When you’re ready for the Greek system, it’s ready for you. At many colleges, rush week happens that first week after moving in. Some sororities and fraternities don’t have rush in the spring, so if you’re thinking about living in a sorority or frat house in the fall, it’s a good idea to rush that first week, see what it’s all about, and figure out which sorority or fraternity you’d like to join.
If you’re not ready for the Greek system rush, that’s okay too. If you go to a college where they don’t rush in the spring, you can scope out which ones you like during freshman year, and rush as a sophomore.
40 Hours Long
At UC Berkeley, sorority rush lasts about a week. They may have a big event to kick it all off, so you can casually meet people from different sororities and fraternities. Then you go visit the different houses. Girls may visit 13 sororities that first night – a four-hour marathon, dropping down to 10 houses, then seven then five then three. In between, there are house visits and probably a football game and tailgate party. Rush is a little like a matching service. Being a legacy helps, but isn’t everything. The last three houses on your list are by mutual agreement. You should be okay with any of those three because they all are distinct possibilities.
After 40 hours of rush, finally the day has come. Then in you go to an auditorium and sit in your assigned chair. You hear a presentation from each sorority or fraternity, and you reach under your chair to find an envelope with your name on it and inside, your match. Hopefully, it’s the one you wanted. Then it’s bliss. If it’s not the one you were hoping for, it’s still a great house and they want you! Off to your new house you go, to party, open gifts, and to be toasted, serenaded and welcomed by your new sisters or brothers. And you may even take a party bus off to a night of fun and celebration with virgin drinks, since rushing is a dry affair. You actually are not allowed to drink during rush.
At USC fraternities, you tend to choose one fraternity and rush it. You go to events with the guys. And once you’re a pledge, it’s for an entire semester, not a couple weeks like UC Berkeley sororities. Pledges may have a variety of duties — driving the RV to the away game at ASU, cleaning, carrying, being go-fer, being woken up in the middle of the night. It’s best to study up whenever you can since you may get unexpectedly pulled into a pledge activity for hours.
The reasons to rush:
- Get grounded. Being part of a community in a huge school can help you feel grounded — like you have a home away from home.
- Feel supported. You have people who can provide a support network – academically and socially. These people are your brothers and sisters.
- Party. Hang out. Study. Laugh. What are you doing Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Monday night? There’s always something going on. Invites (bring a date), exchanges (parties with a select frat house), then dinna with the sistas on Monday.
- Find a study buddy. There’s usually someone who is taking your same class in your house, so you can get notes if you miss class, study together and walk from class together.
- Focus on philanthropy. The houses usually find a way to give back to the community (for example, volunteering may earn you participation points, improving your ranking to get a double, instead of a triple or quad). And it always helps to keep the stresses of university life in perspective to help someone else.
- Build connections that last a lifetime. People stay in touch with their sorority sisters and fraternity brothers. It’s a great network socially and for career networking. Even if you don’t know that person interviewing you, the Greek system creates a bond. You have something in common.
The Greek system is polarizing. Some love it. Some hate it. Some don’t have time for it. It really depends on your particular experience and how open you are to discovering a sorority or fraternity that fits you and vice versa. It starts with having an open mind. And to be honest, especially for sorority pledge hopefuls, also having about five trendy outfits can’t hurt.