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Welcome to URGE's wiki!



URGE - the Undergraduate Reading Group Experience - is a new student-run program that launched in Fall 2011 to encourage deep technical learning in a casual/social environment. Too often for MIT undergrads, the social and the technical are separated. URGE brings together people with similar technical interests to interact as friends and colleagues, crossing the formal boundaries of classes, year, and living group.

URGE provides a framework for discussing technical papers over several dinners in the course of a semester. Through these dinners, your learning of a particular field will be made rich by the camaraderie of others who care about the same topics as you.

In short, URGE = learning + friends + 5 free dinners.

Quick Links

Program Structure


URGE stands for the Undergraduate Reading Group Experience, and it seeks to bring students together to form reading groups for a semester of low-stress learning. These reading groups of about 10 students will meet five times throughout the semester to discuss over dinner (reimbursed by URGE's sponsors) different technical papers in a given field or area of interest. Each reading group will be led by one or two student reading group leaders who are responsible for the well-functioning of the entire group, and will also be responsible for selecting papers and leading discussion. Participants will be responsible for reading the selected material ahead of time and coming to the dinners ready for discussion. Other tasks - such as ordering food, scheduling meetings, and taking notes at each dinner - will be spread out among the participants so that no one person is doing all the work, while also allowing everyone to have a part in making the group a success.

For more information about these responsibilities, go to our How to be a Reading Group Participant page.

Application Process

  1. The first step in the process is the selection of group leaders and reading groups - students who want to lead a group will submit applications detailing their ideas for the group, any relevant background, and leadership experience.
  2. The topic proposals will be released along with the participant application.
  3. From the participant application, we are looking for students with interest in learning, interest in meeting people with similar interests, as well as appropriate experience levels.
  4. After we assemble the groups of students, it will be up to the group leaders to decide on a time that works best for everyone.

Timeline for Fall 2012

Absolute dates are still TBD, but the tentative schedule for Fall 2012 will be as follows:

People Involved

URGE Staff



"This is the first time that I saw collective intelligence at work, i.e. different people putting together different pieces and being able to figure out the entire picture. A couple good at mathematics, robotics, signals, AI, all pitching in to contribute in the understanding of different parts of the paper."

"Excellent [discussion atmosphere]; rarely do I feel so free to ask dumb questions."

"We got food there, we had papers, we had people. Discussion happened; people made friends. I think we hit our goals."

"You did well in getting everyone together, staying on task, and making people feel included."
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