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Rush was costly for dorms

By Chris Schechter

What makes freshmen choose their dormitories? People, food, parties . . . dormitory rush chairs can only speculate. This uncertainty leads the dorms to spend widely varying amounts of money to attract freshmen, even though many believe that the amounts spent have no effect at all on where new students choose to live.

East Campus, for example, spent $6000 this year during Residence/Orientation Week. The dormitory's rush chair, Courtney K. Moriarta '91, felt East Campus needed to spend the money because it is more difficult to attract new students to the east end of campus. Because Baker House and Burton House are located near Kresge Auditorium, where many R/O Week activities take place, freshmen visit them more, she said.

In spite of their alleged advantage, Burton and Baker budgeted nearly $4000 each on rush week this year. Most other dormitories restricted their expenses to an average of $1600. House taxes at each dorm financed the rush week activities.

Random Hall spent relatively little to bring in new people, according to Random's rush chair, Glenda M. Rapalo '91. Rapalo said she thought her house, located close to Central Square on Massachusetts Ave., could not even begin to compete with the on-campus houses because of its location and limited facilities.

Most of the rush week money is spent on food, though

East Campus and Senior House also spend large amounts on postering.

The dorm rush chairs believed that giving away free food is the best way to get freshmen to visit their dorms and meet the residents. Burton and McCormick Hall also experimented with movie nights. And East Campus even spent $400 hiring a local band for one of their house parties.

But most organizers conceded that luring freshmen in with free food and fun is the easy part. Convincing the new students to live in their respective dormitories -- something which actually costs nothing -- is a bit more challenging, they said.

In order to coordinate all of the activities, the houses rely on volunteers who return to MIT early. All had no trouble finding people to help out. McCormick even had to turn away eager volunteers, said Ellen S. Hornbeck '92, McCormick's rush chair.

Without the volunteers' work over the summer, rush activities would not run as smoothly, most believed. However, MacGregor House only started its preparations three days before rush began. Hollister W. Herhold '92, MacGregor rush chair, regretted waiting so long.