Adapting to the college lifestyle is a challenging process. Many freshman girls find the transition isolating and confusing until they find their sense of belonging, and 20% of UO students try to find that in a fraternity or sorority.
However, the feeling of rejection that women face if they are not accepted into a single sorority during rush can outweigh the benefits of being a part of one.
Traditionally, the formal way to rush is at the beginning of fall term. Prospective Greek life members dedicate a stress-filled week of their lives being at the beck and call of chapters that may or may not show an interest in them.
“I don’t think that anyone thinks recruitment is a fun time,” admits a UO sophomore who is involved in the recruitment process.
“It’s a lot of work and effort, but if you really want something, you’re going to work for it.”
But what exactly is that work?
The week of rush is constantly meeting and making an impression on new people, whether that be with the girls in your walking group or the current members of houses you want to join.
A walking group is a group of girls who walk together to every rush event, and sometimes they are asked to all wear the same outfit for a certain occasion. This rule can be extremely anxiety-inducing to women who already struggle with body image issues and would rather not be compared to a group of women wearing the exact same outfit.
Each day of rush is filled with “speed-dating”, which is when potential and current members of a sorority sit down for a brief conversation, or an interview of sorts.
“You’re just kind of seeing how you guys are vibing and what they have to put into the conversation,” explains a sorority recruiter about the speed-dating portion of the week.
But a quick chat filled with exchanges like “What were you like in high school?” and “What do you like on your pizza?” is not indicative of a person’s character or potential success in that chapter. For women who get rejected after a couple of minutes of small talk, it can easily be interpreted as though they were boring or undesirable.
Unfortunately, the detrimental aspects of sororities do not simply dissipate if you make it through recruitment.
A UO senior who remembers her rushing experience three years ago describes the unrealistic standards that sororities expect their members to meet.
“One thing I remember that consistently rubbed me the wrong way was that if I decided to wear my letters that day, I had to make sure my hair and makeup was done.”
Not only does this request give into the societal norm that women only look presentable when they wear makeup; it assumes that all women own and can afford makeup, and should not advertise their chapter while rocking a natural look.
I am not claiming that every chapter of Greek life is materialistic and superficial. I know that many college women find their homes in sororities and make genuine connections with their sisters within it.
But for those who do not gain acceptance to any houses after trying their best in recruitment, their transitions to college are not going to be helped by being told they already don’t fit in.
Drama like that has no place at university, and telling women that they are not worthy of a certain group goes against all values of sisterhood.
Before you rush a sorority, take the time to consider if it’s worth the drop in self-esteem that may ensue if you don’t make it into the house you were hoping to be a part of. If you’re already in a sorority, just know that you never need to fit a certain mold in order to be well-liked or successful in whatever you do.