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Van to Deliver Killian Kick-Off Address To Inspire, Prepare Frosh for MIT Life

By Stacey E. Blau
Editor in Chief

"I don't get to say, Let the rush begin'," said Van Van '97. "I wanted to, but they wouldn't let me."

Although Van won't be making the announcement that launches living group rush, he will be delivering tomorrow's keynote speech at Killian Kick-Off. The keynote speech, about 15 minutes of the scheduled hour and 14 minutes of Killian Kick-Off, is a central part of the event, intended give a focus to freshmen's immediate and long-term experiences at MIT before rush begins.

Van said that his speech will focus on "preparing students first for MIT, second for rush." The speech "doesn't give that much formal advice, though - I think that's preachy."

The speech is entitled "More Than Meets the Eye," but the title "doesn't give too much away," Van said. "It's a funny speech. Hopefully people will laugh and learn something out of it, too."

Van the second student speaker

This is the second year that a student will be delivering the keynote speech. Catherine D. Conley '96 gave last year's speech, replacing William Keim, the speaker for the three previous years.

"It was inspiring to watch" Keim speak, Van said. "I really wanted a chance to do something like that."

But when student auditions were held in the spring of 1995, Van didn't try out. "I didn't because I chickened out," he said. "I chickened out at the very last minute."

"It was a lesson that I learned," Van said. "I decided not to miss it again."

Van had included that experience in an original draft of his speech as a way to communicate to freshmen that "you have to take advantage of everything that's here," an idea that is still a theme of the speech.

Van also hopes to convey his feelings about MIT in his speech. "I don't think MIT is a concrete paradise - it's a paradise," he said.

Fraternities differ at MIT

Van said that he did in fact go through fraternity rush, although he didn't join a fraternity. He has lived in Baker House since he was a freshman, although many of his friends are members of independent living groups.

"Two months before I came to MIT I wouldn't be caught dead at rush," Van said. "But I found out that it's quite true fraternities are different at MIT."

The speech will try "to give a sense of what's going to happen in the in the next few hours" when rush begins, although the speech is not quite a rush pep talk, Van said.

"I don't want to do that," he said. "They're smart enough to figure out some things, and I don't want to impose."

In addition to being a dancer and a choreographer, Van is a member of the gymnastics team. He is majoring in electrical engineering and computer science and is a teacher in Concourse. He was a recitation instructor for 18.01 last year and will teach again this fall - once he gets back, that is.

"I'm flying in to do this speech and then I'm flying right back out," Van said. He has been working this summer in Seattle. "I called up my boss and asked, Um, could I have a couple of days off?'," and his boss agreed.

"I wanted to do the speech," Van said. "I wanted to be able to contribute to MIT."