FSILG participation in orientation grows

No major Midway changes

The Review Committee on Orientation’s (RCO) final report, which was released in April, and an accompanying MIT News Office press release, misleadingly suggested that individual FSILGs would be able to participate in the Orientation Activities Midway. Individual fraternities, sororities, and living groups (FSILGs) will not have booths at the Midway, but the broad FSILG presence during Orientation will be expanded for informational purposes, according to MIT officials.

“Independent of the question of when rush occurs is the matter of allowing fraternities, sororities, and independent living groups to be involved during Orientation in events such as Activities Midway,” said the RCO’s report. “Because of the important and positive role these groups play on campus, we can see no reason for a blanket ban against their participation in Orientation and recommend that all such bans be lifted.”

While this makes it seem that individual FSILGs will have booths at the Midway, this is not the case. As in years past, the FSILGs will be represented by their governing bodies; the Interfraternity Council (IFC), Panhellenic Association (Panhel), and Living Group Council (LGC).

The motivation behind the recommendation was not to have individual FSILGs represented at the Midway, said Julie B. Norman, Senior Dean for the Office of Undergraduate Advising and Academic Programming, but to increase the general FSILG presence during orientation so freshmen can learn about the rush and recruitment process.

“There’s been an artificially imposed barrier to providing information to students about fraternities and sororities,” Norman said, referring to strict rules on promoting Greek life during orientation. Freshmen don’t necessarily know very much about Rush and Recruitment, she added, and RCO hopes that increased exposure to Greek life during orientation week will help freshmen make decisions about joining a fraternity or sorority.

“Young women coming in don’t understand why some students deaffiliate and become [Panhellenic Recruitment Counselors],” Norman continued. “The recommendation was to ensure that information was provided to students to understand what the processes were.”

In the committee’s 2011 Orientation survey data, gathered from members of the Class of 2015, 59 percent of respondents who participated in Rush/Recruitment said they had “sufficient” or “very sufficient” information about FSILGs to make an informed decision about joining. Only 23 percent responded negatively.

Henry J. Humphreys, dean of residential life and dining and an RCO member, explained that “what [the committee was] hoping for was to allow the FSILGs to have an active role in on campus orientation and not be isolated.”

Even if FSILGs were permitted to have individual booths at the Midway, representatives from the group think it probably wouldn’t be a good idea. Eyas B. Alsharaiha ’13, speaker of the LGC, says living groups would decline to have individual booths anyway.

“We think it is better for us, regardless of the outcome, to have a single LGC booth for us during the Midway and Orientation,” he wrote in an email to The Tech, explaining that having a solid front is more effective in communicating with freshmen at the Midway.

Tommy A. Anderson ’13, president of the IFC, agrees. “It would be very difficult to allow individual fraternities to participate at the Midway, given the packed nature of the event,” he wrote in an email. “Given that Rush is already our defined period of time for individual chapter exploration, it would be unnecessary and inappropriate for us to allow any member organization to partake in the event.”

Orientation exposure

Officials emphasized that the increase in FSILG exposure would not manifest itself as more events or programs during Orientation. Instead, there will “likely be a table during orientation in the Student Center,” said Marlena Martinez Love, MIT’s assistant dean and director for FSILGs. “Not for individual chapters and organizations, but the three governing councils. That is supported by the UAAP as part of the orientation program. It had been done, it had been stopped for a couple of years, and is coming back.”

Love cited the RCO as the reason for this change, “The feedback that the [RCO] had gathered is that student did not have enough information to create informed decisions,” she said.

In order to educate freshmen about their residence choices and help them with the terminology of Rush/Recruitment, the LGC will also host a booth in the student center during orientation week.

“One example of FSILG presence in orientation is that the LGC will be having a booth in the Student Center to talk about the ILGs and the different options we offer, as well as when/how people can visit us,” Alsharaiha said.

The IFC has not made any concrete decisions about running a week-long booth in W20, though “that’s certainly something that we have been considering,” said Anderson.

The Greek Griller

The Greek Griller, which traditionally takes place directly after the class picture in Killian Court on the final day of orientation, has been moved to the day after orientation ends, September 1. This change is due to the new orientation schedule, which ends on Friday, August 31, with a class event at the New England Aquarium. Humphreys said that the RCO had recommended getting rid of the annual ice cream social event on Tuesday of orientation week so that residence halls could host their own events for freshmen. Norman mentioned that schedule changes also moved the swim test and biology advanced standing exam from Registration Day, which eliminated two official events conflicting with Rush/Recruitment.

Because of these changes, the Griller was pushed to Saturday. The UAAP worked with the leadership of FSILGs, who decided to move the Greek Griller to Kresge Oval, instead of the usual Killian Court location.

Rush timing

The report from RCO stated that “No subject generated more discussion, contention, and disagreement than the timing of FSILG Recruitment.” The RCO recommended that a second committee be appointed to look into the issue in more depth. When RCO was discussing the timing of Rush, it became clear that there was a lack of “hard data” such as any financial understanding, according to Humphreys.

This year, the timing of Rush will remain the same as it has been in the past — just after orientation. Humphreys hopes that the committee on recruitment will be in place by the end of the summer. The committee will be comprised of students and alumni from FSILGs, as well as Dean Hastings and Colombo.