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Dormitories Approach Rush With New Rules, Unique Events

By Eric Sit

Like their fraternity, sorority, and independent living group counterparts, MIT dormitories will have their own rush, hoping to attract prospective new residents. With new rush rules and events, plus a new messaging system, dormitories hope to facilitate MIT's hectic Residence and Orientation Week.

The Dormitory Council - the group that represents dormitories and their concerns on campus - has been involved in a number of wide-ranging decisions over the past year.

Unlike past years, dormitories now can hold events on Friday night, as long as they are not in competition with FSILG events, said Dormcon Judcomm Chair Ernest D. Aguayo '97. They may not poster outside their dormitories for these events.

The change that permits dormitories to host events on Friday "is targeted at those freshmen who know that they don't want to live at an FSILG, and will provide freshmen with another option to choose from," Aguayo said.

There are new rules for postering this year as well. "Dormitories can now poster for events held on Saturday beginning Friday," said Noemi L. Giszpenc '98, Dormcon rush chair. In previous years, they had to wait until Saturday night before postering.

New system replaces Clearinghouse

Dormcon also eliminated Clearinghouse - the computerized system used to keep track of freshmen during R/O - from dormitory use during rush and withdrew from the Mediations Committee this year.

As in previous years, FSILGs will participate in Clearinghouse. However, with the elimination of Clearinghouse from dormitories, rush workers will not take messages from any FSILGs. They will take telephone messages only from MIT administration members and for medical emergencies.

However, "we want freshmen to have the option to get messages if they choose," Aguayo said. Starting Saturday 10 a.m., FSILGs can leave a paper message or send e-mail to the R/O Center in the Student Center. Dormcon will then deliver these messages to the desks at dormitories, where freshmen can pick them up. This service will be maintained Saturday, Sunday, and Monday.

"Dormcon is pleased to work with the [Interfraternity Council] and make this agreement," Aguayo said. "Dormcon stresses to the IFC that even with this messaging system, ILGs must e-mail or drop their messages at the R/O Center" to prevent problems with FSILG members going to dormitories to rush freshmen , he said. "The dorms have been instructed to direct them to the Student Center."

Dorm rush different from IFC

Dormitories are not subject to IFC regulations. Unlike their FSILG counterparts, dormitory residents have no "badmouthing" rule that prevents them from saying anything that may be construed as negative about another living group. "We would prefer if dorms didn't badmouth because of common courtesy, though," Aguayo said.

As usual, no alcohol is to be served at any advertised rush event. Dormcon Judcomm is responsible for enforcing this rule and will patrol rush events at dormitories, Aguayo said.

While FSILGs will pick students to give invitations, or bids, to join their living groups, MIT uses a lottery system designed to maximize the number of students who receive their top choices. Dormitory selection on Athena is scheduled to begin at 4 p.m. tomorrow afternoon.

After being placed in dormitories, students must generally participate in an in-house rush in which they choose the floor or entry where they want to live. In many ways, this is similar to the FSILG method of giving bids to prospective members.

Dormitory rush is "totally different" from FSILG rush, Giszpenc said. "Dorm rush isn't actually rush. We are welcoming freshmen through dorm rush and hope we can give freshmen a good impression," she said. "FSILGs are looking to give bids to find people to live with. They are looking for a closer relationship. Dorms will get people no matter what."

Dorms boast unique rush events

Friday night consisted of mainly small events, targeted at those not in FSILG rush and dormitory residents, Giszpenc said. "Saturday night, 24 hours after Killian Kick-Off is when dorm rush really comes into full swing," she said.

Dormitory rush events will vary greatly over the next week. New House, for example, will show movies on a big screen. MacGregor House will host its annual Tower Drop, in which residents drop various items from its roof. East Campus will hold its annual carnival, complete with cotton candy and snow cones.