By Colton Williams
This year, the deadline for registering for Spring Rush was moved up to December 19, rather than its traditional deadline in January. Similar to last rush season, fewer male students plan to participate.
According to Inter-Sorority Council (ISC) President Mary Margaret Murdock (C’19), the deadline is earlier so that Greek life can check students’ grades and conduct records over the break to allow for a smooth transition once the semester begins.
The date is earlier to give students more time to sign up for Rush in the hopes that students “will be thoughtful about their decision and have it checked off before they leave for break,” said Murdock.
Paley Smith (C’19), ISC Vice-President of Rush, noted that the fundamental process of rush has not changed, and the procedures and guidelines remain the same. She did add, however, that a speaker would be incorporated into the schedule of events to “give those rushing to find some meaning in the process rather than being simply a social hour.”
The new Coordinator for Fraternity and Sorority Life Colin Nelson-Pinkston said that the Office of Student Activities is currently working with new member educators to create productive education plans for both new and current members of Greek life.
“Our main goal for the Easter 2019 semester,” Nelson-Pinkston said, “is to take the time to work with chapters proactively to make sure that their members have a positive, upbuilding experience for the entirety of their time as a student in Greek life at Sewanee.”
Currently, a concern for Greek life is the small number of male students who have signed up for Spring Rush so far. The most recent figures had only 97 male students compared to 173 female students registered to rush. This is significantly less than the 118 male students who rushed last year, which itself was a drop-off from traditional levels of male involvement in Greek life.
Jackson Harwell (C’22) said he simply didn’t see the point in rushing. “Something I love about the Greek life system here at Sewanee,” he said, “is how open and inclusive it is; you don’t need to rush to be a part of the community.”
He also added that he thinks the drop-off in male interest is because fraternities are becoming less integral to the collegiate experience, especially at small schools like Sewanee.
While rush is not restricted to first-year students, the majority of students going through rush each spring are first-year students.
Nelson-Pinkston encouraged male students to get involved. “Make sure to register for rush before Wednesday, December 19,” he said, “so you can take part in all that joining a fraternity or sorority has to offer!”
“Even if you are just considering rush, you should sign up because it is a great way to meet people and learn what fraternities and sororities are doing around campus,” said Izzy Mulkin (C’19), ISC Vice President of Publicity & Records. “Rush is about finding your place on campus and determining whether or not Greek life is for you.”