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Van, Student Leaders Advise Freshmen at Kick-Off


Indranath Neogy--The Tech
Van Van '97 delivered the keynote speech at Killian Kick-Off yesterday.

By Brett Altschul
STAFF REPORTER

Van Van '97 called upon freshmen to look beyond appearances at yesterday's Killian Kick-Off, the official start of rush.

Other student leaders also spoke to prepare students for the hectic decision of choosing a living group.

The event began with a period for freshmen to socialize in Killian Court, eating ice cream and meeting upperclassmen.

Several fraternities set up barbecues in the courtyard during this period. With these and other tools, fraternities began enticing potential recruits.

The formal portion of the program began with a rendition of "The Star-Spangled Banner," sung by Judie J. Kim '98, the Residence and Orientation Week logistics manager.

In his keynote address, Van discussed the importance of an MIT education. "You are here not just to build computer programs, but to build character," he said.

He also emphasized that MIT is not just preparation for the distant future. "MIT doesn't prepare you for life; MIT is life," Van said.

Van, who lives in Baker House, likened the hectic and highly energetic rush experience to being "thrown to the wolves." The rest of his speech focused on non-rush issues.

His main point was that there's more to most people and things than meets the eye. He asked for people to accept things that were contrary to their expectations.

To illustrate this difficulty, he cited a phone conversation during which he had to give his first and last name and the operator on the other end could not handle his bizarre name as an example.

"Who better to do this than you?" he asked, noting the great achievement of MIT students.

After Van's speech, Erica R. Fuchs '99 recognized the contributors to Tech Trek, and the awards for that event were presented.

Addressing the women, Lisa M. Ho '97, president of the Women's Conference, discussed the options for women during rush. She urged them to attend the Women's Rush Convocation and to seriously consider the options for women. "Don't spend all your time at a place where you can't become a member," she said, warning them against fraternity parties.

Christopher H. Barron '97, the president of the Dormitory Council spoke on the importance of diversity. He emphasized that MIT has an extremely diverse student population, with many active minority groups.

"Don't just choose a living group with people like you," Barron said. He called on all freshmen to challenge themselves by exploring living groups with people of different backgrounds.

Finally, Joseph M. Lee '97, the Interfraternity Council rush chair spoke about fraternity system, extolling the advantages and virtues of fraternity life, but stating that it was "not for everyone." He ended his speech with the official opening of rush, the phrase, "Let the rush begin!"

Kick-Off is final rush preparation

The Kick-Off represented the final event in a series that took place in Killian Court yesterday. Most of the events were part of the preparation for the opening of rush.

First, in the only event that was unrelated to rush, the Class of 2000 assembled on the steps of Killian Court to have their class picture taken.

After this, upperclassmen presented a R/O survival skit. The performance presented a humorous depiction of various R/O events, including Project Move Off Your Assumptions and Killian Kick-Off itself.