by Caitlin Tortorici
It’s rushing season again, and the greeks have kept these last weeks action-packed.
Rush officials are happy to report that they have done their part to keep the process efficient and the interest high.
Sorority officials have looked to old custom to optimize this year’s process. According to Rush Officer Becky Antilla, this year’s rush ran much as it did two years ago. Girls rush for all three sororities over the course of three days. The process consists of one event each day to help the girls narrow down their options. The first is activity day, in which the girls generally become acquainted with each other by putting on skits and exploring the section. The second is philanthropy day, during which sororities introduce their philanthropy projects, put on a slide show and perform some sort of service activity. The third day is tea day, when the girls actually receive their bids based on their own preference and that of the sorority.
While the three-day process might seem strict to those who rushed last year, Antilla trusts it will be more efficient. “It lets us get to know our potential new members because we have more face time with them. It’s much easier to get through rush in a weekend than go to a party every single night.”
With 93 women rushing, Antilla believes the renovated system will be much more successful for all the groups. “It’s a lot easier for potential members to see the group dynamic of each house in this system than it was last year. I’m confident that all the girls rushing will end up with the group that best meshes with their individual personalities.”
Adjustments have been made within the fraternity system as well. According to Sigma Chi Rush Chair Andrew Knox, men rushing will be allowed to spend time at the fraternity houses during the day with no rules in effect. This is aimed to give the participants a better idea of fraternity life. While Knox worries about the prospect of daytime drinking, he remains confident that the larger window of time will give prospective members a better opportunity to select the house that best matches their interests.
While the freshmen class has a limited selection of males, Knox and other fraternity members have seen no decline in interest. “We have a lot of great guys rushing,” said the Sigma Chi Chair.
Junior Beta Jeff Wilson shares Knox’s enthusiasm. “We’re doing as well as any other year. A lot of guys are coming out to check out the facilities, check out what the frat system is all about at Whitman. I think everyone’s been enjoying the frat parties,” said Wilson earlier last week.
Certainly, everyone has something to say about the famous all-campus festivities.
The Sigma Chi party, “A Black Light Affair,” was the first of the parties. Junior Zach Lough looked positively upon the affair. “I had a grand time. People seemed to be enjoying it. And there’s not a lot of electronica at parties, so that made it stand out,” said the Sigma Chi member.
Other students had mixed reactions. “It was really sweaty, which freaked a lot of people out,” said freshman Russel Caditz-Peck. Caditz-Peck plans to pledge later this week. “It was a good time overall.”
Several sophomores were not so optimistic. Kelly Wutzke, who attended the Sig event as a first-year, looked upon this year’s affair with new eyes. “Parts of it were fun,” said Wutzke. “But eventually the heat, the sweat, all the dirty bodies became too much to bear. Sweat was condensing on the ceiling; it was like a smelly sauna.”
Last Saturday’s Phi Delta Theta luau seemed better received by the majority. “I thought the preparation for the luau was pretty outstanding,” said freshman Alex Miller. Sophomore Jesse Maxwell agreed. “The huge sandbox was pretty sweet. And you can’t go wrong with fire torches,” said Maxwell. Sophomore Amy Strauss, who attended the event for the second year in a row, was equally impressed. “I had a great time. They did a great job putting it together and it was far more sanitary than the black light party.”
In addition to their all-campus blowouts, fraternities organize a number of events to keep their prospective brothers interested. Each fraternity hosts a formal dinner, in which they give participants a tour of the house. “It was great to get a feel for the different houses,” said freshman Marshall Baker.
Baker’s enthusiasm is not confined to formal events. “I quite enjoyed the camaraderie of getting free lunch and jumping off cliffs,” stated the nineteen-year-old.
Other men’s rush activities included wakeboarding/tubing, paintballing, golfing, trips to the rodeo, broomball, bowling, Monday Night Football sessions and pool parties.
“I think the activities were received really well,” said sophomore Beta member Brian Abelson. “I think the guys appreciate how convenient it is.”
Many students would agree that the men’s rush is a far more convenient process than the women’s.
Sophomore Elliott Okantey, who rushed his freshman year, didn’t realize he was doing so until later on. “I just enjoyed the free lunch,” said Okantey. “Then I ended up getting two bids.”
Nevertheless, Okantey chose not to rush.
“There’s sort of a secret society aspect to the greek system that I don’t like. I didn’t want other people going into a room and deciding what kind of guy I was, so I really withdrew,” said Okantey.
Nevertheless, Okantey has decided to give greek life a second chance. “There’s a really good group of sophomores who are pledging this year for TKE. It’s all about the guys you are with.”
Many students now in fraternities would agree that although they did not initially see themselves as frat boys, they were won over by the friendliness of other fraternity members and the promise of cheap housing.
“I think it’s a lot less effort to join a sorority than a fraternity,” said sophomore Caitlin Schoenfelder. “I feel like girls who rush for sororities do it much more intentionally,” said the independent. “Guys just have frat guys showing up at their door and treating them to lunch.”
Sophomore Kayla Cooper agrees. “I’d rather pledge for a fraternity than a sorority. Guys get along without being catty. And they don’t have to pay to rush.”
In any case, most students can appreciate rush for the many social opportunities it provides. It certainly adds some spice to the last nights of summer.