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Many MIT fraternities are located in Boston because the Institute was originally located in the Back Bay neighborhood, and had no dormitories to house its students.
MIT moved to its current Cambridge campus in 1916, and newer independent living groups have sprouted up or moved in around it.
From the 1860s through the first half of the 1900s, MIT students were almost entirely male. In the 2000s, the Institute's undergraduate gender ratio reached nearly 50-50. A period of demographic and political change in the 1960s and 1970s, which followed larger national trends, resulted in the conversion of several all-male, nationally affiliated living groups into local co-ed groups, and led to the expansion of all-female and co-ed housing options.
Traditionally, rush at MIT occurred during "Residence/Orientation" (R/O) Week, which was the final week of each summer before the start of the fall semester. All incoming freshmen and transfer students would arrive on campus a week before Registration Day, the official start of the fall semester. During R/O Week, the incoming class would participate in orientation activities, take the so-called "writing test" to attempt to test out of the MIT Writing Requirement, and participate in residence selection. All students were free to participate in fraternity, sorority and independent living group rush. Those students who did not end up in an off-campus living group would also participate in the dorm selection process (see "List of Massachusetts Institute of Technology undergraduate dormitories").
FSILG rush was an intense experience for all involved, cramming the entire process of choosing among dozens of housing options into essentially three days. It always began with an event known as the "Killian Kickoff," held in Killian Court in the middle of campus. MIT's president would deliver a welcoming speech to the incoming class, which always ended with, "Let the rush begin!" Immediately, upperclassmen removed their overshirts to display their letters (an upperclassman wearing anything which identified his or her living group prior to the start of rush was a serious violation of rush rules), and fanned out through the crowd in search of freshmen. For the incoming students, rush was a whirlwind of cookouts, parties and field trips all over the Boston area. For the upperclassmen, it was a marathon of 18 hour days, trying to meet as many freshmen as possible while competing with other living groups for the most popular prospects. For both sides, rush could be stressful, exhausting, and highly emotional. In many ways, rush was a microcosm of the broader MIT experience.
The old rush was supported behind the scenes by the 24-hour week-long "R/O Clearinghouse", a system for keeping track of freshman students as they threaded their way through a maze of fraternity rush events interleaved with other MIT orientation activities. Whenever a freshman "checked into" or "checked out of" a fraternity activity, that frat's R/O liaison person was supposed to call the R/O Clearinghouse to update what was essentially a real-time database to track the whereabouts of the new students. R/O Clearinghouse physically consisted of a bank of telephones staffed by volunteers in a large room equipped with computer terminals, located in the MIT EECS Department. The volunteers were drawn from MIT service fraternities and dorm residents who were supposed to be "impartial" with respect to the different competing fraternities. The dorm volunteers were motivated at least in part by the knowledge that an unsuccessful fraternity rush would result in even greater overcrowding of the MIT dormitory system. which simply lacked the physical space to accommodate every new student.
Freshman housing rush was eliminated in an initiative led by MIT president Charles Vest in the wake of the September 1997 death of Fiji (Phi Gamma Delta, since disbanded at MIT) freshman Scott Krueger. Beginning with the 2002 - 2003 academic year, all freshmen were required to live on campus. This was made possible by the completion of a new undergraduate dorm which opened that year, Simmons Hall. Since then, MIT has continued to build or renovate more dormitories, including an expansion of choices for graduate students as well (see "List of Massachusetts Institute of Technology graduate dormitories").
A much-toned-down echo of the old rush still occurs with the so-called "dormitory rush" process, in which new students decide their dormitory preferences, based in part upon special events staged by various dorms to introduce newcomers to their distinctive living arrangements. However, dormitories do not "choose" which new students to admit, but can only influence prospective new members to express greater or lesser preference for specific dorms on their respective entries in the dorm lottery process. Pressure to quickly find housing has been lifted by MIT's guarantees that every freshman student will find space in an on-campus dorm, and that undergraduate students can remain in the dorm system for up to 4 years. The old fraternity rush has been depressurized, with recruiting spread out throughout the first academic year, and less frantic rush events for prospective new members.
The Action Man (MIT) was a mysterious fixture of the MIT fraternity scene from the mid-1970s through the early 1990s. He was known for calling MIT fraternities, offering "some action" to anyone who would talk to him.
The Lambda Phi chapter of the Alpha Delta Phi fraternity is located at 351 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, MA. The chapter was founded in 1976 through the assistance of the brothers of the Lambda Phi fraternity, which was a local fraternity at MIT from 1906 to 1925. That was a literary fraternity that had unsuccessfully petitioned to join the Alpha Delta Phi international. Their petition had been rejected because ADP considered MIT at that time to be an engineering trade school and so not compatible with their literary tradition. Henry Leeb, MIT'1915 remained friends with members of ADP, but died only 3 weeks after the current chapter was approved.
The Mu Tau chapter of the Alpha Epsilon Pi fraternity is located at 155 Bay State Rd in Boston, MA. The chapter was founded in 1948 at MIT. It is the only Jewish fraternity at MIT.
The "Rheckless" Rho Nu Chapter of the historically black organization, Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity was established on September 26, 1989. The chapter encompasses men from MIT, Harvard University, and Tufts University. The chapter website is http://web.mit.edu/rhonu/www/pnhtml/.
MIT's first Chi Phi chapter was both the first social fraternity founded at MIT as well as the first social fraternity in Boston but folded some years later. When Harvard expelled fraternities and other secret organizations in the late 1880s, the Beta Chapter was relocated to MIT. The Beta Chapter of Chi Phi has inhabited three houses in its history, 44 Fenway (1910–1930), 22 Fenway (1930–1950), and 32 Hereford (1950–present). 32 Hereford is a recognized historic landmark designed by McKim, Mead, and White and was formerly the home to John F. Andrew, a prominent 19th century Boston politician and son of Governor John Andrew.
The Sigma Tau Chapter of Delta Kappa Epsilon (ΔKE) is located on Amherst Street (403 Memorial Drive) in the center of MIT's west campus. Brothers are highly involved in campus activities, more than half are varsity athletes. ΔKE is currently composed of 45 Brothers.
The Beta Nu Chapter of Delta Tau Delta (ΔTΔ), or Delts, is a fraternity located at 416 Beacon Street. The stated mission of the society is "Committed to Lives of Excellence". ΔTΔ is known for its active social program, particularly its annual Goldfish Party.
Their current residence is a brownstone mansion with five stories and a roof deck. The house is currently home to about 30 initiated members.
Delta Upsilon (ΔY) is a social fraternity, located at 526 Beacon Street. The home to about forty or so active brothers is a six-story brownstone building located directly across from MIT and is situated in the middle of Boston's Back Bay; the house is owned and operated by its brothers. Delta Upsilon is a non-secret brotherhood as well as the sixth oldest fraternity in the nation, established in 1834 at Williams College. The stated mission of the society is defined by four founding principles: The Promotion of Friendship, The Development of Character, The Advancement of Justice, and The Diffusion of Liberal Culture.
The Technology Chapter was chartered in 1891, and has thrived at MIT over 100 years. The brotherhood of around forty men come from diverse backgrounds and participate in a wide range of activities both on and off campus, including athletics, community service, and leadership.
The MIT chapter of the Kappa Sigma (ΚΣ) national social fraternity, Gamma-Pi, is located in a 5-story townhouse on the Charles River at 407 Memorial Drive in Cambridge, in MIT's west campus. The chapter was chartered in 1914, and bears the honor of being the first chapter to racially integrate within the national fraternity, as well as being a recent recipient of the Founders' Circle award for chapter excellence, the highest honor throughout Kappa Sigma. In 2010, it was awarded the Chapter of the Year by MIT's Interfraternity Council (IFC) It is currently the largest fraternity at MIT, at approximately 70 members.
Lambda Chi Alpha (ΛΧΑ) or LCA is a social fraternity, located at 99 Bay State Road. The chapter was chartered in 1912, making it the oldest chapter with continuing operations on the fraternity's roster. Their 6 story house was the home of a former governor of Massachusetts, with a roof-top deck view of the Charles River, Cambridge, Boston and Fenway Park. The international measurement of a Smoot was created by the brothers when measuring the Harvard Bridge using pledge Oliver R. Smoot as a ruler.
The Nu Chapter of Lambda Upsilon Lambda fraternity was established on March 5, 1994. The chapter incorporates MIT, Tufts University, Harvard University, Boston College, and Northeastern University. The chapter website can be found at http://launidadlatina.org/chapters/nu/index.asp.
Nu Delta (NΔ) is a local fraternity affiliated with the MIT. NΔ's four-storied house is located in the Back Bay area of Boston and is separated from the MIT campus by the Charles River. The house's resident population is about 30. Founded in 1922 under the national fraternity of Phi Mu Delta, NΔ has since broken from the national and is now a standalone fraternity. NΔ is often involved in many events on campus, especially with respect to intramural sports.
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Phi Beta Epsilon, or "PBE" is a local fraternity affiliated with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Founded on April 1, 1890, Phi Beta Epsilon is one of the oldest fraternities at MIT. PBE was registered as a non-profit corporation with the Commonwealth of Massachusetts on May 15, 1896. Currently located at 400 Memorial Drive in Cambridge, MA, Phi Beta Epsilon has a resident population of about 40.
The Massachusetts Gamma chapter of Phi Delta Theta, or "Phi Delts," is located at 97 Bay State Rd. in Boston. Founded as a local fraternity, Psi Delta, the chapter affiliated with Phi Delta Theta in 1932.
Founded at MIT in 1903, the Alpha Mu chapter of the Phi Kappa Sigma Fraternity, also known as "Skullhouse", is located at 530 Beacon Street. It hosts a bi-annual party, "Skuffle," where, in the past, a giant skull was built around the facade and a maze was constructed in the basement. This practice was halted after an incident in which Boston officials declared the structure a fire hazard and ordered the building evacuated.
The Massachusetts Eta chapter of Phi Kappa Theta (ΦΚΘ), or "PKT", is located at 229 Commonwealth Avenue. The Chapter was originally founded at MIT on April 3, 1918, under the name Alpha Epsilon, and had its first official meeting in Senior House, Holman 303. Ten days later, the group voted to join Phi Kappa, and were charted on January 1, 1919. On April 29, 1959, the PKT Chapter at MIT, along with others across the nation, merged with Theta Kappa Phi as the Massachusetts Eta chapter of Phi Kappa Theta fraternity.
The brothers live in a four-story, century-old brownstone in Boston's affluent Back Bay. The house overlooks the tree-lined Commonwealth Avenue Mall. One block away is Newbury Street, famous for its restaurants, boutiques, and popular stores. A short walk brings you to Fenway Park, the Prudential Mall, Boston Common, and the Boston Public Library. Also, the Copley T station is two blocks away from its location, and MIT campus is a five-minute bike ride away.
The MIT chapter of Phi Sigma Kappa (ΦΣΚ) or "Phi Sig" is located at 487 Commonwealth Avenue, in the heart of Boston's Kenmore Square. It was originally built as the Lieutenant Governor's mansion by noted architect R. Clipston Sturgis. Three MIT sorority houses, two BU dormitories, and Fenway Park surround PSK's two stately townhouses. The five storied Phi Sig chapter house features a commercial chef's kitchen, historic paneled library, billiard room, gym facilities on the lower level, screening room, and dramatic roof deck. The magnificent Back Bay private residence is home to 45 brothers.
Notable chapter alumni include:
This living group was originally affiliated with Phi Beta Delta. Notable alumnus include Nobel prize winner Richard Feynman (Physics, 1939). The Massachusetts Theta chapter of Pi Lambda Phi was founded in 1897 and continues to hold a strong presence at the Institute today. As the first non-sectarian fraternity, Pi Lambda Phi was the first to welcome men of all creeds.
The MIT chapter of Sigma Alpha Epsilon, SAE is located at 165 Bay State Road, in the heart of historic Back Bay. Founded in 1892, the social fraternity is known for a strong emphasis on service and philanthropy.
The MIT chapter of Sigma Chi was founded in 1882 by 10 undergraduates. It is the oldest continuously-running fraternity at the school, having been founded only after Chi Phi. The chapter house, leased by the fraternity in 1919, and purchased in 1924, is located at 532 Beacon St. in the Back Bay neighborhood of Boston. Famous alumni of the chapter  include:
Companies founded by Alpha Theta alumni have an overall worth of over 90 billion dollars.
The Formation of Delta Pi
Delta Pi was formed in April 1990 as a local fraternity to continue the brotherhood experienced by the members of the Mu Tau Chapter of the Alpha Epsilon Pi fraternity. A house was acquired for the new fraternity in the spring of 1991 and members began moving into the house during the summer of that year. Rush 1991 proved successful for Delta Pi as seven men pledged but the following year the house became not financially viable. Members moved to apartments in Boston and Cambridge. At this point members also decided to cancel fall Rush because of their doubt in the fraternity’s future. Another reason was that the move out of the house in Boston fell on the same weekend as Rush, making it impossible to accomplish both tasks at the same time. The fall of 1992 proved to be a turning point as the younger members decided that the ideals of the fraternity were extremely important and must live on. With this new direction the fraternity looked at several options. One of the options was to affiliate with a national fraternity.
Affiliation with Sigma Nu
The decision to affiliate with Sigma Nu came after much research and discussion. It was decided that the stability of a national fraternity would aid in maintaining the brotherhood. Sigma Nu was the first choice of the members and they expressed interest in rechartering the Epsilon Theta Chapter. With this as their goal, the members of Delta Pi formally disbanded and became the MIT Colony of Sigma Nu. Throughout the fall of 1994 the members of the MIT Colony worked on preparing a petition to send to Sigma Nu National requesting a charter. This document was completed later that year and was officially submitted to Sigma Nu on December 4, 1994. On April 22, 1995, Sigma Nu officially rechartered the Epsilon Theta Chapter (#100) at MIT. Brothers from the Zeta Eta Chapter at Tufts University initiated the first members and the chapter was once again active.
The Sigma Nu chapter house, located at 28 Fenway in the Back Bay Fens, is currently home to 40 brothers.
The Xi chapter of Tau Epsilon Phi (known around MIT campus as tEp) has a reputation for being very open and welcoming—a tradition which started with the founding of the national fraternity in 1910 as a place where Jewish men were welcomed. At that time, membership in most fraternal organizations was limited to Christian (primarily Protestant) Caucasian men. tEp was one of the first chapters of its national fraternity to include non-Caucasians and has also had openly gay members since the late 1960s. The chapter house is located at 253 Commonwealth Avenue in the Back Bay neighborhood of Boston. tEps distinguish themselves with their fraternity color, purple, and an intriguing attachment to the number 22. tEps also originated the expression "eit!".
A few of the famous and/or interesting alumni of the chapter:
The MIT Chapter of Theta Chi fraternity (Beta Chapter) is the oldest active chapter of the international Theta Chi fraternity. It was founded in 1902 by Park Valentine Perkins, a former member of Theta Chi's Alpha Chapter at Norwich University. The chapter is located at 528 Beacon St in Boston, MA.
The Theta Deuteron Charge is the local charge of Theta Delta Chi fraternity affiliated with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Known to its members as "Theta Deut," the charge was founded on March 21, 1890. The charge lasted only 2 years before disbanding. In 1902, a group of MIT undergrads founded a local fraternity, Alpha Epsilon, with the intention of becoming the new Theta Delta Chi. On June 2, 1906, the new Theta Deuteron was chartered.
The charge is now located at 372 Memorial Drive in Cambridge, MA, overlooking Memorial Drive and the Charles River. Theta Deuteron acquired the property and the house, a former MIT dean's mansion, in 1966. During the 1980s the fourth floor was added to the house.
Noted alumni include
The fourth chapter of the first professional fraternity in the United States, Delta chapter of Theta Xi was chartered in 1885. Now a general fraternity, Theta Xi is located at 64 Bay State Road in Boston, MA, in the Back Bay area of Boston. Most members are housed in the fraternity's two brownstones overlooking the Charles River, less than a block away from Kenmore Square. Notable alumni include Charles Hayden, Delta 24, whose philanthropic efforts were recognized by the naming of a library at MIT, a Boston University business building, and planetariums at both the Boston Museum of Science and the American Museum of Natural History.
The Xi chapter of Zeta Beta Tau is located at MIT. It is located at 58 Manchester Rd, Brookline, a suburb of Boston.
The Rho Alpha Chapter of Zeta Psi is located at 233 Massachusetts Ave. in Cambridge, MA. It was founded in 1979, making it MIT's newest fraternity.Zeta Psi was awarded Best New Member Education Program in 2012 by the MIT Interfraternity Council.
The Theta Omicron Chapter of Alpha Chi Omega was instantiated at MIT in 1986. Since 1994, the chapter has occupied a brownstone in Kenmore Square, where approximately 25 sisters in the chapter reside each year.
The MIT Chapter of Alpha Epsilon Phi is the Beta Epsilon chapter, Founded at MIT in 1995. The sorority's philanthropies are Sharsheret and the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation. The chapter's website is http://web.mit.edu/aephi/www/index.shtml.
The "Lovely & Uppermost" Lambda Upsilon chapter of the historically black Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority was established at MIT on October 8, 1977. The chapter encompasses women from the campuses of MIT, Harvard University, and Wellesley College. The chapter website is http://web.mit.edu/akas/www.
The Zeta Phi chapter of Alpha Phi was founded in 1984, making it MIT's first Panhellenic sorority. Since 1991, the chapter has occupied a brownstone in Kenmore Square, where approximately 60 of the sisters live. The current president of Alpha Phi International, Laura Malley-Schmitt, is an alumna of Zeta Phi chapter.
The Xi Tau chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc was established in 1980. The chapter's charter includes Babson College, Bentley University, Brandeis University, Harvard University, Lesley University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Tufts University, and Wellesley College.
The Zeta Mu chapter of Kappa Alpha Theta became MIT's fourth Panhellenic sorority in 1991. 40 sisters live in Green Hall, the Kappa Alpha Theta House, on the MIT campus. The chapter has about 130 active members, with a diverse range of interests and backgrounds.
Massachusetts Gamma chapter of Pi Beta Phi. MIT's newest sorority. Recruited its first sisters in the fall of 2008.
MIT is somewhat unusual in having a set of officially recognized living groups which are neither dormitories nor fraternities or sororities - these are known as Independent Living Groups. (Hence the acronym "FSILG" to describe Fraternities, Sororities, and Independent Living Groups.) ILGs operations are similar to a typical fraternity houses, but without the Greek affiliation and rituals, and in some cases with a philosophy based on the idea of a housing cooperative.
In the 2000s, the Inter-Fraternity Council decided to focus on male, Greek houses only, and the ILGs formed the independent student government organization, the Living Group Council. All FSILGs alumni corporations (usually the legal entity which owns the physical house, distinct from the mainly undergraduate student government entities which govern each house) are still members of the Association of Independent Living Groups.
The term "Independent Living Group" is sometimes used to refer to all FSILGs, because they are all independent of MIT.
Epsilon Theta is a co-ed local fraternity located in Brookline, Massachusetts. (It is listed as an ILG because it is a member of the Living Group Council.) It is one of two local co-ed fraternal living groups, along with No. 6.
ET was originally the Epsilon Theta chapter of the national Sigma Nu fraternity. It split from the national in the 1970s, not long after it became co-ed. It is not affiliated with the present-day MIT chapter of Sigma Nu, which was formed in the 1990s.
Fenway House is a co-ed cooperative living group located on The Fenway in Boston. It houses about 20 men and women from a diverse background and with diverse interests in sciences, engineering, and the arts. Fenbeings value openness and compromise, which creates a very tight-knit community. Visit the Fenway House website.
The Number Six Club is the Tau Chapter of Delta Psi, a nationally affiliated literary fraternity. It is also the only nationally-affiliated co-ed residential fraternity on MIT campus. (Epsilon Theta is a local co-ed fraternity, and Alpha Phi Omega is a co-ed service fraternity.) The fraternity is more commonly known in its other chapters as St. Anthony Hall.
The house is now situated in Cambridge, on the MIT campus along "Dorm Row". It is home to over 40 members from around the world. The four-story, ivy-covered house is owned and operated by its own members.
It was founded in 1970 as a chapter of the national all-male Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity, but split in the early 1980s after growing differences with the national over the house's co-ed status. MIT assisted in this process by assuming the mortgage of the house from the national fraternity. The house is currently owned by an alumni corporation, Housecorp.
"pika", when referring to the ILG, is always written with a lowercase p. It is unrelated to the animal known as the pika.
Student House is a co-ed ILG located near Kenmore Square in Boston. Part of its mission is to make MIT housing affordable to low-income students, and as a result has access to special funding resources.
The Women's Independent Living Group is an all-female ILG located between MIT and Central Square, Cambridge. It was founded in 1976.
The MIT chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha (an all-male, traditionally black national fraternity) is non-residential service fraternity.
Alpha Phi Omega is a co-ed national service fraternity. The MIT chapter is Alpha Chi.
Alpha Kappa Psi, a co-ed professional business fraternity, is also colonizing on campus in fall 2010.
The Phi Beta Kappa Society is a Greek-letter honor society.
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