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Wake’s Unsung Heroes: Pledge Drivers

Chances are the vast majority of Wake Forest students have been driven by a pledge driver at some point or another.

More often than not, we ride-bummers have no idea who is toting us around, and where we’re even going. Usually, we just like seeing Pledge Whomever drive up and throw us in his car. We could care less about who he is as long as he gets us from Point A to Point B sans A.L.E.

Sometimes, we call our friends to come get us. Sometimes, we drop back down to freshmen orientation status and loiter on street corners trying to get rides from random lounges. Regardless, all we really want to do is get to the party ASAP, no matter who it is that gets us there.

All frat boys spend at least a semester driving during pledgehood. And by driving, that means toting people back and forth from campus from anywhere between 8 and 10 at night until somewhere into the hazy morning hours, which could be 3 a.m…or something atrocious like sunrise circa 6:30 a.m.

All drivers have stories – from their being macked on by sloppy freshies to getting vom all in their cars to putting up with fuming belligerents in the back seat. But most of the time, the nights run together, inebriation becomes the norm, and Cookout is inevitable by the end of the night. So here’s to the unsung soldier: the pledge driver – for putting up with us semester after semester.

Wishing to remain anonymous, a former fall pledge (and thus, fall semester driver) agreed to let HC in on what really happens after countless nights of driving over 70 miles of the same back-and-forth from “the house” over and over again.

Let’s start at the true blue beginning: freshmen orientation. The most common phrase? “Hands down, the thing I heard the most is, ‘Where are we going?’ or ‘What frat was I just at?’” says HC’s insider Pledge Driver (PD).

From then on, the mobbing always happened outside the frat lounge. On any given night during peak hours, a driver can expect to find around 50 people waiting at the lounge for a ride.

“I’ve had people try to stop my car, cram into my car – one of my friends tried to pack 15 or 16 into an SUV. Campus police definitely pulled him over on campus. All that happened though is that they all had to get out of the car and just walk back wherever.”

People have vommed in his car, frosh boys that think they’re too-cool-for-school have swung some punches, and he’s been shamelessly hit on too many times (cue the “I’ve heard sooo many good things about so-and-so fraternity” line). But he got the last word when some brooding football players loaded into his back seat and sat there – totally silent. So PD asked the usual ‘so how was the party question,’ only to have the ringleader spat back “that party totally sucked.” Commence round 2 of silence. Coolly, PD responded with a calmed “did it suck as bad as your playing today?” Ouch.

Besides that, he’s had to wrangle sorority girls to please be quiet when waiting for rides, block the girls from trying to make a fruitless dash from the house (really, where do you think you’re going?), and even chase a girl in head-to-toe frat jock jamz gear allthe way to University so that she didn’t drunkenly sprint into the Winston ghetto. Super bad idea.

“You just can’t run down the side of a main road. Can. Not. Happen.”

Then there are the plainly rude passengers that always ask to be taken to other frat houses, lounges, or parties. Lesson: do not ask someone to take you to another fraternity. It’s offensive. That should be common sense. PD cleared the myth and confirmed that yes, frat boys (in all fraternities) drop those super annoying kiddos (that are oftentimes trash-talking the pledge’s frat) at random houses near campus, just to put them in their place. Moral? Questionable. Sweet revenge for a tired pledge? Absolutely.

He’s unknowingly chauffeured high school sophomores, kindly escorted blackout teens back to Babcock, and has become friendly with the campus gate guards. Overall, “I think driving is hilarious,” says PD. “Sure, it sucks, but you get to meet some real characters.”

After all, he’s served his time, and he’s now a free man, a.k.a. a full-fledged brother. The best part about no longer driving? Getting toted around by the new class of pledgies, as evidenced by PD “chundering out the window on the way home from beach weekend.”  He adds: “A new guy was driving. It was the best.”

Kelsey Garvey is a junior English major at Wake Forest University. Her upbringing in Connecticut, otherwise known as country club land, inspired her to write in order to escape and locate something more. Writing has also acted as her outlet to dabble in subjects far beyond her my intellectual capacity: art, culture, design, fashion, photography, and music. Other than reading Vogue and Vanity Fair cover-to-cover, Kelsey enjoys frequenting the blogosphere, speaking franglais in daily conversation, and laughing at her own pathetic jokes. Feel free to email her with any questions or comments.
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