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A Different Look At Fraternity Life

[The Tech received a version of the following letter, which was sent to a number of administrators, including President Charles M. Vest.]

Surely you have been introduced to Scott S. Krueger '01. I would like to introduce myself: I am Dave Allmon. I pledged a fraternity earlier this year, just as Scott, but I would like to serve as a reminder of what is right with fraternity life at MIT and more specifically, the current timing of rush.

It is my opinion - and, as you will see, my experience - that the support of a fraternity is most important and crucial during the first semester of an MIT student's career. When I first arrived at MIT, I did quite poorly on the pre-calculus diagnostic given to entering freshman but still chose to take the accelerated calculus class, 18.01A-18.02A. I failed my first 18.01A test. Recognizing my problem, I turned to an institution of my fraternity's pledge program to save me: The Pledge Notebook Interviews.

All pledges are required to interview all brothers and, through each interview, develop a meaningful conversation. In a dorm, my shy and proud nature would have hindered my asking for help, but during the required interviews I brought up my difficulties and asked for suggestions. Many of the replies now seem like common sense: When you have four problem sets due Friday, finish most or all of them earlier in the week; it is better to rework problem sets until you achieve an understanding of the problems rather than to spend hours passively reading over page after page of text.

Armed with several good suggestions and stories that motivated me to stay on top of things academically, I am glad to say things turned around for me and I actually received an A for my final grade in 18.01A and am progressing well through 18.02A and my other classes.

My parents, who have two older sons, one at The University of Texas in Austin and the other at Harvard, are amazed at how well I have adjusted to college life. I now recognize that this "adjustment" to college life would have been difficult, slow, or even impossible outside of the caring and positive influence of my fraternity. I also recognize that, more than my own intelligence or raw ability, it is this quick adjustment that has helped me survive, and even thrive, during this first semester.

My fraternity experience has charged me with the energy and attitude to work hard and it has provided me with opportunities that I would have never imagined. I hope that I will not be part of the last freshman class at MIT to enjoy these unique benefits.

Dave Allmon '01

Phi Kappa Theta Pledge President