About To Go Greek?
Many of you youngsters are heading back to or about to enter college, and at least at my school, U.C. Berkeley (Pac-10 football sleeper pick anyone?), the first week of college has more parties going on than any other time of the school year. Every fraternity throws huge parties and has its doors wide-open in the hopes of pulling in new members to join their ranks.
If you’re about to head right into the thick of things and possibly go Greek, here are some things you might want to keep in mind.
Do You Guys Paddle?
One question that is definitely floating around in your mind is whether or not the house you’re looking at hazes. The problem is when you ask about hazing you’re rarely going to get a straight answer. Fraternity members are more or less told to lie about hazing because it is a crime. In some states the wording is so strict that if a house even has its pledges clean up the house on a weekly basis, that would be considered be grounds for legal proceedings.
So the chances of you getting a completely honest answer about the pledging process is very slim. The best people to ask are either people who have de-pledged a house or sorority girls.
If you’re lucky enough to know someone who de-pledged a house you’re interested in, he is definitely the first person you should ask to find out information about a house. And you’re not necessarily only going to hear bad things about the house — just because someone de-pledged a house does not necessarily mean that their entire pledge experience was overwhelmingly negative.
Sorority girls have a good grasp on which fraternities haze the most. The people sorority girls usually hang out with and date are, yup, you guess it, fraternity boys. Over time they hear certain things that they probably shouldn’t hear
The Same, But Different
Just because your uncle went to the Theta Chi at the University of Washington and had the most amazing time of his life does not mean that you’re going to be a good fit for the Theta Chi at Georgia Tech.
Chapters of the same fraternity operate extremely differently. I remember going to a national convention for Sigma Chi. I met people from all over the country, some of whom I said to myself that this kid would never fit into my house (and they probably thought the same about me).
That’s not necessarily a bad thing. Each individual chapter house has its own profile for the type of people that fit into it. That profile is not going to be the same across the board for a national fraternity.
If you’re interested though in checking out a fraternity that a relative or a close friend is a brother at, have him contact that house’s president and rush chair.
A current member of a fraternity is likely to be a lot more open about the culture of his house to another fellow member than to a rushee. Additionally, if you really like the house, you’ll already be on the radar of current brothers — at rush events they will be more likely to approach you if they already know your name.
Diversify Your Portfolio
When rushees asked me if I had any words of wisdom to tell them about rushing, the first thing I would tell them is check out multiple houses. The worst thing you can do is set your heart on a single house and then fail to at least visit other fraternities.
First off, just because you really want to be in a house doesn’t mean the brothers wants you to be in their house. Even if a house isn’t really high on you, they’ll treat you with respect if you continue to come by to rush events.
Also for all you know the house that is the best fit for you is actually next door, you just haven’t checked it out yet. Worse comes to worst, if you check out a few extra houses that you don’t like, you’ll end up with a few extra beers and hamburgers. Life could be worse.
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About Mustafa Shaikh Mustafa Shaikh is an aspiring writer living in Berkeley, CA. Not willing to give up his college days just yet, he lives only a few blocks away from his beloved campus. He hopes to write a best-seller within the next couple of years and live off the royalties of it for as long as possible.