Ever wonder what goes on behind the scenes? Here’s your backstage access to what fraternities do to prepare for #2 Rush. While most outsiders consider a group of fraternity guys to be lackluster in their preparation skills, the truth is quite the opposite.
Right around the time when the newest pledge class is initiated (sigh), the brotherhood kicks back into their bi-annual dick-sucking mode. The best tool that each fraternity has to attract the newest crop of guys is their youngest pledge class. You don’t send in a group of bitter, old seniors to recruit the giddy freshman. Your rookies are your most valuable assets. As soon as the new guys are initiated, the brotherhood begins again with the manhunt for #49 Future Frat-Stars. In the current case, Fall guys are on the hunt for those select few guys that decided to post-pone pledging for whatever reason. Sometimes parents want their kids to wait a semester, while others still aren’t sold on the idea of joining a fraternity. Either way, from November to mid-January, the brotherhood lures their new crop of potential pledges into the Greek system. The responsibility falls mainly on the youngest guys, as they’re most in-touch with the rushees.
So, how do they do it? The best fraternities broaden their search, and use all resources at their disposal. To start, each pledge class has their group of guys from whatever town they’re from. If you go to a big state school, your feeder cities are pretty clear. Every brother is responsible for knowing what guys are coming to their college from their hometown high school. Rush isn’t brain surgery, young guys like to go where they’re comfortable. The biggest rush tool involves knowing younger guys from feeder high schools. Some over-achieving fraternities go to the extent of sending out mailers to graduating seniors in high school. Others purchase billboards on the main highway of the state.
By the time rush begins, the crop of potential guys is usually already narrowed-down. Yet, there’s always a solid group of new guys who show up at the door during the week. Depending on the size of the school and the sophistication of the ruling Greek body, rush systems are in place to allow fraternities to keep track of who comes by the house each night during rush. Yet, there’s no greater tool than Facebook. Just as seniors in high school are deleting their Facebook during college application season (and college seniors are doing the same when searching for a job), rushees need to be smart with their Facebook. This is the single greatest tool that fraternities use to determine whether or not a kid gets a bid. That one truly embarrassing photo could be the difference, and you’d never know it.
#61 Brotherhood Communication is crucial at this stage of the game. Powerpoints, excel files and the like are sent out over the list-serve keeping the brotherhood appraised of who the key prospects are. In addition, a surprising number of recommendations start flooding the scene. Alumni of the chapter, important people in the state, etc. start sending letters supporting a potential pledge. Remember, in most cases, the rushee wants the fraternity more than the fraternity wants the rushee. It’s an ego thing. Yet, when a hefty donor writes a letter in support of a nerd, the brotherhood doesn’t have much choice in welcoming in the awkward fellow with open arms.
During rush week (and beforehand when brothers are researching), the brotherhood will use sorority girls to gauge the interest of a rushee, and to see if he can handle himself around the ladies. One of the biggest mistakes a rushee makes (other than getting too drunk at a party), is confessing his beliefs to the first decent-looking girl who starts talking to him. In most cases, that girl is a girlfriend of a brother who is doing the brotherhood a favor. More times than you’d think, a rushee is just using a fraternity for free food/liquor during rush, confessing his motive to “mooch” off of this fraternity during rush to the first slampiece he starts talking to while slightly drunk. Let’s just say he usually doesn’t last long at that party. With spring right around the corner, it’s a #37 New Year, New Semester, New Pledge Class. Cheers to keeping the dream alive.
It’s not hazing. It’s brotherhood.