Realities of rushing at RU
For the people who have wanted to join greek life since high school or for the people like me, who showed up on a whim and a few months later ended up a part of it, rushing is the fun part of the process.
Rush week, for most fraternities and sororities, is the rare once-a-semester dessert before dinner. You get to feel out your options and are nearly spoiled by recruitment teams. The more teams you talk to the better, before making your big decision.
But keep in mind, everyone does rush week differently.
Greek life at Rutgers is home to more than 80 recognized greek organizations from Chi Phi to Omega Phi Chi, and a handful of New Brunswick-centric organizations that aren’t affiliated with Rutgers such as the co-ed all inclusive Gamma Sigma and Mu Sigma Upsilon.
Though unaffiliated fraternities and organizations have their own set of rushing rules, Rutgers makes the process of recruitment for its groups organized and inclusive. So if you want to join greek life, let’s start from the top:
First off, what’s rush anyway? Usually held the first month of the semester, organizations take a week to throw on- and off-campus events for potential new members. The events stand as opportunities to meet “rushes,” the people rushing, and see if they’re worthy of getting “bids,” which are recommendations to pledge.
For rushes, it’s a time to have fun and recognize the different options you have before entering greek life. Take the time to see as many fraternities or sororities as you can, because choosing the best fit is hard if you haven’t explored enough.
Next, you need to know the procedure. For me, entering greek life was unexpected. I rushed a non-Rutgers affiliated fraternity after showing up to an event with no real intention to become a pledge. This kind of luck can still happen during the Rutgers process — but it’s not as simple. Rutgers requires you to register for rush and recruitment events, after having taken 12 credits and maintained a 2.50 GPA. Don’t worry, you can still look around as a freshman, but you won’t be able to rush any affiliated organizations right away.
Any concerns you have about rushing are legitimate: Hazing is on everyone’s mind, and while it’s not guaranteed it will happen, Rutgers hasn’t hesitated to suspend organizations for problems in the past.
The University has a good grip on hazing policies, so if you do decide to pledge there is a bill of rights to protect you. Pledging can be scary, and you might see your chosen organization in a different light.
There is more to greek life than parties and drinking, if you pick the right place. You are able to leave fraternities that promote situations that are degrading or dangerous. People that hurt you or promote alarming practices are not people you want to be “brothers,” let alone friends with. Organizations that use harmful obstacles during the rushing process does not make them cooler just because they are difficult to get into.
During rush week you should expect to get to know the organization. Be prepared to answer the same basic questions over again, just in a social and comfortable setting. “What’s your major?” “What year are you?” “What clubs are you a part of?” Potential siblings (brothers/sisters/etc) want to get to know you as much as possible. After all, they’re inviting you to become part of their organization, which is a pretty big deal.
If you find an organization you’re interested in, the best thing to do is stay connected. Attend as many events as you can, and stay in touch with the people. Being active and excited always looks good on potential recruits.
So if you’re planning on rushing greek life, bring a friend and visit as many organizations as you can. Even if you’re not so sure, register anyway and try it out because you never do know what you’ll end up liking.
Rutgers has its own separate website for greek life to take a look at organizations and processes ahead of time, even the ones that are currently suspended. The range of organizations from Multicultural to Academic gives you an opportunity to find your niche, and lock in a group of potential life long friends, networks and philanthropic opportunities. With it’s pros and cons, greek life really isn’t for everyone, but rush week is fun regardless.