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Despite Problem Sets, Frosh Enjoy Rush

By Ato Ulzen-Appiah

“Dude, believe me, if you wanna feel the American real deal, it all starts at living in one of those dorms with the ‘Greek freak’ names!”

This opinionated statement on the subject of Rush 2002 came from a brother of Chi Phi, just one example of how the fraternities are still going all out to attract new members.

Rush kicked off rather unceremoniously last Friday at the Kresge Oval at 5 p.m. The beginning of two-week FILG rush garnered a much lower turnout than former years’. Unlike other years’, this fall’s festivities are taking place three weeks into the MIT life, a time when freshmen have tasted the real rigors of MIT and especially when the freshmen are obliged to live on campus for the first year.

Back in the day, what many call the heyday, Rush kicked off in style mid-Orientation. Normally, after saying ‘Cheese’ for the freshman class photo, upperclassmen from the FILGs would swarm the Killian Court to cast out their fishing nets.

“The format for this fall’s rush differs from that of past years, not the crazy week [during] orientation it used to be, but the response to activities has been great, still as solid, but with a much more relaxed setting,” said Dylan B. Chavez ’04, Rush chair for Phi Delta Theta.

Rush picks up after kickoff

On the now infamous Friday, the freshmen turn-out was disappointing for the FILGs, (maybe they were still recovering from the 18.0-whatever exam shockwaves) and the Kresge Oval was almost completely empty.

Interfraternity Council Recruitment Chair Joshua S. Yardley ’04 estimated the crowd at a mere 115 to 200 people. “We were pleased with that number considering the circumstances,” he said.

Though the kick-off was sparsely attended, the ensuing activities were not. Free food, baby! From rock climbing to battle canoeing, riding in limousines to boat cruises, gambling to the crowd gathering barbecues, rush surely had not been crushed.

It appeared that the amount of work for the freshmen would hinder freshmen from attending rush events. However, many FILGs capitalized on this apparent obstacle. The many freshmen trekking to the FILGs in SafeRides went for free tutoring on the various Physics and Calculus subjects was a good mutualism.

Still, the freshmen may have participated more if classes were not in the way. Beckett W. Sterner ’06 said he couldn’t really participate as he wanted to on Sunday because homework got in the way.

Recruitment becomes more taxing

Most of the freshmen I queried were of the mindset to simply enjoy the rush and not necessarily going to pledge. But some freshmen were rushing for real, not for fake. “The rush helped me confirm which frat I want to join,” said Gregor B. Cadman, ’06. “I had choices before the rush and hanging out with most of them helped me make an informed decision of where to pledge.”

“I spent most of the weekend at one frat and enjoyed their activities, like the $20 gift card to Jillian’s game room. I was really impressed,” Sterner said. He also added that he was undecided about pledging and was going to explore all of his options in the ongoing two-week rush.

Many freshmen are also on the edge of pledging, most feeling that home is in their dorms. “I took part in some of the fraternity activities, but I really like it in Burton-Conner,” said Kenneth L. Roraback ’06.

“Rush is a lot harder this time, because we are four weeks into the semester and freshmen are busy with work. Rush has kinda been relegated to a side event, and response to our activities has been less [promising],” said Rush chair for pika Sarah R. Gottfried, ’04.

Yardley said that he has spoken to about a half-dozen houses, and from the sample one cannot discern whether the year’s rush is successful or a flop. “Some [houses] are concerned about how things have started, but a good number were pretty pleased with turnout at the events this weekend,” he said. “Throughout this week, I’ll be asking for feedback and see if [the IFC] can do anything to help with their rush.”