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.
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!
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 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 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!!
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/