ILGs Offer Bids For Fall Semester
By Apoorva Murarka
Three of MIT’s Independent Living Groups — Epsilon Theta, Fenway House, and the Women’s Independent Living Group — have given bids to students for the fall semester. Student House did not give any bids for the fall and pika was unavailable for comment. As of yet, there are no official figures regarding the total number of bids sent out by the ILGs or the total number of pledges received.
The Living Group Council, an umbrella organization that encompasses the five ILGs, “does not mandate specific timings for rush and the living groups are free to choose the dates and duration of their rush events” said Margaret E. Avener ‘07, the fall LGC Rush Chair. “ILG rush events and their timings vary from one house to another.”
Kyle P. Fritz ‘09, the ET rush chair, said that ET received seven pledges this fall, including four freshmen. According to Fritz, this figure is very similar to last year’s fall rush when ET received eight pledges. ET rushes for a little more than a week and currently houses 20 people.
WILG Rush Chair Emily S. Gullotti ‘07, said that WILG does not release the number of bids and pledges until the end of the year as their bids are valid for the entire year. WILG rushes twice a year, during spring and fall, for about two weeks each, according to Gullotti. WILG currently houses 44 women.
According to David N. Rogers, the assistant dean and director of Fraternities, Sororities, and Independent Living Groups, “the ILGs have been more successful than fraternities in recruiting upperclassmen in the past few years and they have a different approach to recruitment as compared to the fraternities. There have rarely been any disciplinary problems with the ILGs as they have a different social component … they don’t have parties like fraternities.”
During last year’s spring rush, two bids were accepted at Fenway House, pika has zero pledges, Student House had two pledges, and WILG had three pledges as of February 2005.
“The ILG bids have open dates,” said Avener, meaning that one can wait a year or more before pledging to an ILG. Some houses rush in the fall whereas others focus much more on spring, so “an overall number of bids and pledges doesn’t really have much meaning unless one talks to each house and figures out what each house needs,” said Avener.
Financially, most of the living groups are rather stable and almost all of them see no problem in sustaining themselves for the next year or so. “Our ILG is extremely strong and I do not see a [financial] problem,” commented Gullotti on the financial position of WILG. Fritz said, “Epsilon Theta is doing fine and it is going to be easily sustainable financially over the next year.” Johnson added that Student House has an alumni board that helps them out as well, if the need arises.
Student House “does not rush like other ILGs,” said Caitlin Johnson ’08, the Student House Rush Chair. She added that Student House did not organize any significant rush activities this fall and that they rushed in “a very subdued manner … as there are enough people living in Student House for the next semester.” Student House has a current total of 22 occupants out of a capacity of 26.
When asked about the number of students who pledged Fenway House, Fenway House Rush Chair Hanna S. Kuznetsov declined to comment. pika could not be reached for the numbers of bids and pledges that their houses got.
There were a variety of events organized by the ILGs this rush to attract students. Avener said that Fenway House was trying to attract students interested in the arts, so they organized events like dances, theater performances, and movie marathons. “The Complete Works of William Shakespeare, Abridged, was the event that Fenway House was most excited about,” said Avener. She also remarked that Epsilon Theta organized events around Boston and around their house so that prospective members could get an idea of the events and activities that take place in vicinity of the house, whereas pika “did a lot of impromptu things and went along with whatever people said they were interested in.”
WILG also gave away free cookies on campus. According to Gullotti, “everybody loves free cookies and this provided good recognition for WILG.” Other strategies employed by WILG included “putting up bright and fluorescent posters around all the good spots on campus.”
Reflecting on fall rush, Fritz said, “the results are very good and we are keeping our numbers up”. “WILG had a great fall rush with a high turnout at activities like Cheesecake and A Cappella,” remarked Gullotti. Fenway House has been pleased with how fall rush has been going for them and they have had a lot of people attending their events, Kuznetsov said.
Overall, the rush chairs feel that the best thing about rush is the opportunity that it presents the ILGs to meet with numerous freshmen and that it enables the latter to explore an alternative living environment that is not too often publicized. “Rush enables us to get our name out there and gets the people on campus to know who we are, we get to know new people and talk to them and they get to know more about us,” said Gullotti.