You’ve probably heard your sorority and fraternity friends gush about Greek life. You’ve probably also heard people swear they’d never Go Greek, no matter how many times they’re invited to rush week events on Facebook.
Fall 2013 rush and recruitment began Sept. 23 and is ongoing during the first two weeks of October. If you’re curious about joining a fraternity or sorority but are having trouble taking the first step, you’re not alone. To provide some clarity and enticement, three members of the UC Davis Greek community offer rush and recruitment advice, discuss ideal times to rush, and use their personal Greek experiences to disprove intimidating stereotypes.
“Use the multiple days of the week to check out more than one organization to get a feel for what each one is like,” said Tyler Benson, a fourth-year economics major and president of Alpha Sigma Chi. “If you explore all of your options, you’re more likely to find a good fit.”
Alexandra Richomme, a fourth-year neurobiology, physiology and behavior major and Alpha Chi Omega sister, agreed, stating that though she was unsure about joining a sorority in the beginning, the experience was well worth it in the end.
Benson also said that Greek life offers social and professional benefits.
“You can attend a lot of events that may be exclusive to members of Greek life,” Benson said. “You meet a lot of cool people and make lots of friends.”
The connections Benson made through his fraternity have helped him begin building his career as well.
“There is a national base of people that are involved in the chapter. I went to a fraternity event and met two alumni who said that they would at the very least set up job interviews with me once I graduated, because of the [Greek] connection,” Benson said.
Richomme reported a similar experience, stating that being part of her sorority has opened up a world of opportunity.
“We have an alumni page on Facebook, and that way there is always someone to reach out to, whether you need a job or somewhere to stay,” Richomme said. “I know someone who got a job through our sorority’s networking.”
Going Greek is not a decision that you have to make when you first start at UC Davis. Richomme did not join Alpha Chi Omega until she was a second-year student, and doesn’t regret it at all.
“[I think that] it would be more stressful to join as a freshman, because you’re already going through so many changes,” Richomme said. “I also think that it’s important to have friends other than sorority friends, and to have other things going on in your life.”
Unlike Richomme, Benson doesn’t see any reason not to “Go Greek” your first year at UC Davis. Benson didn’t join Alpha Sigma Chi until he was a third-year, and wishes that he had a full four years in the organization.
Both agree, however, that there is a lot more to Greek life than the stereotypical scene that college movies show.
“We have philanthropy events for groups that we support as well,” Richomme said. “Alpha Chi Omega supports victims of domestic violence as our main philanthropy.”
Benson made a point to counter any negative assumptions about hazing as well, stating that Alpha Sigma Chi is a strictly no-hazing fraternity.
“We’re here to be [new members’] friends. As soon as they are offered bids, they’re treated like brothers,” Benson said.
Fourth-year animal science and management major and former Alpha Sigma Phi social director Samuel Sabo agreed that hazing isn’t common at UC Davis.
“In other schools and across the country, hazing can get really out of control,” Sabo said. “We have a no hazing policy at our fraternity. Hazing to any extent is a really big deal [to us].”
Sabo had a unique experience going Greek. He joined Alpha Sigma Phi during Spring Quarter of his freshman year, after a friend was contacted by the national headquarters and asked if he would be willing to start an Alpha Sigma Phi chapter at UC Davis.
Once he decided to join, Sabo and his friends used the opportunity to turn the UC Davis chapter of Alpha Sigma Phi into exactly what they wanted — a big group of people to be there for each other.
“We wanted to create a fraternity that wasn’t just people drinking, and that wasn’t super ‘bro,’” Sabo said. “It’s a great support system. You’re part of an organization with people that care about you and everyone else in the fraternity.”
As for recruitment, Alpha Sigma Phi goes beyond partying in order to allow pledges to really get a feel for the fraternity.
“We do glow-in-the-dark ultimate frisbee and other activities, lots of talking and a lot of personal involvement,” Sabo said. “We highly encourage you to talk to every single person.”
One of Sabo’s favorite memories from Greek life is when a group of brothers went to cheer up a member who had recently gone through a breakup.
“We went to his house and sang him our fraternity songs for 20 minutes, then hung out with him because we knew he was upset,” Sabo said.
TAYLOR CUNNINGHAM can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. XXX