What is Rush?

Find out everything you need to know about fraternity and sorority rush weeks.

Photo: Thinkstock

By Christopher Geno

Rush week is an exciting, intense time for many students in college, and equally confusing for many others. New students may only know about rush week through movies or other media, and not know what rush is really all about. After reading this, if any of your friends from college ask you, “What is rush?” you’ll be able to answer all of them with confidence.

The most important part about rush week is to make your own decisions based on what you experience.

What is rush week?

Rush week, more officially known as recruitment week, is the period of time when fraternities and sororities recruit students to their respective Greek letter organizations. Rush week usually happens right in the beginning of the school year.

What happens during rush week?

During rush, fraternities and sororities have slightly different practices, but they all involve students getting to know more about Greek life.

Compared to their female counterparts, fraternities typically have much more informal events during rush. Fraternities host and promote parties in which all interested students are invited to attend in order to learn more about the host fraternities.

Fraternities then give “bids,” - invitations to join the fraternity - to students they want as pledges. Students can then pledge to join and go through an initiation process to become a full member or they can refuse the bid.

Sorority rushing is usually more formal. Interested students sign up and meet with every sorority on campus for brief social receptions. Then there is a matching period where prospective pledges narrow their choices and sororities do the same.

After rush events, students who have mutually chosen a sorority will be allowed to become a pledge of that sorority.

What should I do during rush?

Almost any rush event will be billed as a party, mixer, reception or social event. While these events should be fun, you probably shouldn’t just eat all their food and goof off. Take the time to learn about the Greek letter organization you’re rushing. Meet with members and ask them questions about any topic you can think of related to the fraternity or sorority. Good topics include:

  • The history of the fraternity or sorority;
  • Social and community service events the chapter participates in;
  • Day-to-day life in the fraternity or sorority;
  • Hobbies or interests many members share;
  • Annual costs, housing and food options, member commitments.

Is rush right for me?

The most important part about rush week is to make your own decisions based on what you experience. Greek letter organizations have many stereotypes and reputations, both individually and as a whole, that are often untrue. Since there aren’t any commitments during rush week, don’t be afraid to try it out and see how you personally feel about fraternities or sororities.

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