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The Educational Resources Group (ERG), an offshoot of the Committee on Undergraduate Education, is initiating a plan to provide incoming freshmen with upperclass advisers.
James A. Dern '74, ERG chairman, said yesterday that the program will pair next year's freshmen with upperclassmen of similar backgrounds in an attempt to combat a feeling of "detachment."
ERG is an organization composed of the 30 CUE electors representing the Houses and the freshmen class.
Harvard freshmen face "a complex and decentralized setting," Dean said, and could benefit from the experience of an upperclass adviser.
The advisers will be unpaid, and will work on an informal basis, he said.
Questionnaires will be distributed this week to determine the extent of upperclass support for such a program. Dern said that he hopes for positive responses from at least 200 students.
The freshmen in next year's class who will participate in the program will be chosen at random, he said.
F. Skiddy von Stade '38, dean of freshmen, said yesterday that an upperclass advising program could be useful to freshmen. He said, however, that a similar arrangement had been tried several years ago, and had failed to work.
"It hasn't worked in the past," he said, "but there's no harm in trying it again. If it works, it will be a good thing."
Terrence M. Walsh, assistant director of the Bureau of Study Counsel, said yesterday the ERG program has a good chance of succeeding. "Freshmen could benefit from upperclassmen telling them things that are not in the handbooks," he said.
He added, though, "The diversity of the college works to defeat this sort of attempt."
Dern said that freshmen and upperclassmen will be matched on the basis of high school background, interests, and geography. He said that he hopes the advisers will be able to contact incoming freshmen in their home towns over the summer.
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