WORDS BY JAKAITIS. PHOTOGRAPHY BY ROBIN SUBAR
An insider’s guide to sorority recruitment
On the first day of Elon University’s 2013 sorority recruitment, I tripped walking up the stairs into one of my first-round houses. Despite my near-faceplant experience and immediate mortification, four days later, this house offered me a bid card and an invitation to a sisterhood that would change my life. A few years after that, I found myself as the director of recruitment for my sorority and welcomed girls into the same doorway I had nearly tumbled into as a freshman. Whether you’ve been eagerly awaiting the day you get to pin on your letters or if you’re unsure that joining a sorority is right for you, there are a few things that you should know before going through Rush (first, that it’s okay if you do something embarrassing like almost fall over—trust me!)
I am a recent graduate of Elon University where I was an active member of Greek life for all four years. Rush, or recruitment as my school calls it, is conducted differently at every university so your personal experience will be unique to you. There are, however, some general suggestions that are important to keep in mind for anyone considering Rush.
First, prepare but don’t panic. Your university will inform you of everything you need to know about the dates and deadlines for Rush, so be sure to take note of these to give yourself plenty of time to prepare. Important things to look for include registration deadlines, letters of recommendation requirements, and a guide to Rush. Read up on what you can — the more you know about how the process works, the more comfortable you will be as it approaches. When Rush begins, you will be assigned to girls who have temporarily unaffiliated themselves from their sororities so they can guide potential new members through the process. Their job is to answer any and all questions ranging from outfit guidance to telling you where you need to be and when.
Second, approach the process with an open mind – whatever you do, don’t go into Rush with your heart set on a particular organization. Know better than to listen to house gossip and give yourself the opportunity to make up your own mind. Initially, it will seem like there is an overwhelming amount of things to consider as each organization will have its own values, philanthropy, events, and traditions. You may be surprised by what resonates with you personally. Just take a deep breath, trust your instincts, and focus on finding the sorority that values the same things you do.
Next, you will find where you belong. One of the best things about Rush is that it’s a mutual selection process; everyone involved is working hard to match potential new members to the houses where they will feel most at home. As trite as it may sound, the best way to get the most out of the Rush process is to be yourself. Wear something you feel great in and talk about the things that truly interest you. Being genuine will ensure you get invited back to the houses where you’ll find the sisters and friends that make being in a sorority worth it.
And speaking of worth it — Rush will be nerve-wracking and exhausting, but it is most definitely worth it. Deciding to Rush is about so much more than earning the ability to go to fun parties and collect a ton of t-shirts. It’s about being part of something bigger than yourself and finding the friends who will stick by your side long after college is over. As they say, college is four years, but sisterhood is forever. It’s been four years since I tripped into the North Carolina sorority house that would soon become my home. Yet, as I write this article from my New York City apartment, I am still living with the girls who went from strangers, to friends, to sisters, to my now roommates, and forever best friends. Just prepare, keep an open mind, be yourself, and you’ll be just fine.