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Fraternities & Sororities: think before you rush
Fraternities & Sororities: think before you rush
By Lindsay Satterthwaite
"Girls only join sororities to get popular!"
"All fraternity guys do is drink beer and party!"
"I don't need to pay for my friends."
These are just some of the common misconceptions about fraternities and sororities brought on by the classic movie Animal House. If you're laughing and nodding your head at these comments though, you may not know as much as you think about these international organizations.
Lucky for you, Western is the home of the largest university Greek community (fraternities and sororities) in Canada. As a Mustang, you have the privilege of experiencing fraternity and sorority life first hand and can form your own decisions about this student population.
A list of frequently asked questions has been compiled to help you understand just a little better.
How do I know
if I would like it?
For thousands, fraternity life is a major part of their university experience. However, joining is an entirely personal decision. The best thing to do is talk to people. Talk with other people who you know are in the Greek system (anywhere), or relatives who may have been a member. You can also find tonnes of people to speak with on Concrete Beach, outside the University Community Centre. Booths are set up with fraternity representatives who are there to answer any questions you may have. Sororities also offer a "rush" information session organized by the Panhellenic Council, the governing body of sororities. Keep your eyes peeled for dates and times.
What is Rush?
Sorority recruitment is a formal process for prospective sorority members to meet current sorority members and vice-versa. This is the time to learn the values, traditions and programming of the individual sororities. Recruitment is a mutual selection process that takes place over a period of several days.
Fraternity recruitment is much more informal. Interested guys can speak with the fraternity representatives at their own leisure on Concrete Beach. You may want to discuss philanthropic events, road trips or campus events. After talking with the representatives, you can decide which fraternities you are interested in finding more about and can then choose which events to attend hosted by those fraternities.
If I rush, do I have to join?
Absolutely not! Rushing is a unique experience that allows you to enter the Greek world without any commitment. You have the opportunity to talk with the members of the organization, ask questions and listen to speeches from members about their experiences. Nothing is taboo and questions are always welcome. If you decide after you rush that Greek life may not be for you, then you have, at least, had the pleasure of meeting lots of wonderful people.
What is the time
This may vary for each chapter, but you really do get out of it what you put into it. This is a great question to ask active members, but remember, academics are the first priority of each house, so social activities will never get in the way of your school work.
What are the financial requirements?
These also vary for each chapter, but during rush, it is made very clear by each house exactly what your money is being used for. There are no secrets here because there is absolutely nothing to hide. Dues can be broken down to the cent by the finance officer, so feel free to ask.
What are the benefits
1. Philanthropy projects are events in which the Greek community, as a whole or as individual chapters, donate their time and efforts to raise funds for a worthwhile cause. Some events include Derby Days, Mr. Greek and Greek Games.
2. The Greek community is dedicated to providing leadership opportunities to its members. Members have the opportunity to assume a wide spectrum of leadership roles including president, VP-finance and rush chairperson. This environment offers unique opportunities for individuals to achieve their leadership potential.
3. Academic achievement is the first and foremost priority of Greek members. Each fraternity and sorority places strong emphasis on creating an atmosphere conducive to high academic performance. A scholarship plaque is awarded to the chapter with the highest average on campus annually. The Order of Omega is also a recognized scholarship program implemented to honour high achieving Greek members.
4. Fraternities and sororities also provide balanced social programs for members including formals, date nights, grab-a-date, Greek Week and various parties with other fraternities and sororities. The most important goal of every chapter is to bring together a group of men or women and teach them values, traditions and honour while building close friendships.
The most important thing to do is to keep an open mind. Don't let stereotypes or misconceptions deter you. If nothing else, rush to see what Greek life is all about because then you can make your own decisions. Just relax, think positive and have fun!
Steven Spielberg (Theta Chi)
Bob Dole (Kappa Sigma)
Sheryl Crow (Kappa Alpha Theta)
Candice Bergen (Kappa Kappa Gamma)
David Letterman (Sigma Chi)
Brad Pitt (Sigma Chi)
Survivor's Amber (Alpha Gamma Delta)
Julia Louis Dreyfus (Delta Gamma)
Satterthwaite is currently the tickle fight champion of her sorority Delta Delta Delta.