hosted a multicultural brunch; I was almost discouraged to the point that I was going to forfeit that one, until Godine, who was visiting at the time, volunteered to drive me around to pick up food. The two of us picked the pace back up and ordered food from China Pearl. The front desk lady thought I was a freak, trying to hoard all that food; she seemed pretty happy that we made such huge business though. I brought the food to Sid-Pac.

Within five minutes, all that food was gone. Had to go save a plate for Zi, who I promised to hand food to when she arrives. For the remainder of the hour that I was around Sid-Pac, I watched the food slowly go away on the other countries’ cuisines. Had a couple of sign ups on our mailing list. I declare that a victory.

But with all due honesty, this massive jackpot is disguising what really is an incremental victory. It is made very clear to me that people around MIT (or Sid-Pac at the very least) care about the food that we can give. The charm of our organization is literally the fact that we can hand out $350 worth of Dim Sum and get it emptied in five minutes; that’s not an achievement to write home about. That’s depressing, if that’s all our organization does.

Immediately following these recruitment events, we pushed a few events to have the new members remember us. First, there was a dinner during the night of the Sid-Pac event. The roster included old members such as Godine and Angus who are ready to leave, and a couple few new faces Horton and Qiao.

On the subsequent week we threw a welcoming party in McCormick Hall. Good news was, a lot of new people showed up (there were twenty or so people who showed up, only eight of us were old members). Bad news though, I found it an extremely lame gathering. Few reasons behind this; first and most importantly, McCormick Hall was too hot for any of us to handle, and apparently there weren’t air conditioners around. Second, I was told that I brought out the board games too late. Third, I think the cool members of the party (Grace and Joanne, arguably) didn’t show up (or in Joanne’s case she showed up near the end of it). Made things turn pretty poorly.

While I was discouraged at home about how lame it was, a few of us came up with a rendezvous at Clover for a more temperature controlled hangout. There was Andrew, Kevin, and Patrick; Natalie also planned on showing up but we didn’t have her contact information. There I learned that there are actually people who dig the interpersonal relations in the organization, and that it’s not all about food.

On the second weekend of the semester, Lawrence does a house party for the mid-autumn festival. Turnout was great, and we were introduced to at least two new members (Stephanie, Gabriel; there were four or five other new faces, not sure how committed these guys are). I briefly had to worry about the capacity of the house.

Finboard allocations got through after that. HKSS is allotted $800 out of the $2000 we applied; percentage wise this doesn’t look like a great figure, but on an absolute scale, $800 is enough for two or three good events to the end of December. It’s not like we have the staff to keep hosting a recurring stream of events.

We are now on the week before Columbus Day. Doesn’t sound like we will be hiking this year, since most people are not around during that weekend.

There’s a lot going on Lawrence’s brain out of these events. Check the other article to find out more.