Sorority vs. Fraternity recruitment experience: Is one stricter than the other?

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Last Tuesday, Puget Sound sororities and fraternities welcomed new members, marking the culmination of a week-long recruitment process. Referred to by many simply as “rush week,” formal recruitment included house tours, conversations with current members of Greek life and lots of small talk. Despite the excitement that came with recruitment, people noticed a distinct difference in recruiting for sororities and fraternities that goes beyond the obvious.

Members of the campus community noticed that prospective sorority members go through a more structured and, at times, stricter process, while fraternities followed looser rules and recruitment traditions for their aspiring members.

This problem is also consistent throughout colleges. Various articles, such as “I’m in a sorority. Here’s what I wish someone told me before rush” from the Daily Pennsylvanian and “Rush highlights gender inequalities of Greek life” from the The Breeze highlight stricter sorority recruitment rules.

“It’s been good; I’ve gotten to meet a lot of people,” Bryan Darlington, a first-year, said about his recruitment process. He explained that originally he didn’t plan on joining Greek life but after the house tours, this changed.

Although he thought going through recruitment would enhance his experience at school, he wouldn’t allow the process to cause him any more worry than necessary.

“It’s just stressful,” first-year Ernestina Savage said of the process.

Savage described some feelings of anxiety and how the strict procedures they had to follow led to those feelings. She went on to describe some of the rules they followed while visiting sorority houses, including remaining silent and standing in a single line.

“It was also really fun,” Savage said.

Her demeanor completely changed following her previous comment; she was excited to have gone through the process. Although she and other prospective sorority members may have been put through demanding situations, they still had fun.

There was a distinct difference between Savage’s and Darlington’s first reactions when they were asked about their recruitment.

While Savage’s reaction was anxiety-filled, Darlington’s was calm. Although both Savage and Darlington had fun, the difference in their reactions told a lot about the process.

Sororities focused on a more structured and formal introduction to Greek life, through theme-specific days and “bumping.” Bumping functions as a form of speed-dating where possible sorority members are introduced to many current sorority members.

Fraternities, on the other hand, used an informal introduction process with the use of various games and casual conversations.

Jonathan Schmidt, a junior in charge of recruitment for fraternities, tried to explain this difference: “I would say sorority rush is different because it follows the scientific method. They’re trying to eliminate a lot of variables.”

“Well frankly, we don’t have a lot of autonomy over the way that we run our recruitment,” Julia Masur, a senior and Director of Recruitment, said.

Although the University of Puget Sound has certain guidelines for recruitment, Masur said most guidelines come from the national governing bodies, the North-American Interfraternity Conference and the National Panhellenic Conference.

The strict nature of sorority recruitment comes from a higher place then the chapters at the University of Puget Sound. If sororities want to continue, they must follow the guidelines set by their creators.

Despite discrepancies in the recruitment process, there were many similarities in what the heads of Greek life want members to experience.

When Schmidt and Masur were asked about stereotypes they wanted people to know were wrong, they wanted people to know Greek life isn’t the way the movies portray it.