How to Survive Rush Week

If you’re planning on participating in Rush Week, here are some tips to help you stay sane:

Don’t take Rush Week too seriously.
Please don’t worry about what other people say about you. Your sense of self can’t be determined by anybody but you.

Don’t commit to anything your first year.
If you’re a freshman, try to stay away from joining. You’ll make plenty of friends in the dorms — and you’ll need any extra time to focus on the books. If you feel like Greek life can benefit you, then consider joining next year. Besides, you can spend this year making friends with people at other houses to see which group you get along with best.

Don’t pledge blind.
Don’t join a fraternity or sorority until you really know something about the group. This means doing your homework. Ask friends and other people on campus about opinions of that particular house. Find out everything you can.

Don’t pledge a certain fraternity or sorority because your mom or dad once belonged.
Greek houses undergo massive personality changes from one year to the next. There’s no way your dad’s old lodge you heard so much about can be the same one it is today.

Beware of rushing alumni.
Sometimes if a chapter is having a difficult time, they might invite alumni or active members at other campuses to help out during Rush. If you’re being rushed by a house of thirty people, and there are only twelve people on the framed “yearbook” composite picture, get suspicious.

Here is a list of terms you should be aware of:

Active – a member of a sorority or fraternity who has been fully initiated into the group (as opposed to a pledge, who is not a full-fledged member).

Bid – an invitation to join a sorority or fraternity.

Chapter – the individual franchise of a national Greek-letter organization on a campus.

Depledge – to bow out of a sorority or fraternity before initiation

Fraternity – a group of men united in brotherhood, ideally for life

Hazing – a moronic practice of subjecting potential members of a group to various tests of endurance or humiliation. Thankfully, this is becoming obsolete on many campuses.

Invitational parties – these are longer and somewhat more elaborate than the open-house parties. The objective here is to provide smaller groups of rushees with a more intimate impression of the personalities of the individual house.

Legacies – close relatives of current and former sorority or fraternity members, whom that member’s chapter is basically obliged to accept.

Open-house parties – short receptions of about 30 minutes each, designed to bring every rushee into every sorority house on campus. From these brief encounters, the rushees are supposed to begin narrowing their choices a bit for the next round of parties, the invitationals.

Open Rush – a series of relaxed, informal parties after the main rush is over. The advantage here is that rushees have much more time, and much less pressure to make a decision.

Panhellenic Council – the group that regulates Rush (and all Greek) procedures.

Pledge – to join a sorority or fraternity. A pledge is new, but not yet permanent.

Preferential or Pref Parties – the final rounds of formal rush.

Rushee – someone going through Rush, who’s considering joining a sorority or fraternity.

Rush Week – a limited, high-pressure period when people in Greek letter fraternities and sororities recruit, or rush, new students in hopes of nabbing a good crop of pledges to keep their organizations alive and kicking for another four years.

Sorority – a group of women united in sisterhood, ideally for life.

Suicide – an all-or-nothing decision where some desperate person says, “If I can’t get into Fraternity A, then I’m not interested in anything else.”

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