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Killian Marks End of Rush Era

Freshmen Express Mixed Views on Taking Part in Last Rush

By Dana Levine


The words “Let the rush begin” rang out for the final time as the last rush ever under the current residence system began yesterday in Killian Court.

This year’s Killian Kickoff, which preceded next year’s implementation of President Vest’s freshmen-on-campus mandate, marked the beginning of the last opportunity that fraternities will have to recruit during orientation and house freshmen.

Before the opening ceremonies began, several students dragged a Tombstone which read “RIP Rush 1968-2001” across Killian Court while Ankur M. Mehta ’03 played a funeral song on his trumpet.

Freshmen have mixed sentiments

Even yesterday morning, freshmen were still unsure what to expect. Some were excited to be able to take part in rush, while others did not plan to participate.

Although Jonathan Choi ’05 was not sure whether he wanted to join a fraternity, he planned to participate in rush and check out the various fraternities, sororities, and independent living groups, known as FSILGs.

“I’m really happy they are doing all this stuff,” he said. “I feel sorry for the freshmen next year. They are missing out on a lot.”

Juan C. Alicea ’05 did not plan to rush. “I’m not going to check out the frats. I’m going to stay in the dorms,” he said, although he did mention that he might participate in some of the rush activities.

Alison Baker ’05 said that she does not plan to join a sorority because the sorority houses are far away.

Leaders speak before rush begins

Following the traditional photograph of the entire freshman class, the kickoff began with several speeches by leaders of organizations that represent MIT’s living groups.

Dormitory Council President Matthew S. Cain ’02 encouraged students to check out all of the available residence options. “About 700 of you will end up living in dorms. There is about every style of dorm that you could want,” he said.

David N. Rogers, an administrative staffer for the Office of Residential Life and Student Life Programs, encouraged students to consider FSILGs. “FSILGs are a great way to find the necessary skills that you won’t find in a classroom or a lab ... They will give you the life lessons that you need,” he said.

Interfraternity Council President Rory P. Pheiffer ’02 also encouraged freshmen to consider FSILGs. “I call rush a phenomenon because once you see it, you will truly understand why. MIT Rush is like no other Rush at any other school,” he said.

Pheiffer said that freshmen should make sure that they meet the people who they will live with. “[I]t’s not the steak and lobster, the paintballing, the cruises, the parties, or the car bashes that make FSILGs the premier living option here at MIT. It’s the people,” he said.

IFC Recruitment Chair Joanne Chang ’03 echoed this sentiment. “The most striking memories that you will be left with are the people; thus rush is about the people,” she said.

And with that, Chang began rush for the final time at 12:44 p.m. Members from all of MIT’s FSILGs and many dorms rushed onto Killian, inviting freshmen back to their residences.

Ina Mitskavies, a junior at Mount Holyoke College, served as a rush helper for Theta Delta Chi fraternity. Mitskavies said that she was impressed by the event.

“I really think it’s great,” she said. “People were telling me different things. Some people were telling me it’s the greatest thing there is, and some people didn’t like it.”

Frosh numbers disappoint frats

Several fraternities were disappointed by the number of freshmen who turned up at Killian yesterday. “There are not many people. There were more in previous years,” said Baris Yuksel ’02, a member of Tau Epsilon Phi fraternity.

Sebastian Ortiz ’04, a member of Student House, also complained about the low turnout. “I think there was an eight-to-one ratio of IFC and dorm people to freshmen,” he said. “Everyone here was a rush girl or a fraternity guy. There were virtually no frosh here at all.”

Josh S. Peters ’03, a brother of Zeta Beta Tau fraternity, said that freshmen disappeared more quickly than in previous years. “It seemed to go faster than normal. The first wave hit and ate through the freshmen quickly,” he said.

Ortiz attributes the low freshman turnout to a lack of interest in rush. “It seems overall like an apathetic year,” he said.