Every class year at MIT gets their own personalized Brass Rat. What is a Brass Rat? Well, it’s a ring that comes in gold, silver, or stainless steel. It has a beaver on it. And a dog. And an owl. So… there are no rats, and no brass.
Nevertheless, we’ve been calling them Brass Rats for ninety years, and they’re a hugely important part of MIT tradition. Every freshman class has a Ring Committee, who put in tons of time and effort creating the ring (which has a typical layout, but no specific set design). In February of sophomore year, the design is announced at Ring Premiere; then everyone scrambles to spend their life savings on it. In April, we all dress up fancy for Ring Delivery and poses with our shiny new rings.
The ring buying period has just concluded for the Class of 2022. Here’s how it went for me, and what our ring looks like. For some comparison, check out the 2020 and 2010 rings! (Blogging about ring premiere and delivery is its own smol tradition, although much younger than the ring itself.)
For starters, I wanna say that I got all this information off the website. So if you want to know more, you should actually just go to http://brassrat2022.mit.edu/. (But you like me, so you’ll keep reading <3)
But Shuli, you ask, didn’t you go to Ring Premiere? Wouldn’t they have told you about the ring there?
Well, in fact… Almost the entire sophomore class was crowded into Kresge. We were all sitting and talking with our friends. And I have reason to believe, from what I saw, that *some* of us were r e a l l y drunk. What all of this means is that it was REALLY FRIGGING LOUD in there. People were screaming constantly, and anytime anyone on Ring Committee actually started saying anything, they screamed even louder. I probably heard about 15% of the actual content of the presentation.
However, I don’t regret going at all! Part of this is because I went with friends. Part of it is because it’s actually really fun to see everyone from our class all together, and realize how many of us there are, and how many people exist whose lives I never see although they are so closely parallel with my own. A lot of the reason why, though, is because I won the raffle :0
I guess as an incentive to get people to show up (or perhaps to get people to shut up, and actually listen to the presenters even for just a brief moment), everyone got a raffle ticket when they entered Kresge. Between different sections of the presentation, they raffled off two ultrium rings (the cheaper stainless steel option), one silver ring, and one gold ring. I won the silver ring! It was super cool to hear them read off the numbers one by one and get more and more excited as they kept going. It was also really funny because the vast majority of my friends were also in that auditorium, and by the time I sat down after claiming my prize, I had like ten congratulatory texts.
So, going to Ring Premiere saved me like four hundred dollars! I don’t want to brag too much, especially considering it was literally just luck, but it was a great feeling. I went to Ring Sales (which are the week following Ring Premiere) in Lobby 13 and walked my way down the line of Herff Jones salespeople, choosing my bezel size, ring size, engraving, finish, box type… and when I got to the accountant at the end, she looked my order form over and said “I guess that will be zero dollars!” MMmmmmm. Good feeling. More of that in 2020, thank you!
So anyway, here’s the ring.
All Brass Rats have a bezel with the beaver on the bridge:
Two shanks, one with Athena and one with the MIT seal:
Two skylines, one of MIT/Cambridge and one of Boston:
and a hacker’s map:
Aren’t these mockups so pretty? Personally, I think it’s a really nice ring. I like that the beaver is cute (sometimes they are Ugly, which is always a controversy). I also like that they got some diversity on the shanks; replacing one of the two men with a woman has been a thing for a few years now, but they also made them look less white, and gave Athena a robotic arm. There are a lot of small touches and little memes all over this ring (which, again, you can read all about at http://brassrat2022.mit.edu/).
I’m very excited to get my own copy of this ring in April. It might just be a tiny piece of jewellery, but I think what’s special about it is the memories that it will hold for us down the line.
Oh, and here. There’s always a joke bezel before the real one. I’ll just leave you with this shot of the projector screen when they announced it, photo credit to Maxwell Y. ’21: