Caltech Pranks MIT Campus Preview Weekend

by Liz Lawler ’15
The California Tech (download »)

Last Wednesday night, 13 Caltech students flew to Massachusetts in preparation for MIT’s Campus Preview Weekend (CPW). Their mission: prove which institute is hot and which one is not. Their arsenal: 800 heat sensitive mugs that at first read “MIT The Institute of Technology” but under the influence of heat change to read “CALTECH The Hotter Institute of Technology.” The mugs came in boxes with a card with the instructions to “tweet the most MIT-proud picture of yourself with the MIT mug @MITmug2018 to be entered in a drawing to win a pair of Google Glass.”

Techers handed out the mugs to unsuspecting prefrosh right outside of CPW’s formal welcome event Thursday night. They scoped out the gym in which the event was held in advanced, discovered three different possible exits, and then staged six people at the main door and teams of four and three at the other doors. Thirty minutes before the event let out, they were poised and ready. At 9:30pm prefrosh began to trickle out, but then a couple minutes later a massive wave hit. 

As the prefrosh flooded out, officers from MIT’s admissions department tried to thwart the Techers’ efforts. The Caltech students were told they would need to stop handing out mugs unless they could prove they were a registered event. 

Senior and Caltech Prank Club President, Julie Jester cunningly stalled the antagonizing admissions staff for 20 minutes with a fake story that their event was registered through the MIT Alumni Association and that they were simply ignorant pawns told to pass out the mugs. When pressed for a name of the person who approved their event, Jester acted forgetful, fumbled on her phone, pretended to have trouble accessing MIT’s wifi as she “searched” for  the email thread containing their permission to hand out the mugs. 

However, the MIT admissions staff was relentless. They demanded a name. Jester called up Tom Mannion while he was mid-lecture in his cooking class and casually asked him for the name of official who sanctioned the mugs. 

Initially confused by the abrupt call, Mannion pulled through by questioning his class for a name of a member of MIT’s Alumni Association which he delivered to Jester. 

While Jester kept the MIT admissions inquisitors occupied, the prefrosh continued to pick up the mugs. 

To accommodate the numerous prefrosh, the Techers began putting out boxes in the walkway that the prefrosh ferociously attacked in a primal quest for free swag. Prefrosh gleefully took the mugs, but admissions officers refused to let the prank go on. They vainly attempted to shut it down by ripping the mugs out of prefrosh’s hands, proving MIT hates fun and all things awesome rather than accomplishing their goal. 

Despite MIT’s best efforts, Caltech’s prank went through beautifully. They were able to pass out all the mugs and proved that if you mess with Caltech, you're going to get burned.