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Student Groups Court Incoming Freshmen at Midways

By Sandra Chung


Members of the Class of 2005 roamed the floor of Johnson Athletics Center last night, gathering information about countless Institute student groups and taking full advantage of their free offerings. This year’s Activities Midway, sponsored by the Association of Student Activities, inundated MIT students with over 200 different ways to spend their free time.

Judging by one apparent rush philosophy, the quickest way to freshmen is through their stomachs. The aroma of Undergraduate Association popcorn competed with bowls upon bowls of chocolate and candy. International societies from India to Vietnam offered tastes of their respective cultures in the form of samosas and lychee-flavored coconut jellies. The Biology Undergraduate Students’ Association even handed out multicolored JELL-O in petri dishes. In lieu of food, other societies and service organizations gave away pins, condoms, and pens in odd shapes and fruit scents.

Midway features live acts

Instead of feeding freshmen, several performance groups treated them to live demonstrations of their arts. The MIT/Wellesley Toons and the Chorollaries drew crowds with covers of Vertical Horizon’s “You’re A God” and The Corrs’ “Breathless,” respectively. Two lesser-known groups, MIMEtype and the Tech Squares, acquainted the crowd with somewhat unconventional forms of performance art -- pantomime and square dancing. The MIT Hobby Shop and Office of the Arts also arranged exhibits of their work.

Political, religious, and service clubs, as well as alternative publications, relied on the strength of their ideas to recruit new members. Voodoo distributed an abridged version of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to MIT, while the MIT Hemp Coalition handed out copies of The Thistle. While perhaps not as visually flashy or entertaining as some of the other booths, members of service clubs and religious group gave thorough presentations of their respective causes and beliefs.

Groups like the Amateur Radio Club and the Tech Model Railroad Club appealed to gadget-loving engineers with live demonstrations of their equipment. In the theater and music corner of the arena, members of The Gilbert and Sullivan Players showed up in full costume, while the Shakespeare ensemble offered randomly-generated Elizabethan insults. The Chorollaries, meanwhile, equipped their booth with CD players so that interested passers-by could listen to their latest album. Speakers in the nearby international area blared several types of foreign music, ranging from Chinese pop to traditional Indian music.

The Athletics Gateway occurred simultaneously last night in Rockwell Cage, where more than 40 sports clubs -- from fencing to kendo -- took a more casual approach to recruitment. The Gateway featured several live demonstrations which attempted to entice new recruits. With two large demonstration areas, groups like the Korean Karate Club were able to give freshmen a first-hand view of their activities.