This academic year, MIT has allocated substantial funding to ensure that every MIT undergraduate can complete a paid Experiential Learning Opportunity (ELO). This “ELO Guarantee” has already provided much-needed income to roughly a third of MIT undergraduates and sparked the creation of new opportunities in research, teaching, public service, innovation, and more for our students. At the same time, this influx of opportunities has created a challenge: how do students find opportunities that fit their funding needs, suit their skillsets and schedules, and meet their learning and development goals?
The challenge of finding ELOs is not new, but it is particularly acute in the current virtual learning environment and with new funding enabling ELOs from all corners of the institute. While the fall term saw a quick mobilization of platforms such as the UROP website, Handshake, Innovation One, and a new ELO website (which currently features a list of openings for IAP), OEL was able to work with IS&T to build something better for spring: a one-stop-shop for finding and applying to ELOs. This new ELO portal, debuting in late January will immediately replace the static listings on the UROP and ELO sites and will provide a single and easy-to-use “front door” for students to find programs of all types.
Whether you offer ELOs, advise students formally or informally, or are simply curious about the “secret sauce” of an MIT education, we encourage you to check out the portal and promote it to the students you work with. The portal will continue to grow and evolve, and we hope that it becomes a lasting and valuable tool for students long after the current pandemic is over.
— Kate Weishaar and Kate Trimble, OEL