Greek rush policy is worth another look

In light of the USC Panhellenic Council’s recent announcement that it will be moving the beginning of sorority recruitment to several days before USC’s fall semester begins, a question comes to mind: What’s the rush?

Next fall this will be the question more than ever before — most sorority-hopefuls will be three days into rush before they ever set foot in a college classroom. As a community, we must consider whether one’s first semester in college is the best time to rush and join a fraternity or sorority.

Choosing whether or not to go Greek is a big decision: Many Greeks consider their house, and the community that comes with it, as the highlight of their college experience as well as a networking platform for their future careers. The significant time implications of joining a house, coupled with the lack of exposure to the school’s culture as a whole, however, is a significant trade-off for an inexperienced student to make.

Though there is certainly nothing wrong with choosing to devote oneself to a Greek organization, having a semester to think about it first and whether or not it is a good fit would be beneficial for undergraduates new to USC. Pushing back rush one semester for new students allows them to acclimate to being Trojans before diving into the Greek system.

Moreover, giving students a semester of exposure to USC allows them to better understand the Greek context and what to expect. If you were going to spend dozens of hours a week with any organization at USC for the next three or four years, having more than a few days to determine if this particular one is a good fit would be advantageous.

The concept of delaying rush one semester is not unheard of. Presently, sororities at Harvard University only recruit in the spring without issue. From their view, if you haven’t found the community you were looking for during your first semester or are looking for the values the Greek system provides, by all means rush — just not in your first days as a college student.

The social element is also important to address. Is pledging a great way to make lots of friends? Absolutely. But it is not the only option available to new students. After all, the other 850 registered student organizations at USC do not require you to immediately pledge fealty seven days into college. The Greek process can make an ideal supplement to college socialization, but for those in their first semester it can easily become a substitute.

The benefits of moving rush extend beyond those for potential new members. A spring schedule would allow sorority sisters not to cut their summers short for rush school. Fraternities would also still have new pledges every semester, just not first-semester students. These new members are also less likely to drop, have a better handle on their non-Greek USC experience and be more deliberately committed to the Greek system.

So all things considered, what’s the rush?

Matthew Prusak

Undergraduate Student Government, Residential Senator

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