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Summer's Worth of Preparation Culminates in Freshman Rush

By Ifung Lu
Associate News Editor

From the words "Let the rush begin!" at the Killian Kick-off, incoming students have the chance to live life in the fast lane -- with lots of free food, shiny clean houses, elaborate decorations, and hours of entertainment and partying. But behind the scenes, preparation for this week-long feeding frenzy is long and slow, starting as early as the spring.

Each group's rush chair oversees the planning and work for both rush week and summer rush activities.

Zeta Beta Tau's preparation included a retreat and seminar for its members, said ZBT Rush Chair Quoc L. Tran '95. By the beginning of the summer, plans start to take on more concrete forms, and some fraternities make reservations for their activities, Tran said.

Many living groups also publish rush books which are sent to the incoming students over the summer.

Tau Epsilon Phi's book took a little over three-and-a-half weeks, according to TEP Rush Chair Derek E. Schulte '96. The book featured stories by several members of the fraternity.

Fraternities often try to meet as many freshmen as they can during the summer before the real rush begins, said Mihir Shah '96, a fraternity rush chair.

Work week precedes rush

With only one week left before the new freshmen and transfer students arrive, living groups take care of all the final details -- everything from buying food to cleaning their house. For example, TEP's work week lasted eight to nine hours each day for about six days, Schulte said.

"We'll do everything from moving walls to cleaning bathrooms. You name it, and we'll do it," Schulte said.

"There are so many things to prepare for, such as a front desk, phone lines [for Clearinghouse], setting everything up," Shah said.

Interfraternity Council rules require all fraternities have a reception desk to greet freshmen, and to maintain at least three phone lines for Clearinghouse, the system used to keep track of rushees.

With everyone working to maintain a state of readiness, problems do occasionally occur. "We had a lot of logistical problems," said Tran. But good planning helps in handling unexpected circumstances.

The planning is done "so that everything goes smoothly and is more fun for the freshmen," Shah said.

This year's rush features an extensive list of activities, including sumo wrestling, lobster dinners, and cryogenic experiments with food. But it comes at a cost. According to Tran, ZBT's budget of near $5,000 is about the average for what fraternities spend.

"One of our goals this rush is to excite the freshmen about being at the Institute," Schulte said.

"The point of rush is to meet freshmen and to get to know them so they can find a fraternity that's appropriate to them," Shah said.

"We're pumped and ready," Schulte said.