By Hannah Lee Leidy
I hate to say it, but I didn’t know when Kenyon’s Rush was until about two days ago. I don’t think I’m unobservant or clueless, though. Unlike other colleges and universities, Kenyon tends to keep the information available about Greek life to a minimum, which some students may prefer. But it can keep others in the dark.
From what I’ve heard some Kenyon students say, they don’t want to partake in Greek life because of the mainstream definition of what the Greek system embodies: exclusivity, partying, hazing traditions and paying lots of money for it. We’ve all seen Animal House and heard about wild frat parties from our friends at other colleges, which helps contribute to our image of Greek life and Rush Week. However, I’m not sure how much I know about Greek life that is actually unique to Kenyon.
Sure, we know different Kenyon fraternities and sororities from signature events, like Archons’ late-night pancakes or Alpha Delta Phi’s breakfast burritos, and, of course, some killer parties different groups take turns hosting. Beyond that, though, I can’t say what I really know about them.
I could rush, which would provide me with more knowledge about Kenyon’s sororities and fraternities. Yet with a busy schedule, between classes and other extracurricular activities, why should I take precious time to participate for an entire week in something I’m not sure I’m interested in?
A simple solution to enlighten first years and benefit Kenyon’s sororities and fraternities would be to self-advertise more, whether through email or on-campus activities. While writing this article, I filtered through my Kenyon Gmail account to compare the emails between Crozier and anything pertaining to Greek life. The vast difference between the number of emails sent from the two made it apparent why I know so much about Crozier and so little about Greek life, even though I haven’t attended a meeting for either.
Show students why they should want to be a part of that fraternity or sorority. Don’t just bring them pancakes — bring them information, too.
Back in October, Thetas hosted pumpkin-painting and snacks on the First-Year Quad for anyone who wanted a little autumnal fun and to learn about their sorority. This self-advertising created an entertaining and engaging way for students, especially first years, to learn about Greek life.
Making the decision to rush and, particularly, to join a Greek organization can be major. I’ve heard accounts of people who joined a sorority or fraternity and decided that it was not the right fit for them, but who had already paid their dues. The more people know going into a decision, the better prepared they are to make the right one.
Opening up the information and advertising Kenyon’s Greek system more could spark interest in people who previously had none or give them a different outlook on the institution. It would benefit everyone for Greek organizations to explicitly initiate, advertise and remind, remind, remind people about Greek activities or information sessions available for potential members.
Hannah Lee Leidy ’18 is undeclared from Elizabeth City, N.C. She can be reached at email@example.com.