Spring Rush 2017: FSU Sororities Welcome Pledge Class

Courtesy: FSU Panhellenic

 

It's January in the Oglesby Union Ballrooms at Florida State, where an information fair setup has been created. Fraternities and sororities alike have set up tables with informational flyers, tri-folds that show photos of smiling people at various past philanthropic events/date functions, rush chairs and new member recruiters readily awaiting a fresh batch of eager, hopeful pledges. This is the spring rush general information session, affectionately called Winterfest.

The atmosphere is way more relaxed and casual. Girls weave from table to table and have enthusiastic conversations with the recruitment chairs at each sorority (that has a table set up). Most hopefuls are coming from their midday classes and their leisurely outfits reflect an air of no-pressure casualness. The crushing sense of pressure often associated with sorority rush is nowhere to be found as one-on-one conversations occur in such a relaxed manner. After jotting down your contact information on a form at the sororities that you get to choose (Please note: you should only fill in forms of those you’e truly interested in; not all 13 you know less and less about as the list progresses). The recruitment chairs will invite you back to their house at a later date to begin the process of rushing. Some girls get a bid on their first night of rush, while others get one in the middle or the end of the week and a handful have to be turned away.

However, flash backward a semester where it’s 85 degrees out. A late August afternoon sun beats down on Jefferson Street. The sidewalks are crammed with girls in towering heels, battling the unforgiving Tallahassee hills, wearing carefully selected dresses, neatly styled hair. All the while, the hum of battery-operated fans can be heard as they all try to keep their makeup in place. This is what Fall sorority Rush Week looks like at FSU.

For six days, girls go from house to house, presenting the most genuine, best overall versions of themselves, in the hopes of getting a bid from the house they best fit in with. Conversations with recruitment chairs can go really well, or really poorly. Girls often go in with houses in mind as to where they want to end up, and by the time Pref Day (sorority preference day) rolls around, that original desire may no longer be within their reach. The rigorous schedules for each day are doled out to the girls by their Rho Gammas, or girls from varying sororities who hide their affiliation for Rush Week in order to successfully guide the groups of hopefuls through the process of Rush without swaying their preferences in the process. No matter what your preferences may be, the rules are strict and firm in that each girl must attend rush at each house on campus. If she misses a house or is late to her meeting, she can and will be dropped from the program without any hesitation.

It’s easy to see that the difference between Fall and Spring rush is night and day.

Courtesy: Her Campus

 

“A lot of the questions start very standard: ‘What’s your name? Where are you from? What are your hobbies?’ They basically ask you for a personal essay in under ten seconds, before one of their sisters comes in and takes over for the rest of the conversation. It can start to feel somewhat rehearsed after you go through the same process at multiple houses,” says freshman Paulina Ostrowski, a Delta Zeta sister who rushed in the Fall of 2016. When asked if she were to do it all over again and choose between Fall rush or Spring rush, Paulina says, “That’s the thing. Even for Fall rush, any little slip in what you say, can get you dropped you right then and there; so you don’t know if you’d end up there. Spring is the same way, it’s just much more relaxed. I don’t know which one I’d choose. I definitely think Fall was worth the process, though. You learn more about yourself and the people you want to surround yourself with. You learn how to present yourself, even in uncomfortable situations - like the insane heat and trying to make a connection with a total stranger. However, you’re also forced to go to all the houses, so even if you have preconceived notions about certain houses, that all could change once you talk to the girls there. With Spring rush, it’s all up to you and the select number of houses that are actually taking girls.”

Sophomore Meg Croney-Clark of Kappa Kappa Gamma also rushed in the Fall of 2016, and says that her experience progressed from stressful to a more at-ease and relaxed experience. “It was easy to tell where I fit in by the end of the week, because I had gotten to speak to a wider variety of women in the houses by then and had gotten to know what they valued at each of the houses. I think fall gave me more time to make my decision and I got a better feel of where my home was.”

For some, Spring rush is also an opportunity to get a bid from a sorority that may have dropped them when they rushed in the Fall. Sophomore Morgan Nixon says of her experiences, “I wanted to rush again in the Spring because I feel like I didn’t really get to experience what a sisterhood had to offer in the short period of time that I talked to the girls in the Fall. I dropped the Thursday of Fall rush because the chapters I had left to rush were ones I just couldn’t really see myself being a part of. It wasn’t going to be the right fit for me. I preferred my experience in the Spring because I got to experience that genuine conversation I was looking for from the start! Spring rush really allowed me to find my ‘people’.” Morgan is now a member of the Delta Zeta pledge class of Spring 2017.

It’s safe to say that no matter which semester you decide to rush, there’s always going to be a place where you’ll find your niche among like-minded girls with similar personalities, values and goals. While many will view sororities as the stereotypical party girls who like to spend daddy’s money and don’t value much that’s skin deep, that’s simply not the case. Sororities are life-long sisterhoods that begin and end with the simple concept of women empowering women, lifting one another up and forming a network of like-minded individuals who celebrate their individual strengths and uniqueness. No matter which semester you rush in, you’re more than likely to find a home that’s truly the best fit for you. Welcome to the sisterhood, Spring 2017 recruits!