Rushing in college is very common in universities that participate in Greek life. However, not many people know why it is called rushing, and what rushing actually is. If you want to know the answer to those common questions, we’ve got your back.
Rushing, when it comes to college life, is when new students who are interested in joining a fraternity or sorority meet the current members and leaders of those sororities or fraternities. Rushing occurs in the spring or fall, at the beginning of the semester, or before college classes start.
Now that you know what rushing is, you are likely wondering how long rushing events last and if they are the same at every university. Keep reading to find out.
What is “Rushing”?
Rushing, when it comes to college life, is what college students do when they want to join a sorority or fraternity. This is a way for them to meet leaders and other members of the sorority or fraternity that they want to join.
Basically, rushing events are large meet-and-greets where sorority and fraternity members judge people who want to join and decide whether or not they will be a good fit.
Many college students know which sorority or fraternity they want to join before they come to campus, but rushing gives them the chance to see all sororities and fraternities that have openings, and it allows them to determine if they want to join in on Greek life or if they want to avoid it altogether.
Sometimes there’s another group that’s a better fit than you would imagine!
Some schools require all students interested in joining Greek life to go to each sorority or fraternity, but nowadays that is not required at most college campuses.
Rushing events are typically very busy because many people are trying to join various sororities or fraternities and they are trying to talk to as many people as possible.
This event is called rushing because in the past, sorority and fraternity leaders and members rushed to contact people who may be interested in joining, as they needed to always have a certain amount of people in order to continue to operate.
For this reason, they had to rush to contact people before another fraternity or sorority reached out and convinced them to join.
Freshmen used to be contacted to see if they wanted to join a fraternity or sorority, rather than the other way around. Although rushing has changed over time, the name has stayed the same.
People who are interested in joining a fraternity or sorority are often called rushees, as they are rushing to meet people and make a good impression.
Why Do People Join Greek Life?
Many college students join sororities or fraternities because of the support that they offer to their members and because of the philanthropy work that they regularly do. It is often fun to be in a sorority or fraternity because they often have activities and go on trips together. Partying and socializing are also easier when you’re part of Greek Life on campus.
Sororities and fraternities offer support to their members, and many students need support as freshmen because their lives have changed drastically and they are still getting used to college life.
If someone is in a sorority, then members can give others advice and help with homework, and they are always close by because the members often live in the same house on campus. Many experienced sorority and fraternity members become mentors for less experienced and new members.
Dirty rushing, something that is slightly different than rushing, is not allowed at most schools, although it sometimes does occur.
Dirty rushing is when members of a sorority or fraternity contact someone who they know wants to join their group and tell them that if they want a guaranteed spot, then the potential member has to do something for them.
Basically, if you do something for me, I will vote for you and get you in.
Now that you know what rushing and dirty rushing are, you are likely wondering if rushing events are typically formal or informal. This way, when you attend a rushing event, you know what to wear so you don’t negatively stand out!
Are Rushing Events Formal or Casual?
Sorority rushing events are typically semi-formal or casual depending on the school, while fraternity rushing events are typically casual.
At a large university where there is a lot of participation in Greek life and most people want to be a part of it, sorority rushing events are typically semi-formal so people can ensure they make a good first impression.
This is also because rushing events at larger colleges are more structured and organized than at a smaller college because if there were no structure to the event, there would be chaos.
At smaller college campuses where there isn’t a lot of interest in Greek life, sorority rushing events are typically casual as there are fewer people around and they are not as structured as the rushing events at larger colleges.
Fraternity rushing events are almost always casual, even on large college campuses. Although they are typically somewhat structured, fraternity rushing events tend to be more like a party than a formal event.
Rushing events are typically held before classes start so sorority and fraternity members have time to talk to new members and settle into their house.
This also ensures that students aren’t distracted from their studies because of Greek life, as it may be difficult for students to participate in rushing events when classes are in session.
Sometimes rushing events are not held at all. Instead, Continuous Open Bidding occurs. Continuous Open Bidding is a less formal process than rushing. Sororities and fraternities typically use Continuous Open Bidding when they don’t meet their member quota for the year so they can continuously gain new members.
Now that you know that many sorority rushing events are semi-formal and most fraternity rushing events are casual, you are likely wondering how long these events take.
How Long Do Rushing Events Take?
Rushing events typically last for a week, but they can stretch on for several weeks, especially when they are held at a large university where many people participate in Greek life.
It lasts a week because, during the rushing week, many activities are held so leaders of sorority and fraternity members can get to know potential members well and determine if they will fit in within their group.
During the rushing week, sororities and fraternities hold mixers, parties, formals, and functions so current members can see how potential members act at these events and so they can get to know potential members really well and can promote them when the voting commences.
New sorority and fraternity members are typically voted in by the current members so taking the time to network is important.
If you want to know how long the rushing event at your future college campus is, check their website and look for information on Greek life. Check when rushing week starts and how long the period is, as it can take a few weeks to complete rushing.
This information should be on the webpage that has information about Greek life, but you can also contact the sorority or fraternity that you want to join and ask one of the members those questions.
Are Rushing Events the Same for All Universities?
Rushing events are not the same for all universities because each campus is different and the amount of Greek life participation varies from one school to another. Rushing events and the things that are done during them also vary depending on the sorority or fraternity that is holding the event.
If you go onto a large college campus with a lot of Greek life participation, you will see a variety of different events, even though they are being held on the same campus.
On some college campuses, potential new members have to go to each rushing event for each sorority or fraternity, even if they don’t want to join that particular group.
On other college campuses, potential sorority or fraternity members can just attend the rushing events for the fraternity or sorority that they want to join, and they don’t have to go to multiple houses.
Some college campuses don’t even hold rushing events. Instead, they only hold what are called interest meetings. Interest meetings are where sorority and fraternity members stay at the house or have a booth that potential new members can come to in order to meet them and get to know more about them.
Sometimes, you need to register for rushing week beforehand, especially if you only have one sorority or fraternity that you want to join. This typically is only required at large university campuses where lots of students participate in Greek life. However, even if you have to register beforehand, the rushing event is still likely to be casual or semi-formal.
The voting process for each fraternity and sorority also varies by house. Some fraternities and sororities vote for new members and cast actual votes. The people who receive many votes are allowed to join the fraternity or sorority, and they are notified when the voting process is over.
However, sometimes sororities and fraternities openly discuss who they think will fit in with the group and should be allowed to join the house.
The exact process varies from house to house, but they all allow people who will fit in with the rest of the house members to join and reject those who likely will not get along with the others or don’t meet the qualifications that are required to join the sorority or fraternity.
What Happens When Rushing is Over?
When all of the rushing events are over, the members of all sororities and fraternities vote to accept new members into the house. People who get the highest number of votes are allowed to join the sorority or fraternity, and they will be notified of the acceptance. They will then be sent an invitation to join the sorority or fraternity.
If the people who are sent an invitation to join a sorority or fraternity accept it, then they can join and make a pledge to the house they join. There is a process that they have to go through in order to complete the pledge, but the amount of time it takes varies depending on the sorority or fraternity and their traditions.
During the pledging process, new members learn about the history, traditions, values, and organizations they support or have supported in the past. They will also learn about activities that they will have to participate in and how much it costs to be a part of the sorority or fraternity.
Rushing is a somewhat chaotic time of year for all members of a sorority or fraternity, and it is especially chaotic for people who want to become new members. In the end, it will be over eventually, and you will likely be a part of a sorority or fraternity at the end of it if you put in the effort and get an invitation.
If you do join a sorority or fraternity, you can start college life with people surrounding you that are willing and available to help, which is always very helpful.
If you go to a college or university that doesn’t participate in Greek life, then you don’t have to worry about participating in rushing week.
If you are planning on going to a college or university that does participate in Greek life, there will likely be a webpage about all of the local sororities and fraternities that you can potentially join when you get to campus, and that page will likely tell you when rushing week is, although it may be called something different.
If you go to rushing week and don’t join a sorority or fraternity, then rushing week is still a great opportunity to meet people who are likely willing to help you become adjusted to college life. You should definitely go when you are a freshman in college or if you want to get to know more people who are living in the same area as you.
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Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent those of the College Reality Check.