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Rush a Mixed Bag, Living Groups Say

By Kristen Landino

As freshmen complete their first full day of residence selection, rush chairs at fraternities, sororities, and independent living groups have given this year’s rush mixed reviews.

Rush volume levels vary

“We are pleased with the freshmen turnout overall,” said Ranjit S. Survanshi ’00, Interfraternity Council rush chair.

“We are happy with the numbers that are coming through our house,” said Christopher J. Peikert ’00, Alpha Tau Omega President.

Although many houses said that rush was going well, some thought it were slower than last year’s.

“We did not see the same flow as in past years,” said Divakar S. Mithal ’01, Theta Delta Chi pledge trainer. “Rush has toned down and Beacon Street is not as crowded as it used to be... I think the idea of living is a fraternity is not as appealing as it was in past years.”

Many houses this year plan to increase the size of their pledge class due to President Charles M. Vest’s decision to house all freshmen on campus in 2001.

“We are looking to have more people, but the quality of the people is more important. We want people who will fit in,” said Peter Huang ’00, vice-president and rush chair of Delta Kappa Epsilon.

“About the same amount of women are rushing sororities this year as last year,” said Gillian M. Deutch ’01, Panhellenic Association vice-president of membership recruitment.

Campus Preview Weekend

For many freshmen, Campus Preview Weekend seems to have allowed them to narrow down their housing options early.

“I knew I wanted to rush a fraternity when I came to MIT. I met a lot of cool people during CPW and it helped me to choose where I wanted to live,” said one freshman.

“Campus Preview Weekend is getting to be more like a mini-rush. It kind of took us by surprise,” said Drew Garza ’02, vice-president of recruitment at Sigma Phi Epsilon.

CPW was held last April for all admitted MIT students. In then past, the event had been restricted to women and minorities, but this year, MIT invited the entire potential class of 2003.

IFC affects rush

The presence of the Interfraternity Council seems to have been a dampening factor on rushing some cases.

“The IFC is really overbearing. There is a member of [the Judicial Committee] on every corner and the kids feel like they’re being policed. It is not the IFC’s fault. It is due to the pressure coming from MIT administration,” said Mitchal.

On the other hand, Garza said that the IFC has been helpful and supportive.

Huang said that perhaps the IFC is policing the freshmen “a bit more, but not a significant amount.”

Freshmen informed about rush?

“The freshmen class this year seems clueless about how rush works,” said Maya Fernandez ’00, rush chair at Number Six Club. “We’ve had a higher than average number of people walking in here and asking how they can register to live here.”

According to Dharmesh M. Mehta ’00, Rush Chair and President of Phi Beta Epsilon, “the freshmen are more informed about their choices. They seem to know which houses they want to rush and are putting more thought into the whole process.”

“Freshmen seemed more prepared to rush. They were more in tune with the very idea of perhaps joining a FSILG,” said Peikert.

“I had no idea that I wanted to live at a fraternity when I came here. I think I figured out where I wanted to live last [Saturday]night,” said Leo Salazar ’03.

Several rush chairs mentioned that they had narrowed down their serious potential members early and turnover rate was low.

“We are getting less flow this year. I think it is due to early mingling. A lot of the freshmen seemed to know where they wanted to go at Killian Kickoff,” said Mitchal.

Whatever the reason, the class of 2003 seems to be more cohesive, perhaps because of increased freshman programs or a more inclusive CPW.