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Reactions To ’03 Rush Positive

By Chen Zhao

On a whole, fraternity rush chairs and freshmen reported satisfaction with Rush this year, but are making suggestions to improve the rush process for future years.

While some students said that they would like to see a longer Rush to give freshmen a better chance to learn about fraternities, others have said that a shorter Rush, that ends before classes become too intense, would be better.

Many students agree that Rush should be earlier. Taku Iida ’04, a member of Theta Chi, said that he thought Rush should occur during freshman orientation.

Rush chairs and fraternity members did not report any unusual trends this year with their freshmen pledge numbers.

Both Iida and Nathan J. Ackerman ’04, rush chair for Alpha Tau Omega, said that they did not see anything unusual or different this year compared to last year.

Daniel D. Kim ’04, rush chair for Sigma Chi, said that although freshmen were less “cliquey” this year than last year, they still tended to rush with groups of friends.

Kim said freshmen were less cliquey this year probably because Rush was earlier, and freshmen had not yet had time to form as many friendships.

Eric B. Dementhon ’07, who pledged at Chi Phi, said that he pledged where many of his friends did and trusted their judgment on where to pledge because he had not had time to rush Chi Phi.

Ackerman, Iida, and Kim said that freshmen were looking for the same things in fraternities that they always look for, such as a fraternity that has members with similar personalities and a place that feels like home.

Some want minor changes

Many students said that Rush should take place earlier in the year.

Ackerman said that this year was an “improvement over last year” because it took place earlier, before exams and problem sets began to pile up. He said that ultimately Rush should be “as early as possible.”

Jeff D. Moore ’07 participated in Rush, but did not pledge a fraternity because of concerns over his workload.

Xin L. Huang ’07, who also rushed but did not pledge, said that he “did not have too much time to go frat hopping” during Rush because of the heavy load of schoolwork.

Iida said that this year’s Rush allowed “more time for interaction” among freshmen and fraternity members.

Dementhon said that Rush should be longer to give people a chance to find out more about the different fraternities.

Adam J. Gibbons ’05, rush chair for Lambda Chi Alpha, said that Rush should not be changed because the system is “pretty good.” He said keeping the procedure consistent will allow fraternities to get used to it, and to come up with better ways to recruit freshmen.

Fraternities will survive financially

David N. Rogers, the assistant dean and director of fraternities, sororities, and independent living groups, said that just because a house did not get many pledges this year does not mean that it will suffer financially. Some fraternities with low pledge counts still have large populations of upperclassmen who can fill the house.

He said if a house were to be in trouble financially, the Office of FSILGs would work with the current members and the alumni of the house to cut costs and figure out new recruitment methods.

Rogers added that students can pledge after Rush is over. Fraternities can offer bids after Rush and recruit all year long, especially during spring recruitment.

MIT is currently in the second year of a three-year-long financial subsidy program through which MIT reimburses FSILGs with a certain percentage of money for every empty bed. The plan was designed to safeguard FSILGs against the possible financial blows that could result from the new policy established last year that requires all freshmen to live in on-campus housing.

Rogers said that he has not heard of any complications with the program, and the extra cash should not go into a house’s budget, but rather should be thought of as “gravy.”

Kim said that Sigma Chi did well enough to survive until next year and that the subsidy program offered by MIT is “fairly helpful.” Sigma Chi received thirteen new pledges this year.

Gibbons said that while LCA definitely did well enough to survive, the subsidy program does “not nearly do enough to be helpful.” Also, he said that MIT “could have done more than that.”

Gibbons said that LCA does “not rely on [the subsidy program] for survival at all.” LCA received six new pledges this year.