Sophomores Rush In



Andrew Wickerham

Sophomores party-hopping for days on end, bashed-in cars on Broad Street lawns and a non-existent line at the Old Stone Jug all signaled the return this week of the fall classic of Greek life at Colgate: Rush Week.

The jumping-off point for Greek-minded members of the Class of 2009, this year’s recruitment week came bundled with a new twist for some, yet was an overall success, drawing impressive numbers of both men and women into the Greek fold.

Two information sessions-one on September 10 for fraternities, the other on September 13 for sororities-occurred during the week. After these initial meetings, the similarities ended between the men’s program and the women’s.

The 217 male recruits were invited to roam from house to house with groups of friends on September 10 through 13. The open houses, each lasting two hours, offered recruits a chance to meet current brothers and get a feel for each house while participating in various events, ranging from barbeques to the infamous Phi Delta Theta “Bash the Buick.”

“There’s a difference in the way guys socialize,” senior President of the Inter-Fraternity Council Jake Seip said, referring to the open schedule at the fraternities. “Our process is much more relaxed, and no events are mandatory” he said.

On Wednesday night, an invitation-only “Smokescreen Night” was held.

“The invitations gave recruits an opportunity to see where they’d done their work-where they were known-and what other options they might need to explore,” Seip said.

The evening, a new addition to the IFC’s Rush program, grew out of a desire to enforce a 1991 University resolution that mandated a guaranteed bid process, Seip explained.

This night was followed up by another night of open houses on Thursday, September 15, before house bids were delivered to recruits the next afternoon.

The differences Seip alluded to were evidenced by the comparatively rigid schedule offered to sorority recruits.

After the initial information session, the women were divided into 17 recruitment groups, each of which was assigned to a recruitment counselor, whose job it was to help ease recruits though the process.

For four days beginning on September 15, 219 sorority recruits traveled from house to house to house in their recruitment groups. Each of the first three nights was themed-Chatting, Sisterhood, Philanthropy-with each house leading a specific activity each night.

These nights all led up to Sunday, referred to as “Pref Night” or “Preference Night,” when recruits declared their first choice in houses.

“We use a mutual selection process,” junior President of the Pan-Hellenic League Sara Duffy said. “We make sure each bid is a joint match [between house and recruit].”

Recruits, both men and women, seemed to enjoy the process, regardless of differences in the schedule.

“The nicest part of Rush was that, no matter which house we went to, my friends and I felt welcomed, as if we couldn’t make a ‘wrong’ choice,” sophomore Ann Redpath said.

“The best part was receiving my bid to Phi Delta Theta. It was really rewarding to know that the people in the house liked you just as you liked them,” sophomore Michael Magee said.

The overwhelming interest in Rush Week was welcome news to new Assistant Dean of Student Affairs & Director of Greek Letter Operations Tim Mansfield.

“To have over 200 men and 200 women [rush] suggests a clear interest in Greek Life at Colgate,” Mansfield said. “That said, there are bound to be some people disappointed, so I’m coping with that now,” he added, explaining that every effort was made to accommodate those who didn’t get bids.

Despite these few hiccups, the general sentiment is that Rush Week 2006 went splendidly.

“I think it went extremely well this year,” Duffy said.