Rush kicks off with the Greek Griller tomorrow in Killian Court at noon, and fraternities are preparing to lure freshmen with free lobster dinners, off-campus jaunts, and other pricey events.
In the time leading up to rush, fraternities have already begun meeting potential new members. Christopher G. Whitfield ’09, co-rush chair of Chi Phi, said Orientation leaders who are also fraternity brothers “are our greatest resource in reaching freshmen” before rush. Fraternities are not allowed to recruit before rush, so they focus on promoting general Greek life instead, Whitfield said.
Rush rules changed this year, permitting brothers to wear clothing with their fraternity’s letters. Daniel S. Eads ’08, president of the Interfraternity Council, said that this move makes Greek life less mysterious, freeing brothers from “hiding their affiliations.” Brothers, however, still need to abide by the existing rule that they may not bring up their affiliation unless it is a “natural response” to a question, according to IFC’s rush rules.
To prevent recruitment rule infractions, “the first step is education,” Eads said. According to Eads, IFC held a meeting on Aug. 29, 2007 to distribute the rush rules to presidents of fraternities. Since IFC is a “self-governing organization,” fraternities are responsible to watch for potential infractions, Eads said.
Evan D. Walton ’09, IFC judicial committee chair, declined to comment on the judicial process for rush or for the school year.
This year, Dormitory Council and the IFC signed an alcohol agreement, stating that DormCon “encourages all dormitories to limit the scope of their events held during Labor Day Weekend.” It also emphasizes that events must allow “participating first year students to flow freely to and from the event at will.” Eads said that these stipulations are in place to make sure freshmen may choose between dormitory events and Greek recruitment, and that “DormCon was understanding that … the first two days are important.”
According to DormCon President Sarah C. Hopp ’08, this year’s agreement between DormCon and IFC is more permissive than last year’s. Last year, according to Hopp, dormitories were not allowed to use house funds for events during Labor Day weekend. She said that she considers this year’s agreement fair because it gives individual dormitories more freedom over which events to hold. Most dormitories appear to be holding back on events during Labor Day weekend, she added.
Although he will participate in rush, Michael B. Fraser ’11 said, “I don’t know if I’ll pledge.” Both he and Aaron T. Rucker ’11 attributed free food as an incentive to take part in rush.
Cory A. Kays ’11 said that MIT fraternities are unlike stereotypical fraternities. The people are laid-back, he said, do not drink excessively, and remind him of his friends back home in Kentucky.
Selecting one of 27 fraternities may seem to be a daunting task, especially over the period of a week. Christopher A. Fematt ’08, IFC recruitment chair, recommended that freshmen “ask lots of questions” to brothers at the fraternities they are considering. Also, freshmen should prepare for rush week events by doing some preliminary research at http://rush.mit.edu, Fematt said.
According to Eads, IFC does not monitor the money that fraternities spend during rush. Of the chairs interviewed for this article, none would comment on exact amounts although Sigma Chi Rush Chair Ryan G. Dean ’08 said that fraternities typically spend thousands of dollars. The Tech reported last year that some fraternities spend upwards of $15,000 for rush.
Last year, 255, or about half of freshman men, pledged a fraternity after rush in the fall. By the end of the year, 299 men (and any women who joined the co-educational fraternity Delta Psi) had pledged fraternities, according to Fematt.
Rush begins tomorrow and ends Wednesday, Sept. 12. Fraternities are allowed to extend bids to freshmen starting on “Bid Day,” Friday, Sept. 7.