Tuesday, February 19

Lakers forward Ron Artest shows up to Zeta Beta Tau’s rush

Zeta Beta Tau’s April 5 recruitment event had all the makings of a typical rush: friendly conversation, free food and loud music.

And then there was Lakers forward Ron Artest.

The basketball player attended the event because the fraternity won a fraternity-wide competition in February by selling the most tickets to a Los Angeles D-Fenders game, said president Todd Burns, The winning fraternity’s grand prize was to have Ron Artest at their rush for a meet and greet, the second-year global studies student said.

As well as signing autographs and taking pictures behind a table for the last portion of his visit, Artest spent the majority of the hour eating Korean BBQ with attendees then playing a game of H-O-R-S-E outside.

“It was mellow but still fun,” Artest said. “I enjoyed myself, and they enjoyed themselves.”

About 130 rushees attended the event, and five accepted bids, said ZBT external vice president Michael Byrne.

Usually there are from 40 to 60 rushees who attend any given event during spring recruitment, said Greek adviser Mande Adams.

Artest’s presence was a plus for the fraternity, which is coming off of a year-long social probation that resulted in their lower than average number of fall recruits.

Now they are off probation and are hoping to increase numbers, Burns said, and Artest’s presence was a motivation for many attendees.

On the other hand, Burns expressed concern prior to the event about people coming just to see Artest and not to rush.

First-year biology student Sunny Samra came to the event to get a feel for what fraternity life is like.

“(I went) just to see how the social life is,” Samra said, adding that Artest’s attendance was an added bonus.

Byrne said he saw the event as an opportunity for the fraternity to show people who had preconceptions of fraternity life that their stereotypes are not true.

“If (someone) came and just wanted to see Ron Artest, but decided they wanted to rush our house, I see that as a success,” Byrne, a third-year applied mathematics student, said.

Byrne said a number of people approached him as the evening was winding down, and after Artest was gone, to say they had a good time and would come to the other rush events as well.

“It’s a good opportunity to just have people come through, enjoy the house, enjoy the food, enjoy the company of everyone here,” Byrne said.

The evening was punctuated by bursts of cheering each time a rushee accepted bids from the fraternity and donned his new ZBT shirt, ambushed from all sides by congratulations from his new brothers.

Third-year economics student Maxwell Brattvet received the first bid and said he knew a number of people in the house. A friend in ZBT had introduced him to almost all the fraternities during fall and winter, he added.

“By my third winter (at UCLA), I knew I wanted to rush,” Brattvet said.

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