tour is one of the best parts of MIT
's freshman orientation, though you won't find it on the "Hitchhiker's Guide
" to orientation that the administration gives out every year. The Orange tour spreads by word of mouth among the freshman class from freshmen with temporary housing in East Campus. One night during orientation week, a group of hackers called the Jack Floreys congregates in the courtyard of East Campus
, along with a bunch of confused freshmen. Then the fun begins.
The hackers start leaving very quickly, one by one, from the courtyard. The freshmen who catch on quickly follow them to 54-100, the big lecture hall in the Green Building. The freshmen who mill around unaware get left behind. The Jacks time it so that they all have left by the time the sprinklers in the courtyard of East Campus go on. Woe to any freshmen who are late, misinformed, or just plain stupid.
Once in 54-100, the Jacks go over the details. Strangely enough, they all introduce themselves as Jack Florey, even the women. In the event that the Campus Police find the Orange tour and try to break it up, all of the Jacks flee, leaving freshmen abandoned on top of some building. If the CPs caught any of the Jacks running the tour, they would probably face very serious consequences. Thus, when the CPs ask what the freshmen are doing up there, the answer they are told to give is, "Jack Florey was showing me the way to Baker House." Even if they wanted to give any more information, they couldn't, because all of the hackers happen to share the same name. The CPs always just let the freshmen go with a warning that it is not safe to go on top of MIT's buildings, and that they should be in bed for the next morning's "mandatory" orientation events.
Barring any intervention from the fuzz, the tour begins and freshmen see the less-traveled areas of MIT, from the lowest tunnel to the top of the Great Dome. The tour lasts the whole night, and many freshmen decide to leave early so they can get sleep for the orientation events. That is a shame, because the tour only gets more interesting as it progresses. Popular destinations for the Orange tour include the top of the Green Building, the maze of hidden tunnels underneath the heart of MIT's campus, the domes on the tops of Building 7 and Building 10, and whatever the freshmen request. If you want to go somewhere, the Jacks can take you there.
One variation of the Orange tour is the Tangerine tour given during MIT's Campus Preview Weekend for admitted students. It's nowhere near as long or as fun, and has less participation because of the Preview Weekend events.
The Jacks have roof and tunnel hacking down to a science. I don't know how they get through all of the locks that they get through, or how they can remember their way through all of those twisted, unmarked passageways, but they do. They also put on one hell of a show for interested members of the freshman class, explaining the history of MIT, the Boston area, and the hacker culture.