“Are you in a house?”
If I had a dollar for every time I got asked that, I wouldn’t need a college education. I could just drop out right now and live off of my earnings from that question. But as far as my answer goes, I’m not going to give that away because this isn’t about me. It’s about the redemption of sorority recruitment at UO.
The amount of planning that goes into rush is borderline insane. Sororities practice more than eight hours a day for a week straight to perfect their “hellos,” their smiles, and their ensembles. Going into the first couple of days of rush is bound to blow the mind of any eager freshman. It’s like The Stepford Wives: College Edition. Each conversation is carefully orchestrated as to who to speak to, and each girl going through is judged based on a five-minute conversation.
Later on in the week, a system of mutual selection narrows down girls so they can revisit select houses to learn about different philanthropies, sisterhoods, and living quarters. These organized days give girls a good sense about what each sorority is about. This way, it’s easier to feel the vibe of each house because PNMs (potential new members) are matched with members they are thought to be compatible with. While a lot of thought and care is put into the process, it can still leave room for plenty of awkward conversations.
Is it a pretty rough system? Yes. But it really is the only way that makes sense. How else would you suggest filtering more than 800 girls through ten different houses in six days? People often complain about the problems with rush. It’s called judgmental, fake, unnecessary, elitist; the list isn’t exactly a pretty one. But what a lot of people don’t realize is that sorority girls don’t like “judging” strangers any more than strangers like being judged. These girls are usually defined by the non-affiliated students as being dumb party girls who have no interest in anything but their current outfit and which fraternity is having the best function that weekend. But that simply is not true. The girls in Greek Life at Oregon have got to be some of the kindest, funniest, and quirkiest girls around. Because that’s what houses look for: uniqueness.
Whether I am affiliated with Greek Life is neither here nor there. But I can tell you this: Greek Life has a positive impact on my college life. I have felt acceptance from every chapter at this school, and have been opened up to networks of people and opportunities that I would not have otherwise.
Image of Gamma Phi Beta House in Eugene, Oregon from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gamma_Phi_Beta_Sorority_House_%28Eugene,_Oregon%29