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Confused Freshman Accidentally Dirty Rushes MERT


Photo by Alex Neir and Melanie Lei / The Daily Pennsylvanian

Even before he attended one of their NSO parties, college freshman Darren Peterson always knew he wanted to join a frat at Penn.

For the New Jersey native, the first night of NSO meant more than forced shots and losing his lanyard. This was Peterson's chance to scout out potential fraternities and “dirty rush” them. 

The freshman assured us that he wasn't nervous about making a good impression on the probably white, probably Jewish brothers probably from New York that he hoped to meet. “I was born ready,” he insisted as he sprayed Axe cologne all over his Larry Bird basketball jersey. 

“I want frats to see how much cooler I am than I used to be. I'm past my days playing COD all night in high school. I spent every day of the week this summer watching Animal House, over and over.” He paused, realizing his mistake. “Except for Saturday, which I spent with the boys.”

The night started with a quick stop at three different houses. Unfortunately, the loud music prevented any brothers from hearing him talk about his dad (who was in a frat), or his grandfather (who was also in a frat), or even his uncle (who was not in a frat, but drank and yelled a lot). Almost ready to give up, he and his massive group of hallmates left and stumbled along 41st street to their last destination of the night.

The house was pretty empty, but music was still blaring. As Peterson tells it, he saw a group of guys in the corner helping an "absolutely trashed" freshman sit up. While it seemed like all 18 of his hallmates realized that the group was MERT and that they should leave, it is clear that Peterson didn’t get the hint. According to his friends, he bellowed “Come on, guys! We need to help this kid," and headed straight towards MERT.

When asked later about what exactly he was thinking in this moment, he admitted, “I thought that if I helped, I could show I’m also into service and prove I can be a great brother after all. I know how important mandatory service requirements are to frats.”

As he walked over, one of the men told him to step away. Peterson assured him that he could help. “This kid seems drunk, and I’m an expert at being drunk," he declared. "I’ve been drunk before, many times, man. I definitely partied in high school. I know how to shotgun a beer, I just can't do it right now because I hurt my neck making out with a girl.”

After talking more to the MERT personnel, he realized the organization was exactly the type of group he wanted to join. “Those guys are so big on helping people, and they can get into any party. Everyone gets paid like a thousand bucks to to be in the frat. That’s wild,” Peterson gushed. "And they all wear polo shirts, all the time. That's frat!"

The second night of NSO, he hit up a party with his new friends at MERT. “It was like I was already part of the crew, you know? We walked in and all eyes were on us.” But it wasn’t all good news. “For some reason, most of the people left the party as soon as we came. People kept yelling, ‘Get away!’ and ‘I’m on financial aid!’ But that's good, because I don't want to be in a frat with kids on financial aid.”

Peterson regrets nothing. “Honestly, I didn't care that people were leaving. That just meant more drinks for us, more space for us.” 

After the interview was over, he asked if we wanted to come to a MERT BYO. “Last time, they MERTed three of their own staff members. Is that not the most frat thing you've ever heard?”