12 Jun 2020 Eight Reasons to become a Terrafrosh

Please note that this article was written in 2020, so some items such as dates, the next year’s Terrascope topic, and staff members have changed since publication.


Hi first-years! My name is Danielle and I am a part of the Terrascope Class of 2023. My experience in this learning community has been incredible, and I encourage you to join us for the 2024 project!

Still on the fence? Here are Eight Reasons to become a Terrafrosh!

A member of the Terrascope learning community. The term is generally used to refer to the first-years in the learning community, but is an acceptable term among all years.


1. You want the opportunity to look at real-world problems as a first-year college student.

As a member of the Terrascope community, you take 12.000 (Solving Complex Problems) during freshman fall. Each year focuses on a different complex problem relating to the environment and sustainability. 2023’s project (my year!) was improving resiliency and recovery in Puerto Rico after Hurricanes Irma and Maria caused severe damage. You can check out our website here

The Class of 2024 project focuses on biodiversity in the United States. You can learn more about it here!

2. You want to learn how to collaborate in a large group.

Terrascope classes are very student-centered. During the first few classes of 12.000, your lecturers (Ari and David) will introduce the topic and give a little bit of guidance. After that, it’s entirely up to the students! 

In a class of 50+, you learn very quickly how to work together as a large group towards a common goal. This is such an important skill for the workforce, so why not get experience right when you start college? Good resume booster 😉

3. You want free food.

Every week, our wonderful administrator Elise gets a lunch catered for our entire community! Sometimes we also have a guest speaker to learn more about opportunities at MIT and beyond. 

Terrascope lunches are always VERY delicious. 11/10.

4. You love learning about sustainability and the environment.

When you join Terrascope, you join a learning community that is very conscious of our footprint on the environment. Lots of our members participate in organizations like Waste Watchers (educating the MIT community about disposing of waste correctly), UA Sustainability Committee, and MIT Divest (advocating for the removal of MIT investment in the fossil fuel industry).

Climate change is very real and very important to address, so if you want to be a part of a community taking action towards improving our planet, Terrascope is the place for you!

5. You want an awesome lounge.

Nice collaborative space + kitchen + bean bags = best lounge ever eom

The Terrascope lounge in INCREDIBLE. It’s located in the heart of MIT’s campus, and includes a kitchen, lots of tables for studying/group work, and a quiet room full of bean bags, pillows and blankets.

I went to the Terrascope lounge most days if I had a short break, usually to take a nap. Can confirm, it’s a very peaceful lounge and you’ll always leave there happy. 🙂 

6. You want to meet incredible people.

Terrafrosh are some of the best people I have met at MIT. Everyone is very passionate about what they’re doing and cares a lot about what you’re doing, too. 

Our staff is just as magnificent! Ari and David are amazing teachers and amazing people that you will get to know during your time at MIT. Elise is an ICON, she is the backbone of Terrascope and is so welcoming and kind. 

Amazing people + amazing coordinators = amazing learning community. <3

7. You want to make a difference.

Your work in Terrascope doesn’t just stay in the classroom. At the end of 12.000, you present your ideas to a panelist of experts who ask questions and give you feedback. The website you create is available to the public, and can reach all areas of the world!

I remember Ari and David casually mentioning to us that our proposal was shared with government officials in Puerto Rico. I was so excited, all of our work might actually be implemented into real policies! I’m so proud of my class, and I know that the class of 2024 will create meaningful proposals as well.

After 12.000, you can also take a spring Terrascope class! Terrascope Radio creates a radio show about the year’s project that is broadcasted at the end of the semester, and 2.00C (Design for Complex Environmental Issues) focuses on creating prototypes of different aspects of the year’s project.

I was in 2.00C in the spring, and my group focused on creating a new shelter design using accessible materials that individual families could create.  We liked our ideas so much that my group is continuing our project into the summer to flush out all of our plans!

8. You want a community for life.

Being a part of the Terrascope community doesn’t end when you become a sophomore. During the rest of your undergraduate experience, you can be an Associate Advisor or Undergraduate Teaching Fellow for Terrascope! Plus, you will always have access to the lounge and you are always welcome at Terrascope lunches.

Your impact on Terrascope doesn’t end when you graduate! Every year, alumni volunteer to be mentors to the first-years. Some alumni also speak to undergraduates during the month of January (IAP) about their life/career and offer really good advice.  They also return for an alumni dinner at the end of every spring semester. I had the chance to meet some incredible alumni during the virtual dinner this year and I could see how much they valued their time in Terrascope. 

I can not stress enough how much I love Terrascope. We’re not just a learning community, we really are a family, and I am so grateful that I decided to join this group every day.

If you still have questions, you can always reach out to me! My email is danison@mit.edu. If you want to talk to our staff, email terrascope@mit.edu

Can’t wait to (hopefully) meet you in Terrascope soon!