What’s the rush? Fraternities, sororities explain


Photo credit: Andrea Nebhut

Illustration by Andrea Nebhut

Senior Cristina Kodadek wasn’t sure how she was going to make friends her first year at Trinity. Following Greek 101, Kodadek decided to rush, intending to join a sorority but hoping to find friends. Luckily, she found both by joining Chi Beta Epsilon.

About 25 percent of Trinity students are involved in Fraternity & Sorority Life (FSL). In September, active FSL members represented their organizations at the Greek 101 event before recruitment kickoff.

Recruitment is comprised of three rounds. The first and second rounds are open to any student, made up of both formal and informal events ranging from painting with Bob Ross to group dinners. By Oct. 28, all students planning on joining an organization must be on the master recruitment list to continue into the third round, which is made up of invite-only events.

Wills Brown, assistant director of FSL, recommends potential new members (PNMs) go to every first and second round event they can. He said the goal of FSL recruitment is to create connections.

“Before I came, I was looking at the sororities, and I knew I was interested in one specific one, but I liked the Greek 101 event,” said first-year Shelby Atherton. “I think it’s a benefit to keep your mind open and see if you fit into one sorority over one that you were previously looking at. Now I’m just rushing all of them to see.”

Another aspect of sorority recruitment in particular is rush dates. Kodadek, now Greek Council’s women’s recruitment and orientation chair, said this is a way for a PNM and an active member to have a one-on-one conversation to learn more about each other. This way, by the time PNMs receive their bid for their organization on Jan. 31, they already have connections within the group.

Junior Michael Masuo, Greek Council’s men’s chair, emphasized the importance of having strong bonds between organization members that begin with recruitment.

“We all know each other,” Masuo said. “That’s the backbone of fraternity. We say brotherhood, and it might sound cheesy, but it really is more than just a friendship. These are lifelong friends that you can always count on.”

According to Brown, such a strong bond between brothers and sisters in Trinity organizations is unique compared to larger public schools because Trinity’s fraternities and sororities are local, meaning they only exist here on campus.

“If I’m an I-Chi here and in 10 years I see someone halfway across the world in an I-Chi shirt, I know that that’s a Trinity I-Chi, and we share similar experiences,” Brown said.

However, like at most other colleges, parties are an unofficial part of the rush process at Trinity. Although Atherton said, as a first-year PNM, she hasn’t felt any pressure to attend parties to help her recruitment, Kodadek recognized the presence of parties throughout the semester-long recruitment process.

“Sometimes those parties do play an inadvertent role in recruitment in that you’ll meet somebody at a rush date or an informal, and you’ll go out that weekend, and you’ll see them at a party,” Kodadek said.

When Kodadek took office, she helped change recruitment rules so that active FSL members are allowed to take PNMs home in the case that a party becomes unsafe for them. Before this change was enacted last semester, active members weren’t allowed to facilitate safe transportation for PNMs because it was thought to be a form of “dirty rushing” or unfairly influencing a PNM’s bias toward an organization.

“I would hear stories, especially from women, where they would find some drunk girl in a corner and [say], ‘Oh my god, you need to go home. Who are your friends? Let’s find somebody to take you home.’” Kodadek said. “Especially with the first-years who don’t know a lot of people, they would come with their roommate’s friend from class or some weird connection, and that didn’t seem entirely safe. Now actives are allowed to take those PNMs home which is hopefully a better system.”

Second round events begin in October. Since they are still open to all students interested in FSL, anyone can join in, even if they haven’t participated in any first round events. Invite-only third round events begin in November, but right now, rushing is a time to actively look for a home on campus.

“What I want for all of the PNMs is for them to feel that they have found a place where they belong on campus, a place where they feel comfortable and a place where they can be themselves,” Kodadek said. “If it’s Greek life or not, I don’t really care. I want them to be happy and be confident in themselves and feel like they belong here.”