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IFC Plans For 2002 Transition: Committee Releases Outline for Next Rush

By Dana Levine

EDITOR IN CHIEF

Just a few weeks after the end of MIT’s final residential rush, administrators and the Interfraternity Council have already begun to gear up for recruitment 2002.

“I think the only way you’re going to succeed through the 2002 decision is if you change with it,” said Kathleen Baxter, the program coordinator for the fraternities, sororities, and independent living groups in the Office of Residential Life and Student Life Programs.

The IFC 2002 recruitment committee recently proposed a basic framework for fraternity and independent living group recruitment in 2002.

Andres Sawicki ’02, the committee’s chair, said that planning began during the IFC Leadership Retreat in September 2000. “We started at the leadership retreat... From that point, I had weekly committee meetings,” he said.

New rush to last two weeks

Under the current plan, recruitment for fraternities and independent living groups will begin on the third friday from the beginning of the fall term.

Prior to this period, FSILGs will not be able to do anything defined by the IFC as “recruitment,” which currently involves such things as wearing shirts with greek letters and holding events as individual houses or as a community. The report says that it hopes to see the IFC “change its outdated definition of recruitment.”

According to a report published by the MIT Panhellenic Association, Panhel recruitment will run from the last day of Independent Activities period until the following week.

Bidding and pledging would be allowed to begin two weeks after the start of recruitment. In past rushes, prospective members could not pledge until the day after houses first offered bids. The report states that this delay in the schedule will be removed because freshmen will have ample time to examine their options before they receive a bid.

Other changes involve the elimination of the clearinghouse system, an alternative, low pressure event for those who choose not to attend Killian Kickoff, and recruitment advisors who will aid prospective new members with the recruitment process.

Sawicki said that the committee has received administrative approval for the plan through monthly meetings with the residence system implementation team, a group of administrators charged with setting specifics for the residence system redesign.

Sawicki hopes that the IFC will use the results of next year’s rush to determine how he will modify rush for the following year. “It might take 4 or 5 years to hammer the process down,” he said.

Fall rush versus year-round

The proposal deals primarily with fall rush, as Sawicki said that FSILGs hope to attract freshman at the start of the year. “The majority of it is that we feel that the earlier we get involved in someone’s freshman year, the more we can help them out,” he said.

He thinks that spring rush will probably be run in a similar manner to fall rush, making an additional proposal for spring rush unnecessary. Baxter said that the most successful FSILGs will learn to spread their recruitment efforts over the whole year.

She believes that a year-round rush will put less pressure on FSILGs, while allowing them to get to know freshmen better before giving them bids. “As it stands, I think that you guys work so hard over the first few weeks. With this new system, it pays for you to be as invested as possible throughout the school year,” she said. “Spend more time getting to know the people you offer bids to.”

Roundtables focus on transition

Baxter has planned several roundtable discussions that allow FSILG members to discuss issues relating to the 2002 transition.

At the first event, held Wednesday night in 20 Chimneys, Dean of Admissions Marilee Jones discussed the changing demographic of the freshman class. “The housing system as we have known it belonged to a different era,” Jones said.

Jones said that housing and the quality of the campus was the number two reason that admittees gave last year for not choosing to attend MIT. Ten years ago, this complaint was not even on the list. “Freshmen say, why do I need 27 choices? Just give me a room,” she said.

In order to distinguish themselves, particularly when freshmen live on campus and pledge non-residentially, FSILGs will need to offer significantly more than just a place to live.

Jones said that freshmen have become much more interested in community service, an area in which FSILGs are active. “These kids are about community service,” she said.

Students have also become more interested in brand, which is something that greek letters can provide. “You guys have a brand, and these kids are extremely brand-conscious,” she said.

The next roundtable, which focuses on budgeting for 2002 and beyond, will take place on October 10.