When I think of fraternities I think of my favorite movie of all time: Animal House. Here’s one thing I’m not: anything like anyone in Animal House. I thought that the Greeks would be wild and that I, as a socially awkward man-child, would never fit in.
My decision to rush came from playing frisbee. I wanted to find more guys at Kenyon who were as cool and fun as those on the frisbee team — so I decided that I wanted to go Greek.
I knew going in that I wanted to rush Phi Kappa Tau. However, I also wanted to go to a rush event every night, so I was looking for another fraternity to rush. I settled on Alpha Delta Phi (AD) because I crashed their formal and found that they were kind people.
It would take too long to describe things event-by-event, so I’ll just give you the juicy bits. Rushing Phi Tau was exactly what I expected, but in a good way. I expected to hang out with some well-intentioned, chill guys and I got that. Their events didn’t have the structure that other fraternities’ seemed to have. Other fraternities had bowling, or wing night or their exclusive “we want you to pledge” steak dinner. The Phi Taus had events that were just about getting to know the Phi Taus. At the Milkshake Mixer, I drank a Trix cereal and strawberry Pop-Tart milkshake and talked. At Mocktails, I drank soda and talked. At Story Time, I just talked. If this sounds boring, I assure you, it wasn’t. I loved getting to know the Phi Taus and hearing about their journey to becoming a frat and why they are called the “chosen ones.”
My experience rushing ADs was wildly different but it was also one of the greatest times I’ve had at Kenyon so far. I was far more anxious when I was rushing ADs because I didn’t know any of them. I wasn’t on their radar. I walked in awkwardly on Tuesday for bowling but my fears were quickly alleviated. They quickly made me feel comfortable and eating a ton of pizza with them in their lounge is still one of the highlights of my rush week. At wing night, I met more ADs and I started to think that maybe my rush experience wasn’t so black and white after all. At the much-anticipated car smash, I took a few hits with a sledgehammer and managed to smash my finger but the ADs quickly patched me up and sent me on my way. For some reason they invited me to their steak dinner, but steak isn’t exactly the right word for what I ate. I don’t think there is a word in the English language for it — it was that good. My time with the ADs ended with a rousing speech by one of their alumni and their president. Afterwards, I knew my decision was not going to be easy to make.
Rush week was amazing, plain and simple. I met some great guys and was given a lot of free food. I did make some mistakes, though. I was so preoccupied with trying to make fraternities like me that I didn’t experience all that Greek life had to offer. I only went to two frats’ events. I still don’t know anything about the Delts [Delta Tau Delta], the Phi Kaps [Phi Kappa Sigma] or DPhis [Delta Phi]. If future generations of rushees read this: experience everything rush week has to offer.
Ever since I watched the movie Legally Blonde, the idea of joining a sorority has intrigued me. Elle Woods aside, the media often portray Greek life in a negative light. Yet when my older sister and cousin pledged sororities at their respective colleges, they spoke highly of sisterhood. Hearing firsthand about their positive Greek life experiences sealed the deal; I, too, would rush.
Rush week was stressful, as I had to balance homework, play rehearsals and rush events with other commitments. I gravitated toward Zeta [Zeta Alpha Pi] and Theta [Theta Delta Phi], as I was more familiar with the girls in those sororities. However, I wish I could have attended events hosted by all of the sororities, and I definitely would advise future first years to consider multiple organizations rather than just one.
When first years ponder the age-old question, “To rush or not to rush?,” a great incentive for the former is the free food — and I was not disappointed. The Thetas enticed rushees with chocolate — both milk and white — fondue fountains. Five minutes in, of course, I managed to spill chocolate on myself. At the other end of the hall, the Zetas served cupcakes and soda in the Beta lounge. At the meet and greet, I met many girls from both sororities and was also able to see which other first years were rushing. Although intimidating and awkward at times, the meet and greet helped me assess which girls I felt more comfortable around.
Nothing brings strangers together like a game of Cards Against Humanity. At Board Game Night, hosted by the Thetas in their division, we ate chocolate and played board games. Since the event was centered around an activity, the conversations felt more natural and I was able to connect more with the girls. The downside was I felt like I was competing for attention with the other first years, an unfortunate aspect of rush week.
At Spa Night, hosted by the Zetas, we made lotion, painted our nails and decorated cookies. This was one of my favorite events, but I know that it would not appeal to every girl. By this point in the week, I was familiar with many of the girls, and I increasingly realized that I felt more at ease around the Zetas and my fellow rushees. This is when I decided to focus my energy on this sorority.
This was definitely my highlight of the week. I was invited to go out to dinner and laser tag in Columbus with the Zetas. We built our own stir-fry at Genghis Grill, followed by laser tag. Even though I came in last place during the first game, it was great to interact with the girls in a more fun and relaxed setting.
Rush week often felt like I was in the first week of college all over again. In an effort to make small talk, I politely answered the classic questions, “Where are you from?” and “What classes are you taking?” and the daunting, “Why did you decide to rush?” However, rush week also gave me a glimpse of the meaning behind sisterhood. At the Zetas’ final dinner on Sunday, girls shared stories about why they rushed and what sisterhood meant to them. I was touched by the stories they shared, and hopefully one day I will be able to share my own.
[starbox id=”Griffin Burrough,MayaLowenstein”]