By Rego Jaquish and Colin Rice
From January 19-24th students from across campus participated in Rush Week, a process where students interested in joining Greek life meet with all the fraternities or sororities on campus to decide which ones they would like to join. For girls, this meant walking from house to house to meet the sororities. For the boys, some changes were made to the initial formal house visits.
As a response to alleged inappropriate activities at house visits in previous years, all formal house visits were done Sunday and Monday night within Gailor Hall classrooms under the Interfraternity Council’s supervision. Fraternities had thirty minutes allotted to either ask questions of rushees or interact with them in some fashion to build a relationship suitable enough to inspire a return house visit. Each house decorated their allotted room with their symbols and set up activities to help these “house visits” feel as authentic as possible.
When asked about how he felt about this year’s rush experience, former Delta Tau Delta President Jackson Smith (C’20) said, “I think for all of us the big thing we noticed was the moving outside of our houses to Gailor. We thought it was an interesting move, and it definitely affected some of the fraternities a lot more than others. It was kind of out of the blue for all of us, it did seem odd that there was a unilateral punishment for all of us. At the end of the day, I think we and pretty much everyone else, as usual, adapted really well to it.”
President of Lambda Chi Alpha, Nick Govindan (C’21), took the change in his stride: “While we were left disappointed that we couldn’t share what we felt was an integral part of the rush process, showing off our house and our space, we chose to make the best out of an inconvenient position… People seemed to really enjoy themselves, and I thank my brothers for being so patient and willing to adapt.”
Colin Nelson-Pinkston, the head coordinator for fraternity and sorority life at Sewanee, said, “I think [Gailor] was different and I hope it was a one-time thing.”
His sentiments were echoed by Rush Chair Jack Connors (C’20), who said, “I really do hope it’s at the houses next year because the houses offer so much more personality, but at the same time it’s really not up to me. I think ultimately it’s the students who make the decisions, and I think the students need to prove to the university that they can handle being on their own and they can handle being in the houses.”
However, Connors also stated that, “I think it worked really well in the sense that it brought all of the fraternities together in a close-knit space where people could feel a bit more comfortable, and I also believed that that was a place where people could feel like they could participate more because of the classroom setting. I feel like that was really beneficial for all organizations.”
As advice to anyone planning to rush next year, Nelson-Pinkston said, “One thing to think about is why did you stay [at a house]? [My fraternity] just wanted me for me. You need to look past the things you can get anywhere and just at what that fraternity can offer you.”
“When I was a freshman and I was going through rush at first I was intimidated, but going to my first house kind of showed me what the bar was and what it was gonna be like,” Connors said. “The whole process is such a heart-warming time, being able to come together with other people and different organizations that you would normally never find yourself with.”