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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    “Don’t rush into Greek life, say current members”

    The Greek system at the UA is one of the biggest student organizations on campus.

    But is rushing worth it?

    Let’s take a look at the sorority rush process:

    More than 1,000 women sign up, with a fee, to take part in formal fall rush. They move in to the dorms (or other places of living) early, with a fee, and brave the Tucson heat, waking up early in the morning the first day to be broken up into groups alphabetically by last name.

    Next, they are given the instructions on proper etiquette for rushing – not to accept gifts of any kind, proper questions to ask, topics to discuss.

    “”It was long days with a lot of girls who you couldn’t tell were being honest,”” said Alora Anderson, a speech, hearing and language sciences sophomore. “”People just give off a show for recruitment on both sides – the girls going through and the girls talking to you.””

    They even have a dress code for each day.

    “”Normal clothes, sundresses and semi-formal dresses,”” said Anderson, a member of Delta Delta Delta. “”A lot more focused on clothes than it should be.””

    While the counselors encourage the girls to dress comfortably and just be themselves, are any of them really doing that? Every which way you look, you see girls dressed up, full make up and hair done, standing in lines outside of houses “”glistening”” in the sun in August.

    “”I was walking around in rush with my t-shirt and shorts, and all these girls showed up, these L.A. bitches, in their Armani sunglasses and dresses tailored to them perfectly,”” said Aidan McWhinney, a pre-education sophomore and Alpha Delta Pi member.

    Now let’s assume you’ve been accepted into a house (first choice or last notwithstanding), do you stay? What do you have to look forward to?

    As a student at the UA, you are going to meet a lot of people your freshman year. And rush can be a safe place to meet people before class starts.

    If another student you meet is Greek, too, is there a sense of camaraderie? Perhaps. But not before finding out what house you’re in, lumping you with the reputation and categorizing you.

    “”People will look at you and guess what house you’re in, and no one will say ours,”” Anderson said.

    “”People stereotype the houses and give mean names to houses that are untrue,”” said Megan Gerrish a psychology sophomore and Delta Delta Delta member. “”Most of them just are plays on names that don’t reflect any of the girls in the house.””

    Your fellow Greek might be in awe of you and your houses’ top rank and quickly gush their affection for you – or turn away with a small smile and snub you, full of knowledge of their self-worth.

    “”Walking down Greek row is pretty intimidating, because I don’t want to wear my letters because I was ashamed of my sorority,”” McWhinney said. “”I knew it wasn’t the best, but I loved it.””

    New members’ introduction to the rest of the Greeks comes in the form of a serenade, said A.J. Mach, recent graduate and Phi Kappa Psi alum.

    “”A serenade is a little song and dance combination done by new members. It usually takes place in front of the house or in the common room and is five to 10 minutes long,”” Mach said. “”A little dance to show the members of other houses who the pledges are – to try and give them a taste of what their house is like. The goal is to get them to want to do activities with us: Homecoming, Spring Fling, a date dash, et cetera.””

    Fraternities and sororities pair up to build floats, work booths and other activities for major school events.

    Homecoming pairs are never a surprise, because the status of everyone is known and the same fraternities ask the same sororities to every event, Anderson said.

    The Web site Juicycampus.com caused quite a stir on campus last year.

    The Web site was an online forum where fraternity and sorority members commented on Greek life at the UA. There were lists of whose serenade was better, rankings of top houses to worst, and general bashing and smashing of each other.

    Your own house is not an oasis though, Anderson said. You’re in a group consisting of anywhere from 150 to 200 women. Problems will arise.

    “”Just living in the house, you’re with girls all the time, and girls are extremely judgmental,”” Anderson said. “”So every action you make is watched and judged.””

    A girl calling you “”sister”” might be simultaneously locking you out of the house at 4 a.m. for stealing her date at a date dash, Anderson added.

    For the men, rushing and joining a fraternity will be a lot different next year than in previous ones.

    In years past, rushing meant wandering around campus with a map of the fraternities and going to which ones you were interested in. Now, potential new members are split into groups, much like sorority formal rush, and are taken to each fraternity house, said Tosh Schuyler, recent graduate and Phi Kappa Psi alum.

    “”I think it’s better because it gives some of the smaller houses, that people might not go to because they don’t have a party rep, a chance to get more guys and meet more people,”” Schuyler said. “”It gives everyone a fair chance.””

    Fraternities hold non-alcoholic events, such as poker, barbecue or hookah nights, where interested men can meet the fraternity brothers, Mach said.

    “”Around the end of the week, we give out bids, which is saying we’ve all met and liked you and want you to pledge. Then we have what’s called a bid night,”” Mach said. “”It’s more formal. We go out to dinner or somewhere else. We get to know the potentials more, and from there, we make a decision if we want them to pledge. We ask them and if they agree, they pledge the next week.””

    Pledging is no longer the hell week that you see depicted in movies, Mach said.

    “”They have to learn the rules of the fraternity, the background, perform community service, help clean up stuff or help prepare for social events by getting costumes or decorations ready,”” Mach said.

    Three fraternities, Kappa Sigma, Kappa Alpha Order and Sigma Phi Eplison, were kicked off campus and lost their recognition by the UA last year.

    Kappa Sigma lost its recognition due to alleged hazing violations but are in the appeals process, said Jenny French Nirh, senior coordinator of Fraternity & Sorority Programs office.

    The university found that Kappa Alpha hosted unregistered events with alcohol that created an environment conducive to sexual assault. Sigma Phi Epsilon was kicked off on charges of both aforementioned reasons.

    These incidents have driven the UA to be even stricter on hazing, underage drinking and Greek activity on and around campus.

    “”Given the recent witch hunt and removal of some fraternities, we are definitely going to take extra precautions to make sure hazing will not take place at the house,”” Mach said. “”We’re going to raise the bar.””

    In recent years, the Greeks have implemented a program called GAMMA (Greeks Advocating the Mature Management of Alcohol) with steps for registered and approved parties.

    “”Before this year, back in the day, we never did that. We thought it was stupid,”” Mach said. “”But now, I wouldn’t be surprised to see them more often this next semester.””

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