Spring semester is infamous for lacking the magic, energy and excitement that pervades the Fall semester atmosphere. The football games, the start of a new school year and the general feeling of a new beginning all contributed to an exciting and fun semester. However, despite lacking the excitement of a new school year, the spring semester still has a vast array of key social events. The earliest and most important of these is the spring fraternity rush.
The spring fraternity rush, like the one in the fall, is one of the biggest contributing factor to Greek life at Tech. It’s a time for fraternities to meet new people and possibly even recruit some of them as their own. Unlike the Fall Rush, Spring Rush is much more low-key and participated in mostly by fraternities.
Fraternities are social organizations meant to foster connection and brotherhood amongst individuals. Students join them for a myriad of reasons, ranging from future networking opportunities and academic help to simply wanting an enjoyable experience throughout college.
The recruitment process at most fraternities is relaxed and casual. Interested students are welcome to walk into nearly any fraternity and meet its brothers. If the brothers and the rushee are mutually interested in each other, the rushee returns on the later days and also participates in other activities outside of rush.
For many fraternities, the primary goal of rush week is to simply have a great time and to meet new people. Neil Desai, a second year CMPE and a brother at the Delta Upsilon fraternity (DU), says “Even if a person isn’t interested, it’s still a great way to meet new people.” Most fraternities do a different activity each day during the week ranging from barbecues and poker nights to fiestas and wings nights or even a mixed martial arts fight.
The fraternities primarily look for character in new members. “We typically look for high-quality guys, people we can hang out. We also look for people with talents, such as in sports,” said Desai.
Nearly all fraternity houses watch out for social people who can fit in well with its current members. If a person is well-liked and shows potential, the house will extend him a bid to join them. Since bids can be deferred for up to a year at many houses, students can still benefit from the spring rush even if they have no intention of immediately joining.
However, a student who accepts the bid embarks on the next period before initiation: the pledgeship. It is around this time that the pledge becomes further educated on the values of the fraternity and gets to know the current brothers on a personal level. For freshmen, this is a particularly effective way to become acclimated both socially and academically at Tech.
Some fraternities have also adopted a point system to help gauge the pledge’s progress in the fraternity, allowing the pledge to earn points by helping other brothers or cleaning up the house. At the same time, many fraternities also include secret practices, to be known only amongst other brothers in the group.
DU, for example, has an eight-week pledge process. Desai says that “pledges bond with the brothers and better understand the fraternity’s four values [the diffusion of liberal culture, promotion of friendship, advancement of justice, and development of character]. Unlike some other fraternities, DU is completely non-sectarian, non-secretive about its practices, and is strongly against hazing.”
A key element in their pledge process is a paddle that is to be signed by all members who support the pledge’s initiation. This paddle is designed by the pledge with help from his older brother/mentor. The process also involves themed weeks, such as scholarship weeks and philanthropy weeks. All this allows pledges, especially if they’re new pledges, to have an easier, more enjoyable experience at Tech.
Spring rush week, while it may lack the buzz and energy of fall rush, is still an effective way to join a fraternity, especially if one is accustomed to a low-key atmosphere. It’s a relaxed environment where some of the most loosely-interested people can still meet new people and have a good time. Even if one doesn’t plan on joining immediately, the ability to defer bids still makes this a lucrative opportunity.