Interestingly enough, Greek life represents a nontrivial part at MIT. More than 40% of guys are affiliated with a fraternity and just around a third with a sorority. It’s nothing like the debauchery you see in movies or the south, but it wasn’t like a club either. It’s a nice mix of both fun and degeneracy that you’d expect in college.
Rush begins once orientation ends and goes on for a week and a half. Although I never expected to be affiliated, I still participated in rush. The events ranged from F1 racing and paintball, steak and lobster, and a canes buffet. There are events where you chill with the brothers and adrenaline-pumping events that leave your shirt completely soaked in sweat. When I rushed, I went jet skiing, indoor skydiving, and f1 racing. At MIT, we don’t usually have enough people interested in joining fraternities at the start, so we have to entice them with fun activities. It’s also an excuse for us to do them as well — who doesn’t want to eat all-you-can-eat hotpot? Fraternities will literally rent out large vans, drive down dorm row, and tell first years, “Hey, do you want to go ___ right now?” — and off they go!
The more I met the brothers, the more I was convinced to affiliate. I was drawn to a community and ended up pledging (after much persuasion). I started by going to 5 different fraternities’ events just because their events looked fun. But in hindsight, if I had known that I’d rush a fraternity from the start, I should’ve been more prepared. There’s not enough time to meet all the people affiliated, and by the end of the third day, invite-only events begin. By that time, trying to rush another new fraternity is probably too late — although strangely enough, that’s what I did. In the end, you only get to meet a few upperclassmen and fraternities this way, but honestly worth it. Think of it as speed dating for bros. One side comment: I always joke that I would’ve enjoyed being a ZBT more; I hung out with many ZBTs over the years, but I never heard of ZBT when I was rushing.
Anyway, I affiliated with Phi Delta Theta and didn’t regret that decision at all. I loved the retreats, formals, people, and house (although it was slightly too far from campus).
PDT Kleberg Convention
Our national chapter hosts Kleberg every year, requiring each fraternity to send delegates to the middle of nowhere, Ohio, and participate in a weekend of learning. I was voluntold one year to go; if I didn’t, our fraternity would be fined by our national chapter. It was four days long and stretched until Tuesday! Thankfully, I had a salaried internship and could squeeze one day less of work to participate.
The first thing I noticed was that all the other delegates. They were primarily white and also seemed super excited to be there. While the minimum number of delegates required was four people, you could bring more than ten. It was hilarious to see them all together walking around campus with so much energy. I was just there, wondering how my weekend turned out to be in the middle of a hot plain of yellow vegetation.
In my small breakout group, I had the entire spectrum of personalities and characters. Although I didn’t make any friends on that trip, Kleberg opened my eyes to realize that our campus amenities were a lot better than most. Namely, no matter how much I complain about the food at MIT, it’s not as bad as the spaghetti and meatballs I had at Oxford University.
MIT parties are among the best in the Boston area (we see students come from other colleges). We have 26 fraternities, although not all of them host parties regularly. But on any given Friday/Saturday night, there usually is some event going on.
For those who don’t want to sleep late (me on Friday nights before Saturday swim practice), I’ve had a lot of fun with the events that SafeTFP puts on. They’re usually around 9 PM and are quick activities to participate in before heading off to chill. However, if you want to go out afterward, there’s no one stopping you from doing that either…
No greek life, no problem!
I’ve thought a lot about if I should’ve joined another fraternity or should’ve never joined at all. However, it seems like there isn’t much of a difference in the grand scheme. Half of the friends I made are unaffiliated, and they have a solid friend group and a great time. Being affiliated is not for everyone and can fill up most of your free time.
But you never know if you don’t try. I had a great time 10/10 would do again.