Brass Rat unveiled: 2015 Ring Premiere

Ring features Pokémon, Curiosity

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A line of sophomores waiting to enter Ring Premiere stretches across the front of the Zesiger Center.
Bruno B. F. Faviero—The Tech
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Ring Committee Chair Matthew T. Abel ’15 and Vice Chair Michelle H. Lee ’15 introduce the rest of the committee.
Bruno B. F. Faviero—The Tech
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A group of Sigma Kappa members hold up signs with the faces of the two Sigma Kappa members of Ring Committee: Coleen K. Gabel ’15 and Michelle H. Lee ’15.
Bruno B. F. Faviero—The Tech
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Audrey A. Sedal ’15 jumps for joy after winning a free brass rat for being the 15th person in line.
Bruno B. F. Faviero—The Tech
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Students excitedly welcome the members of the 2015 Ring Committee to the stage.
Bruno B. F. Faviero—The Tech
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The joke bezel is presented before the real design of the ring. In front of the B1W ambulance crossing the bridge, the beaver is wearing a “YOLO” shirt and holding a Sonoma greens salad.
Bruno B. F. Faviero—The Tech
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A sophomore looks at the sample rings on display in Kresge lobby after the design was unveiled.
Bruno B. F. Faviero—The Tech
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Infographic by connor kirschbaum

It was a chilly 37-degrees as the Class of 2015 began to amass along the perimeter of Kresge on Friday. They came in droves — fraternities, sororities, halls, clubs — all individual groups, and yet on this night united for one reason: the premiere of the Class of 2015 Brass Rat.

As one of the few events that brings the whole class together, it almost felt like a tailgating party. Each group entertained itself in different ways: One sang Jason Mraz’ “I’m Yours” to the rhythm of a ukulele, another belted out the “Engineers’ Drinking Song” and some sort of ode to East Campus.

Others were discussing what might be on the ring. The Curiosity Mars rover and a DeLorean (the future of Back to the Future II is set in 2015) were guessed by a few students. The growing line snaked around Kresge, and by 7:10 p.m. it was already close to the door of the Z-Center.

At 7:45, the doors opened and people slowly trickled in as each of the first 600 got a ticket for the giveaways. One lucky ’15, Audrey A. Sedal, won a free Brass Rat for being the 15th in line — clever. On the inside, it almost seemed like a class reunion — people gave each other flying hugs, and groups coordinated their clothes or body paint, or had signs with the name of the person they were there to cheer for. Ringcomm taking the stage turned into a shouting match of whose name could be screamed the loudest.

I made the mistake of sitting next to the Alpha Phi and Sigma Kappa sections, and so all I heard for the rest of the night was “MEGHAN!!!” and “WE LOVE COLLEEN!” When Ringcomm Chair Matthew T. “Matt” Abel ’15 and Vice Chair Michelle H. Lee ’15 tried to start the ceremony, each could barely get a sentence out without the crowd interrupting. Michelle’s voice rose to a shout over the raving audience. “This is going to take a really long time,” said Abel into the microphone as the Chi Phis shouted “Abel!”, “Queeney!”, and even “Kalas!” as Jeremy J. Kalas ’16 took down names of the giveaway winners in the corner.

When Michael O. Flynn ’15 took to the podium, he asked: “Where has the rum gone?” The answer, it would seem, was that it was consumed by the audience.

The presentation of the ring began with the Hacker’s Map, which is — for the first time — cast into the ring, meaning it won’t wear down with years of use. It was subtle on the inside of the ring; I could barely feel the narrow, cast tunnels on my finger when I tried on a ring later.

Next was the Boston side of the ring. The outline was of Boston at night, and featured a flying Delorean next to the Hancock tower — a reference to the fact that part of Back to the Future II took place in 2015. There was also the usual two sets of crew shells, this year with one and five rowers in the boats, and a sailboat whose sail read “15.” Fenway also made an appearance, commemorating its 100th anniversary celebrated in 2012.

Next was the Cambridge side — oh boy. Simmons was the only dorm shown from West Campus, which caused quite a stir in the audience. People began to either cheer, or boo and shout “Baker!”, “Bexley!”, and even “Building 36!” (the last one coming from the Bexley contingent). “We wanted to show the scope of the campus, from Simmons all the way to East Campus,” Chair Matt Abel would later say. Or as former Simmons resident and Ringcomm member John K. “Jack” Queeney put it: “because Simmons is the cultural center of campus.” There was a shooting star as a symbol of “hope and … Stellar crashing,” and the entire horizon was underscored by a double pendulum with Golden proportions.

This entire time, the Sigma Kappa/Alpha Phi section would continued to stand up with shouts of “Meghan!” and “We love Colleen!”, independent of who was on stage. When Alpha Phi Meghan E. Torrence ’15 took the stage, I could hardly hear a complete sentence she said over the cheering.

On the shanks, on the Lobby 10 side, the dome reads “M MXV ” as hackers escape off Building 10 holding the missing numerals. On the seal side, the Curiosity rover is seen on the edge of the seal itself.

Next came the fun part — the joke bezel. After the committee was introduced, Kira S. Kopacz ’15 and Queeney began to present the fake bezel as if it were real. A beaver wearing a “YOLO” shirt sat upon scaffolding, holding a dumbbell and a bowl of Sonoma greens to represent MIT’s “health-conscious” student body, while the B1W ambulance sped across the Harvard Bridge, representing our “work hard, play hard” attitude. Some people seemed to believe this was the actual ring. “What is this ugly shit?” said one audience member incredulously.

“Ring delivery is close to home this year,” they said next, “at the Johnson Track!” A picture of Johnson track set up for finals flashed onto the screen. “No fucking way,” said someone close to me, their jaw practically dropping as others in the crowd looked similarly worried.

There was a moment of silence as Ringcomm said good night, until Abel and Lee returned to the podium. “That bezel sucked almost as much as the ’14’s” said Abel, getting an explosive response from the audience that came back to life, and boos from the Class of 2014 Ringcomm on the balcony.

The real bezel was, as usual, full of small, special features. The Green Building was lit up as if in a Tetris game, adorned with a basketball to represent the MIT men’s basketball team’s ascent to the Final Four. A lightning bolt in the back hearkened back to our class’s Harry Potter-themed orientation, though it was also in the shape of a molecule in a chair conformation to commemorate the International Year of Chemistry in 2011.

One of the more popular appearances, getting a strongly positive audience reaction, was that of Dragonair, the 148th Pokémon, swimming in the corner (the Class of 2015 is the 148th graduating class). Of all the features, I hope this one continues so that the Class of 2018 can have a Mew flying around. The Beaver itself faced Boston but gazed back at Cambridge, and swatted away eight ivy leaves. The veins on each leaf spelled out the first letter of each Ivy League school’s name, and the Harvard is seen sinking into the river, having been swatted by the beaver’s tail.

Next came the actual Ring Delivery location — Fenway Park. I have to say that I was surprised, but the audience seemed to love it, and it was a great note to end the night on. After the ceremony, the audience descended upon Kresge Lobby in droves, forming mobs in front of the tables of goodie bags and ring displays.

Overall, the ’15s seemed excited about the ring and ring delivery, but I think Abraham I. Garza ’15 summed up the thoughts of many: “First I have to get through the semester.”