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Half of Freshmen Men Pledge This Fall

By Hanhan Wang

Nearly half of the men in the Class of 2009 pledged fraternities in this fall’s Rush. Of the 320 freshmen given bids, 255, or 80 percent, have now pledged, and 18 still have at least one open bid, according to statistics from the Interfraternity Council.

In total, 444 bids were given out, 407 to freshmen, 34 to upperclassman (30 of whom pledged), and 3 to graduate students (2 of whom pledged). Eighteen percent of those offered bids declined to pledge any fraternity.

Although the yield rate for bids is similar to last year’s, fewer freshmen pledged fraternities this year; the total number of male freshmen this year is the lowest in several years because of both smaller class size and a lower percentage of men.

Since MIT’s decision to require all freshmen to live on campus, starting with the Class of 2006, fraternities have needed more men to pledge from each class to fill their houses because only three years of students reside there.

The fraternity Phi Beta Epsilon received 24 new pledges, the highest of any fraternity.

“There was definitely an added pressure of making up for the shortfall in the past in order to fill the house and ensure our survival as a fraternity,” said PBE Rush Chair Chris Mattenberger ’07. “It served as a rally cry for the brotherhood, really motivating the brothers to get out there and get the job done,” he said. “We put the trivial conversations and small talk behind us and focused on having meaningful conversations.”

Nu Delta and No. 6 Club had the highest yield percentage, with all of their rushees accepting.

Some upperclassmen included in this year’s numbers pledged last spring, but are going through the pledge program now, said IFC Rush Chair Craig J. Rothman G.

Clearinghouse Effects

This year’s standard deviation of pledges per fraternity was 4.6, meaning that most houses had similar numbers of pledges. “The standard deviation this year was down from 2003 and 2002 in part because of Clearinghouse,” Rothman said in an e-mail. The average number of pledges per fraternity was 11.

The Clearinghouse system, which allows fraternities to track the locations of potential pledges during Rush, was used this year for the first time since 2001. “Clearinghouse definitely improved the ability for freshmen to see more houses,” Rothman said.

“If freshmen have issues, it would be with camping,” Rothman said. “Camping” occurs when one fraternity uses the Clearinghouse tracking system to track freshmen at other fraternities to invite them to rush events.

The IFC rush chairs will hold a meeting Tuesday night discussing the Clearinghouse system, Rothman said. Possible options that might be proposed would be keep it in its current state, to keep Clearinghouse but remove camping, or to eliminate it altogether. The IFC Presidents’ Council would vote on any proposed changes, Rothman said.

ILGs complete fall rush

Rush for independent living groups also ended last week. Living Group Council Speaker Jessie E. Karnis said the LGC does not release fall numbers because fall rush is small and not all the houses participate.

Most independent living group houses have an open rush and are more successful in rushing freshmen in the spring and during the Independent Activities Period when freshmen are starting to consider their living options for the next year, Karnis said in an e-mail.