What would the Brass Rat be without, of course, the rat? Our mascot the beaver is featured in the center of the bezel grasping the diploma that symbolizes both our class and the education that is given to us by MIT. His body faces left, as is traditional, but his head is turned to look back at the MIT campus. This reminds us that no matter where we end up, we all began in the same place and shared the same experience. The path to the left of the beaver’s head is also symbolic of this journey. It represents our freshmen orientation theme, “Road Map,” and, as it gets further from MIT, branches off in different directions the way many of us will when we graduate.
“IHTFP” is hidden in the buildings in the background, and serves as a subtle reminder of how MIT students sometimes feel. In the upper right, the moon shines above campus because we are notorious for doing work at night. It is a half-moon because this is the phase it was in during our orientation, and will again be on our graduation day. Above the dome there is a lightning bolt to symbolize the new energy initiatives MIT has taken over the past year, which include the lighting of the dome. It also makes reference to the release of the last book in the Harry Potter series the summer of 2007.
To represent our prominent hacking culture, there is a fire truck heading towards campus to remind us of the hack our freshmen year. To the right of the beaver lies a rose to remind us of those we have lost during our time here and especially the tragedy at Virginia Tech the spring of our freshman year. The beaver sits on eight ivy leaves, crushing them beneath him, which conveys MIT’s superiority to the eight Ivy League schools. The leaves are split up into groups of 1, 4, and 3 because we are the 143rd class to graduate from MIT. Finally, we leave it up to the wearer to discover the 20 “10”s hidden throughout the entire ring, beginning with the 13 on the bezel itself.
The class shank centers around the Great Dome, an MIT icon and the location of our graduation. It is a true representation of the dome with its ten columns and the year that the Institute moved to its Cambridge campus, MCMXVI.
The mythical three-headed guard dog, Kerberos, sits beneath the Great Dome, guarding the gates to what some of us like to call “hell.” He bears the key to the Institute, which, formed by a one and a zero, represents the graduating year of our class. It also represents unlocking the resources that the Institute has to offer.
Flying to the left of the dome is a NASA space shuttle. The landing space shuttle represents the phasing out of the Shuttle program, which will officially end in 2010 when we graduate. It also honors our first MIT alumna to command a space shuttle mission. To the right of the dome is a galaxy. The galaxy represents the class of 2010’s boundlessness of character. We constantly strive for knowledge, friendship and the advancement of our society. Finally, the year 2010 is incised above the dome to represent our lasting impression on the Institute.
The seal shank centers around the MIT seal, which fills the center of the side. The two figures are a worker and a scholar, and symbolize the union of knowledge, research, and learning with physical arts. This is again exemplified below them in the Institute’s motto, Mens et Manus, meaning “mind and hand.” In the center is written 1861, the year MIT was founded by William Barton Rogers. The seal has been left true to its original form, which dates back to 1863, except for the flame from the lamp on the pedestal, which forms a “10” to represent our graduation year.
Below the seal sits an owl, the symbol of Athena. This represents MIT’s computer system as well as the mythological goddess of wisdom. The owl’s eyes spell out the words “punt” and “tool,” which remind us how we often have to choose between work and play. The owl’s wings and body spell out the letters MMX, or 2010, which will be our final year here.
The Boston skyline begins with Fenway park, on the far right, which has a firework bursting over it to represent the success of Boston sports teams this year. Next to this are the familiar Citgo sign, as well as the Hood blimp. On the left are the Hancock tower, the Prudential Center, and the buildings of Boston.
The Cambridge skyline spans from Kresge to Hayden Memorial Library. Appearing on the skyline are a crew boat and sailboats which are constantly visible in the Charles River. The crew boat is set near the location of the boat house, while the sail boats are below the sailing pavilion.
The Hacker’s Map represents the hacking culture of MIT as well as the interconnectivity of the buildings here and the paths we take to class each day. It includes all of the prominent fixtures of campus, from Stata, to the student center, to building six, which has, with construction now completed, been returned to the map.