September 25, 2003  
Volume 97, Issue 16  

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Sister Act 3: the Rush

da island coconut
Niru Somayajula

Gazette Staff

If someone told me two weeks ago I would be joining a sorority, I probably would have laughed, maybe even snickered a little and I definitely would have forgotten about it 15 seconds later. When I did end up rushing, I was in for something I definitely wasn't expecting - sisterhood.

My rush experience began in a cramped lecture room surrounded by over 100 well-groomed, very anxious women. It was an eye-opener to see so many young women so motivated to be a part of something I had never even considered.

The rush period is organized by a committee of women from the six different sororities on campus called Panhel. During the rush period, they don't reveal which sorority they belong to and organize all the house visits.

At the end of each session, one is expected to "drop" a house and with each subsequent day you visit one less house. The last day, you have narrowed it down to three houses from which you make your final bid and hope the sorority chooses you. Each girl is guaranteed a spot in one of the houses at the end of the week.

I had conjured up ideas for what these "parties" would entail, most of which included obscene amounts of alcohol, the worst truth or dare possible and maybe even someone dangling me from University College tower. In reality, rush was none of these. Parties ranged in theme from Madonna medleys to a stint in a jungle with Alpha Gamma Delta.

In every house, there were performances, cheering, lots of laughter and great food. No alcohol is consumed during sorority rush, which really forces the houses to be creative. Each sorority takes immense pride in their beliefs and how they conduct themselves, something quite evident through their respective elaborate productions.

Between each of the six sororities, there are many differences - which I found to be the most shocking. Some sororities fit the typical stereotype - where you can feel daddy's money oozing out of the blond hair - while others are more low key and emphasize sisterhood and keeping good grades for inter-sorority scholarships. You notice the difference between the sororities that are always looking for a good time and those that actually take their in-house philanthropy very seriously.

Even for me, the skeptic of all skeptics, I could see how belonging to a sorority could be appealing to many. Although the option of instant friends and crazy parties sounds tempting, there were moments when I found it all so artificial and out of place in a university setting.

After all, when it comes down to it, we're here at Western to get an education. Yes, university is about experiencing being away from home for the first time and developing a sense of self. I could see a as being a way to meet people and live life to its fullest, but I find it a narrow way to expand one's approach to life. At Western you have the ability to access a diversity most small universities cannot offer. In one week, you could learn to salsa, develop your own photos in a darkroom and go camping in Algonquin Park for a weekend.

Sorority life consumes you, whether it pushes you to do better in school, meet people you never would have dreamed meeting or turn yourself into a raging alcoholic. Whatever course it takes, be prepared for it to swallow you whole.



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