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Early ILG Numbers Bring Some Worries

By Chen Zhao

In the first independent living group recruitment to be run outside of fraternity Rush, preliminary results collected by The Tech were mediocre. The results seem to threaten the future financial health of ILGs, but most houses say they are in the black for now.

Epsilon Theta received four freshmen, one junior, and a student from the one-year Cambridge-MIT Institute exchange program, said Rush Chair Susannah M. Dorfman ’05.

Tau Epsilon Phi, which is also a fraternity, was the only other house to report getting a freshman. The pledge is TEP’s only new member so far, said President Brian T. Neltner.

Student House received 11 new members -- four CMI exchange students, and seven upperclassmen, said Sandra Y. Galdamez ’05, the rush chair.

Pika has not yet received any new members this year, said William F. MacFarlane.

Fenway House received two new members, one of them from CMI, and has 16 total members. Ray Vichot ’04, the rush chair, said the house’s long-term minimum threshold for good financial health is about 15 members.

“Rush in general hasn’t gone very well,” he said. “As the years go by, a larger percentage of the house is graduating, and we’re trailing down to nothing.”

“That’s our big concern for the moment, is trying to get people into the house,” Vichot said. “We’re making an effort to promote ourselves within the general MIT community.”

The Women’s Independent Living Group declined to release statistics. Rush Chair Laura C. Chidozie ’05 said that WILG did “fairly well” this year but would not have final numbers until later this week.

ILGs stressed that the current numbers are subject to change as ILGs rush throughout the year, especially during IAP Rush.

The Living Group Council, which represents ILGs, has not yet collected its own statistics from each house, said Laura C. Cerritelli ’03 of the LGC.

Financial health at issue

Cerritelli of the LGC said that she is “not sure if any houses are in trouble” financially. She said that there are some “small houses,” but that they have spring Rush to try to recruit more members and that many houses have open bids lasting long after the official Rush period ends.

WILG is under full capacity this year, but Chidozie said that there is no financial trouble and that the numbers fluctuate from year to year.

Pika is experiencing “no trouble financially,” MacFarlane said.

Student House is “breaking even” financially, Galdamez said.

“The MIT transition [assistance] has been very helpful, and we’ve been saving up,” Vichot said. “For the moment, we’re fine, but there’s obviously that Draconian sword just hanging above us,” he said. (He added that he meant a sword of Damocles.)

Galdamez, Dorfman, and MacFarlane all stressed that their houses recruit throughout the year, not just during the two weeks of Rush.

Difficulty in attracting freshmen

Galdamez said that it is really difficult for Independent Living Groups to attract freshmen and keep them interested for a whole year before they can move in.

MacFarlane said that lately, more new members are upperclassmen who can move in immediately after deciding to living at the house.

Diane L. Christoforo ’05 said that she wanted to live at Epsilon Theta during her freshman year, but that her parents would not let her. (She was in the last class allowed to live in FSILGs as freshmen.) She moved in this year as a junior.

MacFarlane also said that it was difficult to ask freshmen to start thinking about where they will live a year from now.

MacFarlane and Galdamez both said that visibility is very important for independent living groups and that it is the job of each house to make themselves known to freshmen.