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Freshman Interest in ILGs Increases

By Rima Arnaout

Close to five hundred incoming freshmen have turned in reply cards requesting information about fraternities, sororities, and independent living groups during summer rush, according to the Interfraternity Council.

This year’s response is an improvement over last year’s, following a change made to the cards intended to increase student interest in learning more about MIT’s FSILG living options.

About a hundred females returned reply cards, said Alpha Chi Omega Rush Chair Rebecca M. Grochow ’01.

In addition to the rush efforts of individual FSILGs, the Interfraternity Council has taken its own initiative to encourage freshmen interest in FSILGs..

“Last year was the first year that the reply card thing started, so last year the turnout was really low,” IFC Membership Recruitment Chair Ranjit S. Survanshi ’00 said. Calling the freshmen “just seemed like a natural thing to do last year.”

A few weeks after the June 11 reply card deadline, the IFC “did a reply card telethon [in which it] called the incoming freshmen who didn’t send in their reply cards” to make sure that the people who didn’t respond hadn’t intended to send in replies and forgotten, Survanshi said.

“The turnout increased dramatically after that,” Survanshi said. Another IFC telethon was scheduled for yesterday evening.

Reply system changed this year

This summer’s rush card system was changed only slightly from that of last year. “Last year you could choose which FSLIG you wanted to hear from,” Grochow said.This year, freshmen can only check off whether or not they want to hear from FSILGs; they can no longer request information from a particular FSILG only. Only freshmen who indicate interest in rushing may be contacted by FSILGs.

This year was the second in which reply cards were a part of the summer rush system. Grochow said the change in the reply cards was made by Elizabeth Cogliano Young, coordinator of student programs in the Office of Academic Services. Young refused to comment about the reply cards, saying that the reply cards were not a good indicator of actual freshman interest in the FSILG system.

This summer’s residence information mailing to the Class of 2003 was otherwise similar to that of last year’s. “A book went out that had a little blurb about all of the living groups,” Grochow said. At the back of the booklet was a post card that freshmen could send back to MIT, indicating whether or not they wanted to receive more mailings from FSILGs.

Most FSILGs currently use the summer to introduce incoming freshmen to their living groups. “About all the rush rules allow us to do is make those calls,” Eliot F. Drake ’02, vice president of operations for Sigma Phi Epsilon, said. “We feel that that’s pretty restrictive but we understand that [the rules are] in the interest of equity between the houses,” Drake said.

Sororities such as AXO planned summer rush parties during the spring. “You call the girls or write to them, and invite them to the parties... some of them just have questions about orientations, like ‘what’s gonna happen to me when I get to MIT?’” Grochow said.

Summer rush important to ILGs

The current summer/fall rush system will carry on through next year roughly unchanged, but, with change rocking MIT’s entire residence system, it is possible that summer rush may be eliminated in 2001.

When asked how fraternities would fare if summer rush were cancelled, Survanshi said, “Before we even look into that, we have to save the regular orientation rush... If there is orientation rush, summer rush is huge because the freshmen can make an even more informed decision if they get the entire summer.”

Grochow said that for sororities “summer rush had never been a big deal... summer rush is more about getting them to rush greek in general” rather than to pick a particular sorority.

Drake said that losing summer rush “will obviously be deleterious to the way rush is now, but if there is some newer and better organization, then summer rush might not be missed.”