Tuesday, February 1, 2011

The Spring Semester and Rush!

For most students, the fall semester is busy enough. Between classes, sports, volunteering, concerts and events culminating with the traditional Lighting of the Lawn, most students would agree they could only use more time.

Then comes the spring semester. Long-awaited classes and a return to dorm life confront all first-years riding down McCormick or Alderman. But about a mile off, Rugby Road is bustling too. Girls carry roses, boys strut across the streets, and the houses are decorated with tidings of welcome and acceptance. Just when you thought the hustle and bustle of the holidays was finally over, then comes Rush.

You may be wondering, what’s Rush? What is Rugby Road? What does it mean to be a part of Greek life? What’s a fraternity or sorority? Why in the spring? Or even, is it for me? Read on to get these questions answered.

No matter what University you attend, if there is a Greek life, Rush is the process first-years and some second-years go through to enter it. The Greek system is the group of fraternities or sororities at a college or university. A fraternity is a formal organization of brotherhood and a sorority, a formal organization of sisterhood. Usually, such organizations participate in and host philanthropic and social events affiliated with their chapter or college. There are various advantages and disadvantages to joining. For example, you meet a lot of people and have an extra safety net when you go out at night! However, it is usually expensive and takes up a lot of time. These and many other things should all be considered and weighed against one another to determine if joining the Greek system is “right” for an individual.

No, boys do not receive and carry flowers as girls do, but in less obvious ways, Rush is different for boys and girls! Typically girl’s rush is more formal with girls assigned sorority houses to attend in formal attire. Then, the girls and the sororities themselves rank their preferences and a new series of houses are scheduled for the following round. For boys, the process is less formal, as boys who are pledging simply visit houses they like and are invited or not invited back to events specific to that fraternity. For boys and girls, this continues until only one house is left, in which case he or she will receive a “bid.” A bid is an invitation to join that sorority or fraternity.

Rush is also different for students at UVA! A new trend for universities across the nation is deferred rush. This means instead of having first-years go through the process in the Fall, they are given the opportunity to adjust to independent, University life and make friends through other activities before doing so through Rush. Most students seem to favor the idea of deferred Rush and believe it helps to get acclimated to the University independent of Greek life.

So, what about you? Is Greek Life your thing? Whether or not you decide to go through the rush process and whether or not you decide to join a sorority, it’s important to keep in mind that here at UVA, over 60% of students are not involved in Greek life. Merely one third of students actually decide to join, while the others may occasionally attend date functions or participate in sponsored community service activities. If you aren’t in that 33%, does that mean you can’t have a social life? Quite the opposite! With more time to contribute to other activities, you can become a part of 87% of students involved in one or more of 800+ clubs! Volunteer with Madison House or Habitat for Humanity! Join Sailing Club or an intramural sports team! Give tours through the University Guide Service! Or, create a club yourself! The opportunities are endless.

1 comment:

  1. Our son died in a hazng tragedy at Utah State University in November 2008. While very poor choices were made by those involved, including our son, we feel in our heart that had deferred rush, or delayed recruitment, been in place at the time of his death he would still be with us today. While obviously there is no way of knowing this with certainty, all indications, including the very conspiratorial nature of hazing and Michael's temperment and personality, suggest that his not being legally eligible for rush participation would most likely have spared his life. He would still be our youngest son. Parents need to think very, very carefully about t this isue. As do students.
    Thank you,
    George Starks,father of Michael