The new Standard Technology Ring was invented 85 years ago by representatives from the classes of 1930, 1931, and 1932. The committee’s major design debate centered on the position of the dome and the beaver—which would be on the face of the ring? The beaver was eventually selected, with committee members agreeing that many universities have domes, but few have beavers. The final design looked much like the current version with a beaver on the face of the ring and Great Dome and class year on either side. The beaver’s prominence on the ring led to its Brass Rat nickname.
Sophomores still gather each year to design the ring for their graduating class, with the new design revealed each spring. Beyond the beaver, dome, and class year, new elements such as hacker maps, hidden symbols, and mementos make them unique to individual classes. Graduate students redesign their Grad Rat every five years.
Today the brass rat, which is purchased by more than 90 percent of undergraduates and is growing in popularity among graduate students, serves as a quick way to identify Institute alumni and make connections among them.
To highlight this MIT symbol, we asked alumni and students to share Brass Rat photos on social media with the hashtag #brassrat. Images came from Australia to Warsaw, Fenway to Lake Tahoe where alumni are working, playing, and reconnecting with their Brass Rats on. We saw Brass Rats as they began to age and fresh new rats on Class of 2016 hands. Browse photos and notes from fellow alumni below and take a look at the over 50 submitted brass rat photos on Exposure.
You can still share your brass rat on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Google+. Just upload your photo and tag it with #brassrat. We’ll share it with your fellow alumni.