Shake Day: A Completely Serious Guide

Joseph Marasciullo
Staff Writer

At the University of the South, Shake Day occurs twice a year at the beginning of both semesters. This campus-wide holiday marks the beginning of the formal rush season and is celebrated with completely responsible drinking, too much glitter, and pride for your Greek organization that will fade in a few days max.

The term “shake” is derived from the literal handshake that fraternity brothers give the pledges before running off with new members to do something stupid. While undeniably fun, Shake Day can spell trouble for those who are unfamiliar with the process. That’s why I have put together this informative primer to educate anyone looking to undergo the trial by fire that is Shake Day.

1. The Shake

On the day of the event, you will be required to physically shake the hand of a representative for the fraternity you are joining. This is quite possibly the most important and stressful part of the entire day. New members are required to give a strong, firm handshake in order to indicate their commitment to their new Greek organization.

A soft, floppy handshake communicates to the representative that you are not ready to join their organization, and that you disrespect every aspect of their club. It is possible to be rejected solely for an improper handshake, at which point you will be asked to leave the premises and try again next year. Those rejected for improper hand etiquette will have preferred status during the next rush season.

2. First Steps

After conveying your handshaking ability, you will be taken to your Greek organization of choice to begin the rush process. This is done by drinking in a completely responsible and not at all dangerous manner. Traditionally, the alcohol of choice will be extremely low-grade, and is consumed while being yelled at by strangers. The strangers will then tell you why their organization is so great and probably teach you some chants or songs relating to their institution. This will continue until everyone gets bored.

3. Self-Care

Shake Day can take a toll on the body, so it is important to keep yourself well-hydrated throughout the day. The human stomach can hold an average of about one litre, or about 34 fluid ounces. I would recommend drinking somewhere around 37.4 ounces of water throughout the day to show everyone involved that you’re willing to give 110% no matter what the situation.

It is also important to stay around your shaker. Your shaker is someone who is assigned to help you get through the day as comfortably as possible, helping you have a good but not a dangerous time. The shaker is responsible to watch over you and make sure that you reach your bed safely at the end of the day. Some say that most Shake Days end reasonably early, around 7-8 p.m., due to all the responsible, well-paced drinking done at these events. This could not be further from the truth. The truth of the matter is that if you are not awake and sufficiently partying by the time the clock strikes midnight, you must redo the entire process.

4. Beer In A Can

Anyone caught drinking an alcoholic beverage that is not beer inside of a can will have all scholarships and financial aid revoked, face immediate probationary action, and will be sent an email directly from Forbes Mann containing nothing but the word “Loser” in bold font and all caps. Sorry, I don’t make the rules.

Shake Day can be a confusing and arduous process for the uninitiated. For many, the first day of the rest of their Greek life has been disastrous due to completely avoidable rookie mistakes. If you follow all the guidelines presented in this primer, I can assure you that your Shake Day will be at least one of the more memorable days of your life.