Next week marks the start of fall rush for UCSB’s fraternities – the annual period during which the university’s greek men choose new recruits.
The fraternities and sororities around campus use Rush Week to introduce those interested in the greek system to their options at UCSB, and to figure out who fits best at which house. Last week, UCSB’s 10 sororities rushed 220 new initiates, welcoming the vast majority as pledges. Next week it is the fraternities’ turn to rush new recruits, starting with a walk-around beginning in Greek Park at 6 p.m. Monday, Oct. 4.
The fraternities have been tabling outside dining commons around campus this week and will have free food, DJs, and dunk tanks on the San Nicholas and Francisco Torres lawns today from 3 – 6 p.m. as well as a volleyball tournament at Greek Park from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
During Monday’s walk-around, an expected 300 to 400 students will tour UCSB’s nine fraternities, listening to short speeches and surveying houses, potential friends and free food. Rush Week for the fraternities ends Oct. 7.
Each fraternity and sorority has its own criteria and chooses those students who mesh best with each house.
Jason Everitt, third-year political science major and president of the Inter-fraternity Counsel, said fraternities are open to all kinds of people in their recruitment process.
“We look for anyone – there’s no specific type of person we’re trying to recruit,” Everitt said. “Usually the people that come out are looking for a social, brotherly atmosphere, but we get a lot of introverted people too. We get a good mix.”
Everitt said rush is relatively unstructured, and the informal events will set the tone for the casual rush week that follows, allowing rushees to sample different houses.
“Recruits can wander at their leisure,” he said. “On Monday at the walk-around you should remember four or five houses that you liked so you’ll know where they are, [and] over the next couple of days you should be down to three. By the last day you’re only going back and forth between two different houses and pretty much know where you want to go.”
In contrast to the laid-back nature of fraternity rush, Andrea Holland, public relations vice president of Gamma Phi Beta and third-year sociology and religious studies major, said the Rush Week for sororities is very structured.
“Each sorority has a pre-Rush Week that allows them to practice cheers and conversation skills to better smooth the transition of new recruits,” Holland said.
Holland said the sorority rush is a four-day process. Rushees pay a fee of $85 to cover rush expenses.
On the first day, recruitment counselors, who disaffiliate themselves from their sororities, lead rushees on a tour to each of the sorority houses. This gives each tour group a chance to talk to members from each sorority. Holland said the chanting and clapping the sororities use to greet new recruits during this day is a way of keeping the process running smoothly.
“When new girls come to the house, all the girls do a chant-type thing to pump the girls up,” she said. “We try to look uniform and all wear the same kind of clothes to make sure everything goes smoothly and that there’s order and organization.”
At the end of the tour, the girls choose seven of the houses to visit on day two. Rushees narrow their choices through a mutual selection process. The selection is done via a computer program that matches the top choices of rushees, written on a Scantron, with those of the sororities being rushed.
Rushees receive a longer tour of their selections on this day, allowing them to receive a more in-depth look at the setup of each house. After another selection process, Holland said the rush’s house selection is narrowed to only four sororities. The next day, rushees visit these four houses, which are decorated for philanthropy theme day.
Holland said the philanthropy theme allows the rushees to see the personality of the sorority as a whole, through the types of charity projects it does.
On Friday the rushees have narrowed down their choices to two houses and attend a preference night where they see the more serious side of college and sorority life and choose which house they want to join. Bid day is traditionally after preference night, but was moved back to Sunday this year, in respect of Yom Kippur, Holland said.
Heather McKay, third-year communications major and new member educator for Delta Delta Delta, said the sororities forgo the free food and activities offered by the fraternities.
“The sororities are on a no-frills program because none of the sororities want people to join just because of financial reasons or gifts,” McKay said. “We want them to join because of the girls. We want them to be happy where they are because of the people. The goal is to have girls matched up with other girls that they like.”
After recruits are accepted into their respective sororities and fraternities, they still have to go through the pledging process to get into their houses as new members.
Holland said she thinks the rush is a valuable experience for those who participate.
“It’s a really good experience to go through – it opens your eyes to something different,” Holland said. “Sorority life is not like the television shows or movies. Girls will assume certain things prior to rush; however, I respect the girls that come and give it a try, ignoring the stereotypes. Don’t knock it ’til you’ve tried it.”