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Unlike many universities across the country, Northwestern hosts sorority recruitment in the winter. Hundreds of potential new members trudge through the snow to and from each of our twelve chapters. Some may have an exact idea of what house they wish to join, while others have no concept of what to expect from each sorority they visit. Being able to view rush as an “insider” for the second year in a row, I have a thorough understanding of the process from different perspectives. This year I thought I would share some of what I have learned and impart advice to any future women who are thinking about participating in Panhellenic recruitment at Northwestern as either a potential new member or an active in a chapter.

First of all, this is a very time-consuming and tiring process. I believe that throughout our Thursday to Monday recruitment period I got about 20 hours of sleep whereas during any regular week I would try to get 36 to 40 hours. By Tuesday, I was absolutely exhausted and barely able to make it through the first two hours of Bid Night. Recooperation remains key whether that means taking extra naps between classes (me) or postponing non-Greek social events (also me). Your mental and physical health come first, so sleep, vitamin C, and deep breathing should all exist as top priorities before, during, and after rush.

If you know you will spend a solid portion of recruitment outside, dress appropriately. Northwestern gets very cold in the winter, and it even snowed all day on the Saturday of recruitment this year. There were many girls I saw come in and out of my sorority house who looked very cute in their camisoles or strapless crop tops under their coats, but they were absolutely shivering the entire time. Plan ahead on your outfits. You do not need to look the fanciest or where the most expensive labels, but keep in mind that you will be bracing yourself against the elements each day of rush.

For girls already in a chapter, recruitment can be a make-or-break time for friendships and some drama may occur. I like rush because I feel like it brings my sorority together, and I have the opportunity to talk to girls in my chapter that I probably would not have spoken to as much otherwise. That being said, emotions are high and everyone is tired, and the combination of these two factors can lead to much nastiness inside of a house. Try your best to see situations from multiple views and keep a positive attitude as much as possible. We are all in this together and are ultimately just trying to make our chapters exciting, happy places for new members. 

The Greek system is problematic. There, I said it. Despite being an active member of a chapter at Northwestern myself, I do recognize how historically exclusive Greek life has been financially, racially, and socially for many people. Embrace a 2019 attitude and encourage your chapter to be accepting of all people and not dismiss a potential new member because of what brand of jacket she owns or what she studies. I believe that the more diverse a chapter is, the more interesting it becomes as people with little in common can turn into lifelong friends. All in all, there is much more progress that needs to be made within the Greek community, but the efforts we make during rush can transform the recruitment process into a fair and healthy system that can make everyone proud to be a part of it. 


Laurel Wholihan

Northwestern '20

Northwestern Contributor 2020
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