May 27, 2017


The Other Side of Rush

Exploring what happens to the girls who don

Freezing temperatures, fresh classes and formal sorority recruitment marked the beginning of the spring semester for 794 first-year girls at the University.

Within the week, many girls became members of Greek sisterhoods that will mark their social lives, and T-shirt collections, for the next four years.

But what about the rushees who did not join a sorority?

"While we hope that every woman who participates in Recruitment will find her ideal match, and we believe she is very likely to given the depth and breadth of our community, it ultimately is a personal decision as to whether or not a woman decides to join a chapter," said Chelsey Iaquinto, the Inter-Sorority Council's vice president for recruitment, in an e-mail.

Although Iaquinto explained that it was uncommon for girls to withdraw from rush, many students do not go through with it or do not complete the process every year. Other students, upon receiving bids, decline. Still others accept the bids, then deactivate a day, a week or a semester after pledging.

Second-year College student Danielle Murashige signed up to rush last spring but decided not to before it even started, citing a lack of prior information as her reason for not participating. Although the ISC does provide Recruitment Counselors for the rushees, many girls come into the process already knowing a significant amount about the houses, which may make those girls who are less informed feel ill-prepared.

In the end, though, Murshige noted that the less-informed girls probably had the best experiences during recruitment, joking that girls who could not tell one Greek letter from another that probably fared best during the process.

"The girls who had the best time rushing were those who didn't know anything about the Greek system," she said, adding that these girls entered each house more open-minded.\nUltimately, Murashige gave recruitment another try this year and accepted a bid.

Apart from a lack of information, second-year College student Vicki Greenberg explained that first-year students may find the recruitment experience incredibly stressful and thus choose not to join the Greek system.

"I was really judgmental going into the process," she said. "I only wanted to be in one of two houses. After they cut me, I didn't want to do it anymore and dropped out."

Several students find themselves in situations similar to Greenberg's every year. The social aspect of sorority life can be incredibly appealing to girls who have had their eyes on certain Greek houses, and the end of the recruitment process can be heartbreaking.

"It allows people to get involved," first-year College student Abbi Sigler said.

Similarly, second-year College student Julia King said she rushed and pledged during her first year in an attempt to find bonds of sisterhood at the University. After attending an all-girls high school, she already was accustomed to a sense of female camaraderie and wanted to reclaim that same feeling.

Though she loved the process, the diversity of her pledge class constantly amazed her.

"There were girls who would tan twice a week and had platinum blonde hair, and other girls who were really quiet and studious," she said. "I wondered, how did we get to the same place?"

King eventually deactivated the summer after her first year for several reasons, including the hefty fees that are associated with joining.

Greenberg ended up giving the Greek system another try this past fall. She informally rushed and accepted a bid because she "just wanted to meet people," she said.

Sigler decided not to go through with formal recruitment as she continues to adjust to University life. She added that she is considering exploring her passion for community service by rushing Alpha Phi Omega or by becoming more involved with Madison House.

Second-year College student Nancy Park chose not to finish out the formal recruitment period last year, citing similar reasons as Sigler.

"It was kind of a challenge at first," she said, "especially when all the people around me were pledging."

Given time, though, Park became more and more comfortable with her decision. As the current Second-Year Council vice president and a resident adviser in Maupin dormitory, Park admits that she would not have had the time for all of these other activities had she gone Greek.

"I'm grateful I have more time to invest deeper into the activities I'm involved with," she said.

Published February 15, 2010 in Life

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(12/31/69 7:00pm)

In my own opinion, the "Greek" system is an embarrassment to academia. The level of commitment that some students seem to be putting into their sororities and fraternities is beyond the commitment they are making to their studies, and comes at the expense of those studies. We are not here at UVA in order to party, we are here in order to learn, and that should come first. It's not that I have something against having fun or parties, but the commitment should be to one's classes and schoolwork, and that should take priority; sororities and fraternities demand too much involvement from their members for any "sister" or "brother" to pretend that they are giving priority to their classwork.

Sasha Amini
(12/31/69 7:00pm)

Ben, speaking as somebody who is not in a Greek organization, I disagree with you. It seems that you view the Greek community as a homogenous body filled with members who prioritize fun over work. It's highly doubtful that you need me, or anyone else, to tell you that this is not the case. There are certainly fraternity and sorority members who also spend a great deal of time on their studies.\n \nWhile many students in Greek organizations do put significant amounts of effort into their studies, you are correct in saying that others, in part because of the commitments they have to a fraternity or sorority, do not place a great deal of emphasis on their academic lives. Regardless of this fact, it's their decision. Many people see having fun as the point of life I don't see how that presents a problem for those who do not. Sure, you can express your opinion that they're wasting their time, but maybe they just have different priorities than you do. People are different and there is nothing wrong with that.

(12/31/69 7:00pm)

Ben, you are incredibly misinformed about the commitment of Greek students to their school work. In fact, the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life has reported that the average GPA for Greek men and women has consistently been higher than the all UVA average. There is no metric more reliable than that.

(12/31/69 7:00pm)

Greek system: unmasked..

Owing to the experiences of my room mates and 3 ex girlfriends over the past 6 years who knew all about the greek system and what it does to people - especially women - UVA would be far better off without it.

I have only heard a lot of stories from females as the guys I have known don't want to talk about it - but the gals do. From what I've been told, it works something like this:

Rush begins with a looks and money contest. Girls go broke buying skimpy dresses to wear to impress other women! They have to be of a certain looks quotient. Then if they pass that, they are quickly asked questions like "where do you summer?" and "what do you drive?" This gives the sisters making the decisions a good idea if the rusher has the family money to fit in. Non white and overweight girls will be considered only as a last resort, or if there is some legacy/status override.

Once you are accepted, you are expected to ignore and ostracize your old friends in the dorms who did not get into any sorority. Socializing with gals in other sororities is OK. The ones who make it then have to come up with some big time money to pay for the friends they just bought. Then initiation starts. They are "little sisters" to specific fraternities, and we all know what that means. Attending formals is mandatory, as is putting out for the frat boy you were arranged a date with. Variance from this tradition is tolerated very little, and not for long. Many resort to drinking till blackout under the pressure to perform for a virtual stranger.

The gals left behind at the dorms then huddle together and become, many times, very dysfunctional. Some avoid the rush altogether and go on to be perfectly functional and happy with their choice. But for many of those that try and fail, well, are branded with it. Eating disorders, depression, trying to screw your way back into being popular, substance abuse - I've seen and heard it all. It's not going to get written about in the paper, but it is all over the place. It results in some very bad situations, and very bitter and hateful groups of girls. My ex gf's sister and her friends were unbelievable.

I met an Australian couple on a round the world trip last October on a football Saturday while having dinner on the corner. One of the first things they found striking about Charlottesville were these groups of overdressed kids walking like armies into certain bars - many of the gals with fearful looks on their faces. They asked me what the hell was up with that, and remarked that it was a disturbing site. I told them it was tradition, and those girls had a job to do that night - and they knew it. Amazing how someone from a different culture who isn't used to seeing it can see it for what it really is so easily.

We'd all be better off without the greek system. It's all the worst from high school transferred into a collegiate environment. There are some good apples, of course. But by and large, I've been shocked at what I've sen and heard around here. My undergrad college had a small and ineffectual greek system. Here their control of social norms - and what those social norms are - is really bad.

(12/31/69 7:00pm)

Greek System = conformity, group-think, and loss of individualism. Many Greeks leave UVa as a walking, talking products of UVa greek culture, and to me that is PATHETIC. In my opinion, each individual should determine how they themselves evolve, rather than letting a culture, organization, or University determine how they evolve. When individuals submit themselves to group-think, their individuality is lost.

(12/31/69 7:00pm)

Take a picture of the UVA incoming class. It might look kind of diverse, especially in terms of dress. Take a picture of that same group 4 years later. You will see a much more homogeneous group of people, especially in terms of dress. This is exactly what is wrong with UVa, and particularly the Greek System. People come to UVa, and leave 4 years later more ignorant, more close minded, less diverse, less individualistic, and less prepared for the real world. Then they leave UVa and realize that being a corny, preppy, southern douchebag will get you no where in the real world (UVa in not the real world; its a University for rich kids).

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