Rush Needs Re-Evaluating
An entirely virtual recruitment is unnecessary and detrimental to PNMs. Greek Life organizations must reconsider this hasty decision.
With the typical college experience gone, rush could provide some normalcy in an abnormal semester—but will Panhellenic allow it the ability to do so?
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As January draws near, so does rush, and Greek life is quickly becoming the talk of the town for many freshmen. Recruitment can define a student’s college experience, as the organization from which they receive a bid can significantly impact the next three years of a potential new member’s social life.
Furman was quick to make rush completely virtual this year, with no in-person events on the days long schedule. However, this decision seems hastily made and unnecessary. Even some campuses that held recruitment in August allowed for a hybrid version of rush–both over Zoom and in person. For instance, UGA and Alabama permitted one in-person event: bid day.
The celebration of bid day is perhaps the event of rush, one that sparks much anticipation and excitement for the freshman pursuing Greek life. Furman’s delayed rush and small participation numbers allow the university to take a different, and more interactive approach to rush. However, the personal dynamic of this process will be compromised by the default to an entirely online process. Given the negative effects that a completely virtual recruitment has on students, the Panhellenic committee should reconsider their online only stance.
Yes, it makes sense that rush was predominantly virtual for large SEC schools. Had in-person events been the norm in those situations, schools would have had to keep thousands of students socially distanced, a downright impossible task. Spread of COVID-19 would be inevitable. However, these large universities were able to hold bid day successfully in-person, despite their large size.
Furman’s size should be the major reason to reconsider holding at least a few in-person events. In comparison to other universities that held bid day in-person, the stereotypical large Southern schools known for their intense and encompassing Greek Life, Furman’s recruitment classes are miniscule in number. Therefore, holding in-person events poses a comparatively minimal risk, as there are simply less PNMs partaking in activities in the first place.
Beyond the conditions of Furman’s recruitment that allow for safe in-person events, the concept of virtual rush in it of itself is unpleasant worthy enough to seriously challenge the validity of the idea. It is no secret that judging someone by their social media or online dating profile is a flawed method of measure, because virtual identities and in-person realities do not often match. In the same way, zoom calls are not a comprehensive enough way to get to know a PM well enough to place them in an organization. It is like online dating. You swipe left and right based on a cursory glance, but when you finally match with someone, you still do not know who they really are. Obviously Greek life is not a lifelong experience, but it is a long-term experience – one that should not be entirely determined by virtual events.
Many freshmen are depending on rush and Greek life to give them a taste of the college experience that this fall semester has largely been devoid of. While normal rush week is somewhat compromised, the inclusion of one, if not a few in-person events would be much more effective in providing this snapshot than an entirely online process. This past semester has been one characterized by abnormality—it does not seem unfair to ask the Panhellenic committee to allow one concession in hopes of receiving a remnant of what appears almost completely lost. Furthermore, students have shown throughout this semester that they can be smart, keeping themselves and others safe; it is not a far-out idea that rush participants can do the same.
Furman should reconsider holding at least bid day in person, an opportunity both potential and current members would be excited about. A challenge of this pandemic has been learning to weigh the consequences of events. . In the case of recruitment, the pros of an in-person bid day greatly outweigh the cons, and therefore it seems clear what Furman should allow for Greek Life.