Greek Life 101: rush season and requirements

DeShawn Clay

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Here’s a scenario: you’re walking down Village Square and you spot a bunch of posters from various fraternities and sororities. Each poster has a themed design limited to two or three colors with an eye-catching “RUSH” in the middle of the page, along with a detailed schedule of upcoming events. You might be wondering to yourself, “What is this ‘Rush’ thing (about)?” Hopefully, I can provide some answers about the subject and leave with all of you well-informed on the rush seasons.

But first, a crash course on Greek Life around NEIU. There are 13 Greek organizations – eight sororities, three fraternities and two co-ed – these are inclusive of any NEIU student, regardless of age or ethnic background. Although there are other focuses, most fraternities/sororities here usually follow one of two main focuses: pre-professional (supporting fellow “brothers/sisters” of the Greek organization in professional matters: how to respond to questions for an interview, how to build a resumé, etc.) and social/service (creating projects to give back to the community). All of our organizations benefit the members by establishing friendly bonds and other social connections, as well as academic excellence and philanthropic value throughout their experiences. Lastly, all of our Greek organizations are against hazing, or various trials of mind games, excessive alcohol consumption, paddling and overall embarrassment to initiate members. 

Now knowing all that we can dive into “rush season” and organization requirements.  A “rush,” in this context, is a series of events administered by a certain fraternity or sorority as a way to introduce the members to the students interested in joining and for members to scope out possible students to recruit, based on one’s enthusiasm. These rushes usually last for a week or so, filled with events like movie nights, bake sales, informational tabling, etc., with some Greek organizations having an invite-only event saved for the last day of a rush week. It’s common for most Greek organizations to start Rush Week around September for the fall semester and January for the spring semester, so expect to see an assortment of Rush posters throughout the campus around that time. 

But while you think about joining any fraternity or sorority you see on the campus, be sure to be prepared for what most of them expect of you:

  • Commitment. If you do decide to join a fraternity or a sorority, you will be expected to dedicate time to them for future meetings, ceremonies, projects, etc., so don’t get involved in Greek life if you aren’t able to manage your time well, or if you have a packed schedule that might get in the way of your education. Education comes first.

  • Money. Eventually, when participating in a fraternity or sorority, you will have to pitch in financially, whether it’s for a major project, a party or for your jacket or for other types of clothing. Remember, you’re not just giving back to your community, you’re also giving back to the chapters who support your fraternity or sorority for them to continue fulfilling their duties for years to come.

  • Academic Status. While certain organizations allow freshmen to join in their first semester, most of them usually prefer students from their second semester of their freshman year onwards since they have a reported grade point average on their transcript. But even with that, you will still need to maintain a minimum 2.5 GPA minimum to get involved in Greek life, although some organizations allow students with lower or higher figures than the standard requirements.
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