To Rush or Not To Rush

There comes a time in every Colgate student’s life when he must ask himself, “to rush, or not to rush.” And for sophomores, that time is now. Though this is not a matter of life or death, students make it seem pretty damn close. Before catching up with someone you haven’t spoken to all summer, you impulsively ask if he is rushing (I am no exception); it is as prevalent as the “sup, nm u” AIM conversations of middle school.

Every sophomore student will tediously deliberate over whether or not to partake in Greek life.

What are my friends going to do? Do I really want to go through pledging? Will my academics suffer? This internal struggle is perfectly illustrative of the college experience – learning how to make tough decisions by looking to no one else but yourself for guidance. At least, that’s how it should be.

Based on my experience thus far as a sophomore at Colgate, I can’t say that I was able to ask myself “to rush, or not to rush”; this decision, unfortunately, was made for me by the Colgate Greek system. Most of my really good friends have already received bids from one of the fraternities on campus, a week before rush is supposed to officially begin: this is referred to as “dirty rush”.

Anticipating becoming members of this fraternity, they have been seizing every opportunity to hang out there. And I don’t blame them – they get free beer, a place to party without having to worry about Campo and the allure of a Colgate frat house. On two occasions when I accompanied them to this fraternity, however, I was forced to leave; I was told, “We already have who we want.”

And that was it; my decision had been made before Rush Week even commenced. I’m not saying that, had I chosen to rush, I would have received a bid, but I didn’t even get a chance to put myself out there. I didn’t get to experience the prospect of joining the same fraternity as some of my closest friends. Isn’t that supposed to be the point of Rush Week?

Rush Week at Colgate paradoxically begins your first year when first-year guys are barely allowed into fraternities. So how is this possible? It’s possible because fraternity recruitment is not based on genuine impressions of people; it is based on who you know.

And for most first-years, knowing someone isn’t really a problem – practically everyone on this campus is from the East Coast, specifically Connecticut.

As I am from Chicago, however, I knew literally no one coming to Colgate; so, right off the bat, I was at a clear disadvantage in terms of Greek life.

While I could have relentlessly tried to advocate for myself with the different fraternities, it really wasn’t high on my priority list as a first-year.

I was concerned about acclimating to a completely foreign environment and establishing friendships with people who were in my grade (as I’m sure most other people in my situation were). I also had no idea how large a role Greek life played in the social life at Colgate; whoever tells you otherwise is completely naive.

This problem needs to be addressed by the Colgate community, and I feel I have a plausible solution. Instead of Rush happening sophomore year, let it occur during spring of the first year.

For one, incoming students will have an entire semester to adjust to college life and equal opportunity to meet members of different fraternities on campus. Secondly, at this point in a Colgate student’s college career, friendships aren’t set in stone, eliminating the prospect of Greek life separating close buddies.

Furthermore, making the decision as to whether to join a frat will allow first-years to take in what it truly is to be a college student.

It is important for first-years to have some understanding of the college experience so that they don’t shy away from the tough choices that will inevitably arise throughout four years at Colgate.

Finally, first-year Rush will make the statement to potential students that Greek life is a big deal here; there won’t be any misconception on the integral role fraternities play in the social life at Colgate.

That is how it occurs at every university nationwide. I really don’t see a downside to having Rush during spring semester of the first year, it’s an idea the Colgate community should seriously consider. Every student should be able to ask him/herself “to rush or not to rush.”