#ThrowWhatYouKnow (Everything You Want to Know About Greek Life and More)

 

To rush or not to rush?

A brilliant question that inevitably crosses the mind of many soon-to-be-freshman. And with great reason. It’s a big decision!

Greek Life, no matter where you are in the country, comes with its own unique set of myths, stereotypes, and hesitations. I’m sure you know someone whose Instagram caption is forever “#throwwhatyouknow”. Annnnd then I’m sure you know someone else who always insisting that Greeks “buy their friends”.

I’m not here to sway you one way or another, I’m here to share with you my experience and give our future freshman a view into the process.

TERMS

First of all, let’s start by breaking down some very important terms. If we are going to have an open conversation about Greek Life, then it’s vital you know what it all means! And quite frankly, Greek Life is a language all of its own so I’m sure you’ll find having some clear definitions will be very helpful. (Enter cheesy dad joke something along the lines of “it’s all Greek to me”)

  • Organization – A broad term to describe any fraternity or sorority
  • Actives – Current members of an organization
  • Rush – The process one goes through to join an organization (participants are known as rushees)
  • Open Event – a rush event that anyone can attend
  • Closed Event – a rush event that one must be invited to
  • Bid – What one will receive when an organization is interested in taking a rushee
  • G.O. – This stands for Greek Orientation. This is a Hope College exclusive term. It refers to the 3-week orientation process all new actives go through after choosing an organization
  • Pledge Class – The actives who rushed the same year as oneself
  • Philanthropy – This is the non-profit cause that each organization supports throughout the year via fundraisers and activities
  • “Finding Your Home” – This is a colloquial saying conveying the message that there is a perfect place for every rushee

 

HOPE COLLEGE STATISTICS AND BACKGROUND

Now that you have all of the terms under your belt, we can move into more specifics!

Hope College has 7 sororities and 8 fraternities. About 20% of the Hope College student body participates in Greek Life. Most of Hope’s organizations are local with the exception of one fraternity (Phi Sigma Kappa) that is national. The difference between local and national organizations are laws that each must follow and the dues that must be paid. Contrary to many schools, Hope students rush second-semester allowing room for the incoming freshman to informally meet people in every organization without any pressure to make decisions. Additionally, rush is about 2 and a half weeks long giving rushees plenty of time to actually know the actives. There are currently 704 active members of Hope’s Greek Life and it’s always growing with room for you to find your home!

RUSH

Just to be clear, rush is very different for guys and girls. I will explain each, but I’m sorry guys, I just don’t have the same expertise and experience rushing frats. I’ll do my best, but maybe someday one of you can come and tell me more about it.

GUYS

Guys rush is rather informal. Events will consist of pizza, pool, laser tag, dodgeball and all of sorts of ‘manly’ activities. All events are open until the very last event which is closed and readily known as an informal. If you are invited to an informal, you will ask a date to attend the event with you. An informal invitation is usually followed by a bid, but you do not need to be invited to an informal to receive a bid.

GIRLS

Girls rush is a little more structured than guys rush. There will typically be an open event followed by a closed event. This pattern will repeat about four times over two weeks. The events will range from lip sync battles to bowling to dodgeball (yes apparently, dodgeball is loved by guys and girls alike). The rush season is closed with preference in which the rushees write down their top 3 preferences for an organization. Bids are handed out that night by representatives of the sorority.

MY PERSONAL EXPERIENCE

So now that you’ve heard basically every fact you need to understand Hope’s Greek system, I’ll give you a real student’s experience and perspective of Greek Life. First of all, I’m a Del Phi (aka a Delta Phi) and I couldn’t ask for anything more! I absolutely adore it and I’m incredibly thankful for the people I’ve met through Hope’s Greek Life – it’s brought some of my best friends into my life!

That being said, I didn’t always think I was going to rush. In fact, as I came into college, I was rather against the idea. I didn’t want a huge sorority house experience in which I only talked to Greek Life people and that’s it. I wanted to make sure I had friends in lots of areas and I had the freedom to explore whatever I felt called to.

After stepping onto campus, I quickly discovered that Hope’s Greek system is not at all an exclusive group. At Hope, everyone in Greek Life is highly involved on campus with loads of other interests, clubs, sports, and activities. And that really caught my eye. I quickly made friends who were in Greek Life without even realizing it. This was the first time I experienced one of the things I still so highly respect about Hope’s Greek Life: it’s not a bubble.

Greek Life students have friends all over campus. In fact, students all over campus have friends all over campus. I think this is more of a Hope-culture-thing than a Greek-Life-culture-thing, but it’s so pervasive that you can experience throughout every organization – Greek or not. I fell in love with this aspect of Hope’s Greek Life and soon after I decided to rush. I quickly decided to go Del Phi and it was one of the easiest decisions I ever made! I FOUND MY HOME AND I HOPE YOU DO TOO!

Once you’re all done with rush and G.O. then you are ~activated~ and that is when some seriously fun stuff starts! We do all sorts of great events and fundraisers! Some of my personal faves are…

Dance Marathon (a 24-hour dance party fundraiser for Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital)

Canoe (a canoeing day trip you take with all your sistaaas… or brothers)

Pink Day (a bake sale that the Del Phi’s put on to fundraise for breast cancer research, our philanthropy)

And, of course, there so many fun reasons to get all dressed up like FORMAL!!

FUN FACTS

I’ll leave you with a couple of fun facts that help paint an even broader, fuller picture. I hope this blog helped you clarify your thoughts on Hope Greek Life and maybe even settle some nerves about rushing!

  • A majority Hope College Greek Organizations aren’t referred to by their letters. Some common names you’ll hear are Dorians, Cosmos, Emersonians, and many more.
  • Every Hope College Greek Organization has an elected position that organizes bible studies and prayer requests, known as the Chaplin.
  • Not everyone in an organization lives in the organization’s house (or cottage as we call them). Each Greek cottage holds about 10 people.
  • Here is the website if you’re interested in learning more! https://hope.edu/offices/student-life/greek-life/

Life in Holland as told from my #Instagram

THE BEACHES

Whether it’s Big Ol’ Red (aka Holland State Park), Tunnel Beach, Laketown Dunes, The Bowl, or some random beach front you found on a drive, everyone has their favorite beach and it’s a must no matter what time of year. Even in the depths of winter, my friends and I will bundle up in coats and blankets, trek out to some Lake Michigan beachfront, and watch the stars for probably longer than we should.

RILEY TRAILS

Riley Trails is cherished around these parts for class field trips, long walks with your ~campus crush~, a place to escape the rush of school, or (my personal fave) an impromptu photo shoot with a couple friends. On a warm, sunny day, there’s really nothing that can beat a good jog up, down, and all around Riley Trails.

THE ENDLESS COFFEE SHOPS

Some will say Lemonjellos. Other’s (ME) will say JPs. And still, others will say 205. No matter what your style, vibe, or latte of choice, Holland has got a spot for you. Yes, we may be a town known for churches on every corner. But, this popularity is closely rivaled by our coffee shops on every other corner. Also, pro tip, if you don’t know what to order, try my go-to: an almond milk latte with vanilla, it tastes like how a good book would taste… if you can imagine that.

OUR VERY OWN PINE GROVE

The Pine Grove is truly the most beloved place on campus. One, I mean come on just look at it, how could you not love this place? But two, this is the heart of campus. On a warm day, the Pine Grove is littered with hammocks, slacklines, picnic blankets, spike-ball courts, and of course, frisbees. The PG is perfect for actually doing homework, pretending to do homework, and just general merriment.

TULIP TIME

You might say, “but Ariana, what IS Tulip Time“. What is Tulip Time? WHAT IS TULIP TIME?! Only the best time of the year, of course! Right around final exams and graduation a carnival appears in our very own streets to supply Hope students with the proper caloric energy they need to end the year: elephant ears, corn dogs, frozen lemonade, and literally deep-fried-anything-you-can-imagine. Ahhh, the glow of food trucks, the click-clack of wooden clogs on concrete, the omnipresent smell of tulips, there’s nothing else like it.

HONESTLY… JUST WHEREVER MY PEOPLE ARE

Hang out around these parts enough and you’ll start to heart it a lot: “What makes Hope special is the community.” BUT IT’S SO TRUE! My favorite place in all of Holland is just wherever my friends happen to be at that moment. If it’s homework at the Bultman Student Center, hitting that free weight room in the Dow, or simply snuggled into our beds, being with my people is being home.

Featured Photographers: Addie Vanderzwaag, Riley Schmitz, Mackenzie Mitchell, Sydney Enloe, Eddie Ip

Featured Models: Riley Schmitz, Jubilee Jackson, Hailey Houck, Sydney Enloe, Anna Stafford,

THE ‘KERK!

By: Arianna Bratt

“And the winner of the 2017 Nykerk Cup Competition is…”

Those words will inevitably ring through DeVos Field House in just three short weeks, the night of October 28th to be exact. But, the words that will follow this red-underlined-incomplete-sentence are yet to be fought, rehearsed, sang, played, spoke, and deliberated over. The ultimate question remains: WHO WILL REIGN NYKERK CUP CHAMP? Even? Or Odd? And perhaps the even more interesting question: Where do your alliances lie?

Nykerk is a cutthroat (okay, not really, more like very loving and cuddly #NykerkLove) tradition at Hope College in which the freshman, coached by the juniors, and the sophomores, coached by the seniors, clash to create the most epic battleground ever laid for all things song, play, and oration. Let’s break it down and introduce our Nykerk warriors. *cue the drumroll*

The Orator: One oration wizard is chosen from each side to craft a heart-piercing verbal and physical articulation of the theme. Given a different prompt every year, the wisdom spewed from our orators are guaranteed to leave you a tingling combination of elated and teary-eyed.

The Play: 15 Odd Year and 10 Even Year play girls are destined to take the stage in original and hilarious plays riddled with Hope jokes, crazy makeup, intricate traditions, and outrageous plots. This is unlike any other play you’ve seen (no, but really…think crazy and then even crazier). Play will leave you in shock, awe, admiration, albeit slightly confused, but wanting to see it all over again.

The Song: Our song girls come with strong belting voices and in masses. Dazzling harmonies are met with captivating hand motions and prop use. Their impeccable timing pulls you into a never-before-experienced world of popular music and old classics. Get ready to incessantly and uncontrollably dance in your seat.

The Morale: Our ever-vital morale men are the stoke to the Nykerk flame. They cheer our girls on with daily skits and constant hilarity. On the night of Nykerk you will see them running around gladly bearing their servant’s heart, empowering all things ‘Kerk to ensue. (We love you, moral boys, oh yes we do)

As Even and Odd bring their best, the judges and the audience have the impossible task of choosing a winner year after year. So, where do your alliances lie? As a former Odd Year playgirl, I’m sure you can only imagine my preferences. My freshman year, I played the part of Puller (pictured below) a tribute to Nykerk’s counterpart – the Pull. And then my sophomore year, I played Train a clunky but loveable take on the trains that make Hope students constantly late to class. I have truly made some of my best friends during Play, in fact, 5 of us are living together our Senior Year! Yes, we are anticipating to never sleep #PlaySoHard

Alas, I am not here to sway you. Rather, choose for yourself and go root on your precious Nykerk girls with all the energy and love your heart can muster. October 28th at DeVos Field House, don’t miss it!