REPORTER’S NOTEBOOK: 2014’s Brass Rat design revealed

Clutching candle and compass, beaver sits on Harvard bridge

4670 ringpremiere graphic
Text and graphics courtesy of the 2014 Ring Committee,
4671 ringpremiere
Despite the cold, sophomores wait outside Kresge Auditorium for the Class of 2014 Ring Premiere last Friday evening. Some stood in line for hours in the hopes of getting a free gift.
Christopher A. Maynor—The Tech

By 4 p.m. Friday afternoon, the promise of a surprise gift for the first 50 people in line for Ring Premiere had lured a crowd of sophomores to the doors of Kresge. Later that evening, we discovered that the first ones there got their purple tickets and went on their merry way, instead of having to jostle each other outside the door for four hours.

Half an hour before the doors opened, I was in line in the windy cold with several hundred other 2014s waiting to see our unique brass rat design. I was amused by the number of people trying to find their friends by running out of the line onto Kresge Oval and waving — when everyone did the same, it became hilariously counterproductive.

When we were finally let in, we shoved our way through the doors to claim our favorite seats in the auditorium. For my friends and I, that meant back aisle seats near the doors, anticipating a stampede for gift bags afterwards. From our vantage point in the back, we saw at least three groups of sorority girls dressed in matching T-shirts and jackets, holding posters, ready to scream in support of their Ring Committee members. This later became a good-natured, albeit lengthy, competition of yelling stamina when two RingComm members from different sororities approached the podium at the same time.

The 11 members of the Class of 2014 RingComm walked onto the stage in their black, red-accented attire. RingComm Chair Ishaan Kumar ’14 and Vice Chair Daniela M. Yuschenkoff ’14 welcomed us to Ring Premiere, and then the other members presented various aspects of the ring in pairs. There was a video of a trip to Balfour, which showed us the process of making a Brass Rat without revealing any of the designs.

Interspersed between revealing aspects of our Brass Rats were lotteries for free rings, a replica of a brick in Fenway, a special 2014 compass, and a dinner with President Susan J. Hockfield. The Boston skyline, Cambridge skyline, seal shank, and class shank were all shown and unique features explained.

Finally, they presented us with the most anticipated part: the bezel design. When the beaver appeared on the screen, my first thought was, “Wow, that’s an awfully vicious-looking beaver …” Due to my avid reading of old Ring Premiere stories, I immediately suspected that this was our decoy bezel. However, I suspended disbelief, as I really wanted to be pleased with RingComm’s design — just in case it was not a decoy.

By the time a brain and a dripping dagger appeared in Fake Beaver’s paws, most people started suspecting deception, if they had not already known of the decoy tradition.

When RingComm finished presenting the fake bezel and moved onto the real one, someone yelled, “Aww, I liked that one!” to much laughter. I don’t know if it was in part due to my gratefulness that the hilarious bezel was fake, but I found myself growing fonder of the real bezel design with each detail that was revealed. The real beaver’s hands held a 2014 compass pointing towards MIT and a candle-screw with a C-shaped flame, signifying the 100th birthday of our mascot in 2014. And in contrast to the fake, unnervingly aggressive beaver, our beaver seemed to cheesily smile on us benevolently, with IHTFP discreetly marked into its tail.

Afterward, our plan to grab gift bags and then escape the mob worked well — mostly. Upon successfully grabbing our bags early, we turned around to find ourselves trapped by a huge shuffling blob of our fellow 2014s, all eager to get our Ring Premiere shot glasses and T-shirts. Those with purple tickets were given a free engraved cherry ring box as their gift.

Despite multiple attempts at squashing my distracting excitement about our ring over the weekend, early yesterday morning found me in line in Lobby 13. I anxiously waited to see the bright, shiny Brass Rat on my finger, if only for a few seconds — for now.

Sophomores can size and order rings in Lobby 13 over the coming two weeks. Rings will be distributed at the May 11 Ring Delivery at the John Joseph Moakley United States Court House in Boston.