A New Rush Order for MIT
Joel M. Rosenberg
I was talking to an upperclassman my freshman year:
"What do you think of house A?"
"House A? They're all losers."
"How about house B?"
"Dorks. That place is full of dorks."
"Do you know anyone from that house?"
"I know a few guys. They're dorks."
It occurred to me that if the guy I was talking to were a similar representative of our house to other houses, people would have probably thought we were all dorks too. I refused to believe the only "cool" people at MIT lived with me in bliss and harmony and instead believed that this place would be a lot better if it were less segregated. While I still believe that, it now stems more from practicality than idealism. The time has come for some fundamental shifts in our thinking.
The days of dorms versus fraternities, sororities, and independent living groups are over. It's going to be damn crowded in the dorms if rush goes poorly this year, and it will only get worse as the years go on. Let's agree that there are differences between dorms and houses, and agree to disagree about which is better. Freshmen should be encouraged to personally weigh the benefits of both and make a decision based on that, instead of being bombarded with the usual "dorms suck"/"frats suck." If you're in a dorm and can't speak of the positives of a house because you have no friends in houses, and vice versa, you're case in point of why we need to break down the dorm/FSILG wall.
The days of house versus house are over as well. I have seen some incredibly slimy, underhanded things take place during rush, and they simply can't happen this year. Rush is supposed to match freshmen with the house they will get the most from and not just fill a quota a house sets. If everyone genuinely tries to steer freshmen where they'll be happiest, I think all will be surprised at how well the system can work. Every house has a character and history that is worth preserving, and we stand to lose a few of them if rush is too selfishly motivated.
As far as the generalizations that exist about houses and dorms, think about how many you've even been in, let alone hung out in. Out of a group of any 50 MIT students, are you honestly willing to say that none of them would be of any interest to you? The people here are too intelligent and too diverse for that to be true. That's not to say you should try to become friends with everyone. I just think that if more connections existed among the students here as undergraduates, in addition to the enriched experience we might get from different perspectives, the potential for greatness after this place would be exponentially increased.
Rush should be a time to welcome freshmen to MIT and start getting to know them. Just because they don't pledge or lottery into your house doesn't mean you should write them off. If you're really a kid's contact, you should try to actually stay in contact. And the same goes for freshmen - you can try to stay friends with people from rush, no matter where you live. If someone isn't interested because you didn't take their bid, you probably made the right decision.
Finally, reporters from the outside can't tell the difference between LCA and LSC, AXO or AXE. The game has changed, and it's now MIT versus the world. Let's strengthen the community from the inside so we're ready for attacks from the outside. If cooperation is the last resort, then we're down to our last resort. We're the brightest, most anti-social nerds in the country, thrust together in hell. We have to eliminate the belief that insulating ourselves from each other will somehow reduce the heat we individually feel - open spaces get much more ventilation.
We're all dorks. So let's just try to have a good rush.