Concourse Exploration and Community Engagement

Concourse Requirements for Fall 2022/Spring 2023

All Concourse students should

  1. register for a Concourse Humanities CI-H or CI-HW subject (CC.110 or CC.115), and at least one additional Concourse math or science GIR (CC.801, CC.8012, CC.1802, and/or CC.5111),
  2. join the Concourse advising seminar (CC.010), which is 12-2 pm on Fridays. Each seminar has a short reading assignment and pre-seminar response due on Thursday evening. Lunch is provided!
  3. complete the Concourse Exploration and Community Engagement component of the Concourse advising seminar, described below.


First Year Exploration and Community Engagement

Intellectual exploration and community engagement are core elements of the Concourse mission. As part of the Concourse advising seminar, each student will select and attend at least one academic seminar and one Concourse community event during the Fall semester.

Academic Seminars. MIT offers a range of academic seminars that allow you to sample different disciplines at their most inspiring and cutting edge, including departmental seminar series and visiting lectures. These events take place every day at and around MIT, but many students do not discover them until late in their undergraduate careers, if at all. By attending an academic seminar in your first semester, we hope you will establish a habit of supplementing what you learn in the classroom with what you find outside of it.

Community Engagement. Concourse community events happen year-round and are open to all Concourse students, from first years to seniors. Past opportunities have included discussion groups on current events and economics, monthly remedial movie nights, countless cooking and baking events, theater and museum outings, science outreach projects, local hikes, city walks, and opportunities to use a printing press, to name a few. Concourse events are opportunities to take a break from schoolwork, strengthen connections, and explore and reflect as a community.

We look forward to hearing about what you discover on those occasions when you set homework aside temporarily to engage in a different type of learning.

Finding academic seminars and community events
MIT has a (non-comprehensive) events calendar (,) and most departments maintain their own calendars with seminars and events.

Throughout the fall semester, staff will announce recommended academic seminars and Concourse community events on the CC.110 Canvas site.

Logistical Details
You should attend at least one academic seminar and one Concourse community engagement event before Friday, November 4.

Within a day or so of each event, you should fill out a short form providing information and brief feedback on the experience. This should take less than three minutes! There are a separate forms for academic seminars ( and for Concourse community events (

We will dedicate the November 4th Friday seminar to sharing exploration experiences.  This will include a lightening round of sharing in which each of you will have one minute to reflect on one of your events by addressing a reflection question provided below. More details will be provided in October.

Reflection questions

Questions to consider as and after you attend a seminar or community event:

  • What did you expect going into this event? How does that compare to what you experienced?
  • What new questions do you have?
  • If the event was in a discipline related to one of your classes, how did the content or approach differ from or reinforce what you are learning in class?
  • Was the event inspiring? depressing? confusing? What made it so?
  • What is something about the experience that was meaningful for you?
  • Are you hoping to attend more seminars, performances, etc. in this field? Why or why not?


Guidelines for a meaningful experience at MIT or off-campus events

There are a few guidelines you can follow to get the most out of a seminar or performance. Most importantly, you should do a little research before the event. This could simply mean looking at a lab website or Wikipedia page for a speaker. For an art exhibit, you could a read an article or information from the museum or curator website. Having a little context as you go into a lecture or performance can have a huge impact on what you get out of the experience.

Some people find it useful to have a notebook dedicated to seminars and lectures. During a seminar, you may find it helpful to jot down notes and questions. Many speakers particularly appreciate questions from students, and we encourage you to participate in question-answer sessions. In some disciplines, it is common to preface your question by first thanking the speaker for their talk. Feel free to spread this practice to other disciplines by your example!

For any event, on or off campus, we trust you will be outstanding representatives of Concourse. This includes being respectful by arriving on time and by keeping your phones silent and out of sight. If you are taking notes on a laptop or tablet, please make sure that email and all other applications are closed at all times.  We also encourage you to experience the different mental process engendered by taking notes longhand if you have rarely done it!