Monthly Archives: February 2013

Update on Cambridge Entertainment Licenses

Hello MIT Student Orgs!

We have an update from our friends over in the Campus Activities Complex (CAC)  that the City of Cambridge has upped the price of one-day Entertainment Licenses.  Instead of $40, they now cost $50.  Please bear this in mind as you budget and prepare for your events.

Why would you need an entertainment license?  Please keep these criteria in mind:

Massachusetts defines entertainment as “theatrical exhibitions, public shows, public amusements and exhibitions of every description.”  A license should be obtained if an event: “will have entertainment rather than academic learning as its main purpose” AND “will include an admission fee/mandatory donation OR the serving of alcohol.”

So, MIT student orgs, if you are having an entertainment based event, the price is now higher for a Cambridge license.  But, don’t let that deter from planning great and unique events for the MIT community.  

And remember…

Bill & Teds Excellent Adventure – 1989


–Joel P.

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Filed under Beyond MIT, Student Activities Updates

Save All Receipts!

Save the whal… or, rather, Save The Receipts!

How not to keep your receipts filed or organized!









When being reimbursed for a purchase you have made on behalf of your student group, you are required to submit “documentation”.  But what really does this word mean?  Documentation means that the person being reimbursed needs to prove what they purchased and how they purchased it.  These two factors are referred to as the Itemized Receipt and the Proof of Purchase.

Let’s use the restaurant example:  You finish lunch at a restaurant and the price comes to $25.  The waiter drops the receipt and you pay with a credit card.  The waiter takes your credit card and brings you back something to sign.  You add a $5 tip (feeling generous) and….now what?

You actually need everything in the little black book; the receipt which shows the price and everything which you ordered (itemized receipt) AND the credit card slip which you signed (proof of payment).  If you are paying cash, you will need to ask the waiter to go a get you a cash receipt (proof of payment).

Without both of these, Proof of Payment & Itemized Receipt, you will not be reimbursed.  Lesson for today:  SAVE ALL RECEIPTS.


— Colin

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Filed under Financial Resources, Student Activities Updates

Celebrate Purim at the 1st Annual Queen Esther’s Ball

Looking for something to check out and enjoy on Saturday, February 23rd?  Graduate Hillel and Rainbow Coffeehouse have a solution for you: the first annual Queen Esther’s Ball!

Starting at 8pm in Morss Hall at Walker Memorial, Queen Esther’s Ball will be gathering fit for a queen. Come celebrate Purim with your friends at Graduate Hillel and Rainbow Coffeehouse with a creative telling of the story of Purim, followed by a tremendous evening of groggers, hamantaschen, and dancing. Come dressed in costume!  Guests will learn the story of Purim at 8pm, and then afterwards, everyone can dance the night away with a DJ and free food (but not DJ Free Food).

Wondering what Purim is all about?  MIT student Joshua Anderson provides us this background:

Purim is the story of Queen Esther and her brave actions, which save the Jewish people of Persia.  Queen Esther foils the plans of the evil Haman by sharing his plans with the King of Persia, Ahasuerus. Over time, Purim has taken on a Carnival-like atmosphere that reflects the topsy-turvy, unpredictable nature of life. People also dress up in all sorts of masks and costumes as G-d is not mentioned in the text, and also because Queen Esther’s uncle, Mordechai, is paraded around town in royal garb. 

Esther keeps her Jewish identity to herself when she is chosen to replace Queen Vashti. However, Mordechai impresses on her the importance of being true to herself and reminds her of the power that she has to intervene on behalf of her people. Even though she could risk death, Queen Esther interrupts King Ahasuerus and tells the King about the plight that she and her people face. Queen Esther’s “coming out” as Jewish as a decision that she makes reluctantly because she overweights the extremely negative outcomes but a decision that ultimately brings her and her people a life of peace and joy. Many LGBT people can relate to Esther’s decision to be honest when faced with potentially horrible outcomes if she acts and if she does not. Most can also relate to the life-giving results when they, like Esther, ultimately reject the comfortable facades they had developed to build new relationships and lives based on honesty.

If you have any questions about the event, make sure you contact!


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Filed under Student Activities Updates

Cheers to Charm School


“Charm is the ability to make someone else think that both of you are pretty wonderful”

                                                            -Kathleen Windsor

In 1993 Professor of Literature Travis Merritt started a program where he would hand out violations to students in Lobby 10 over IAP.  Students with violations could show up to a program called Charm School and take part in mini-sessions on everything relative to fashion and social graces.  20 years later the Charm School program lives on and took place on February 1, 2013 in the Student Center.  Over 25 workshops were offered and more than 80 students participated in the day.  Today Charm School sessions cover the topics of professional development, fashion, and leadership to name a few.  MIT staff get excited to put together their sessions but also to interact with undergraduate and graduate students in a different way.  It is always fulfilling to see how excited students get about the sessions and I am sure if Dr. Merritt were alive to day it would warm his heart to see this great MIT tradition continuing.

Here’s to another 20 years of Charm School at MIT!


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Filed under Charm School, Events, Leadership

Cambridge Entertainment License Issues from this past weekend

Hello MIT student orgs!

As we all dig out from the snow storm this past weekend, and splish splash around in the puddles on campus, SAO just wanted to update you on some issues that may have resulted from MIT being closed all weekend last weekend.

via Mashable









If your organization had an event scheduled for Friday-Sunday, and you 1) had to cancel it due to the institution being closed, and 2) purchased a City of Cambridge Entertainment License for the event, we have some good news.

Once you figure out and reschedule a new date, time, and location for your cancelled event, please make sure you fill out a new event registration form again.  The good news is that you will not have to purchase a completely new Cambridge Entertainment License, they will simply transfer your license from this last weekend to your new date, at no charge.

Do make sure to bring a copy of your old event registration and license documentation, and your new event registration forms, and they will transfer it over no problem.


If you are still experiencing issues or trouble in rescheduling an event from this past weekend, please let us know, we want to help your organization out!


–Joel P.

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Filed under Around MIT, Events, Student Activities Updates

Signatory Trainings and Reimbursements… AKA, MONEY!

MIT works with vendors utilizing a payables policy of Net 30, which means that MIT strives to pay all its obligations within 30 days of receipt of service.  Notice this is not 30 days after you get the bill, but 30 days after the vendor or entertainer provided their services.  This policy works well for student groups working with outside vendors, but what about reimbursements to students?  What policy should we use for reimbursing members of your organization?

I would like to suggest that all Treasurers of student groups adopt a Net 10 policy for reimbursement to students, ensuring they will receive their reimbursement within two weeks.  It is important to remember that the process doesn’t end with the electronic reimbursement submission to SAO.  There can be up to a week from that time before the check or direct deposit reaches the student.  Treasurers must be mindful of this timeline when developing their own internal systems to provide funds back to organization members.


Finally, it is very important that the submission of the reimbursement is done correctly, as incorrect submissions can cause significant delays in the reimbursement process.  The SAO offers Signatory Trainings each semester for any organization Treasurers interested, and is perfect for first time Treasurers or those looking for a refresher on the process!

The Signatory Trainings are happening in the next couple of weeks, starting tonight, so make sure you get to one soon!

Tuesday, Feb 12 from 6-7pm in 56-114

Thursday, Feb 14 from 6-7pm in 3-133

Wednesday, Feb 20 from 6-7pm in 3-133

Thursday, Feb 21 from 6-7pm in 3-133

Please visit the SAO website or email Colin Codner ( for additional details.




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Filed under Financial Resources, Student Activities Updates

Snow Storm Approaches This Weekend

In case you haven’t seen yet, a pretty significant winter storm is approaching New England this weekend, threatening to dump everywhere from 6 inches to 2 feet of snow on the Boston/Cambridge area.

We want to encourage everyone to stay safe this weekend!   Limit your travel as needed, keep an eye on the MBTA so you know if transportation is still a good option to get around the city, and stock up on snacks and essentials (just in case!).

If your student organization is planning on having an event this weekend, take a second look at your audience, where they are coming from, and whether this storm coming in affects the safety of your attendees.  If so, consider postponing your event for a later date.  If you need to cancel your event this weekend for any reason, walk, don’t run, to the nearest computer and email to work with the CAC on figuring out a new date and venue for your event.  CAC and SAO want to ensure that you event is not only successful, but also safe.

Apart from staying safe and warm, enjoy what will hopefully be a pretty (heavy and thick) blanket of snow over our area this weekend.  Stay inside, hangout with friends, catch up on your first week of P-sets, read a good book, sip on some hot chocolate.  Additionally, if there is place where you can roll some snow-people or snow-creatures up, here is some inspiration from my personal favorite, Calvin and Hobbes.  Enjoy, stay warm, and stay safe!

–Joel P.


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Filed under Around MIT, Student Activities Updates

Beaver Leader Spotlight for Students and Student Organizations!

We have a new and exciting program within the L.E.A.D! We are very happy to announce that we are beginning to select students for the Student and Student Organization Spotlight!


What is Beaver Leader Spotlight?

It is where we recognize individual students or student organizations for their leadership abilities at MIT. Our goal is recognize students and student organizations for their dedication to expanding, improving and inspiring student life at MIT.  Each month throughout the academic year, we will rotate honoring individual students then student organizations under the spotlight.

We have included two links of the nomination forms down below for you to send in your nomination. We are accepting ongoing nominations so submit your nominees anytime!

For Students:

For Student Organizations:

If nominated, the Student Activities staff will interview the student or the student organization, and the recognition of the student and student organization will be posted on MIT News, Student Activities and Student Life websites.  There is also a reward of a TechCard/funding as a token of appreciation for their hard work.

 This is very exciting opportunity for Student Activities Office to recognize the students and the student organizations of their leadership abilities within the MIT community.

If you have questions or concerns please feel free to contact Crystal Eusebio at



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Filed under Leadership, Student Activities Updates