At the end of orientation, we all experienced the frantic week known as Rush. Many things have been written regarding the Rush process, including statistics on the number of men who have received bids and accepted them (369 and 321, respectively, as of two weeks ago). Most men who pledged did so because they felt that they got along very well with their fraternity brothers.
A pledge means a commitment that you will uphold the values of your fraternity, respect your brothers, and share a common living space with them for the three following years (not counting freshman year — freshmen are not allowed to move into their fraternities until they are sophomores). I hope I’m stressing the magnitude of this commitment well enough, because it isn’t to be taken lightly: a week, at least from my perspective, seems quite short to make such an important decision. And for the sake of being forthright, I have to state that after a week of intense Rush, I’ve also earned my place among the 321 pledges. However, had I felt the slightest foreboding, I would not have pledged anywhere. Not everyone may be willing to draw such a sharp line and, as a result, may not be happy with their choice. Worse yet, they could end up de-pledging — something that is definitely frowned upon by the brothers of a fraternity and constitutes a tedious process in which you basically say “no” after having said “yes.”
With regards to the total number of pledges this year, rush is considered by many to have been a great success. The IFC did a lot of hard work that really showed, such as designing a Rush app for the iPhone and Android operating systems.
The time allotted for Rush is crucial. It would be much better if there was more time for Rush, but that would not be very feasible. First — and most obviously — a longer Rush would overlap more with the beginning of the term, possibly incurring harmful effects on a potential pledge’s academics.
A longer Rush would also be more of a financial burden — more activities means more money. While this may not be a problem for some of the bigger fraternities, it would be particularly taxing on the smaller ones.
But despite the shorter-than-ideal Rush, the general consensus remains that MIT does a much better job with fraternities and Rush than other comparable colleges — men’s Greek involvement at MIT consistently hovers at around 50 percent.
Rush is very fast-paced, overly competitive and, for lack of a better term, rushed. It’s important to note that it’s quite impossible for anyone to get a proper feel of all 26 fraternities in a few days, let alone get to know all the brothers in such a short amount of time. Another thing to note is that not only are pledges-to-be forced into deciding where they want to live for their subsequent years at MIT in an extremely short amount of time, but they also don’t have the opportunity to properly weigh all their options beforehand.
For those who can handle the system — as the 50 percent statistic seems to show — Rush is a great time to meet lots of new people and potentially find brothers who will be an amazing support group for them for the rest of their lives. For others, however, it may devolve quickly into a period of uncertainty and hastened decision-making. Only waiting will tell if Rush and the amount of time allotted to it will change and improve, but “rushing” Rush cannot be considered the most effective or the most beneficial thing to do.
Hal Anil is a member of the Class of 2015.