Recruitment was a bore. It was time-consuming, tedious, and repetitive. It required an extreme amount of small talk, Barbie-like smiles, and buckets full of patience. In contrast, Rush was long hours of as much crammed-in fun as possible. Men rushing the Greek system are encouraged to attend late-night parties, enjoy Six Flags and paintballing, and acquire free food at prospective houses, while sorority recruitment allows MIT women to participate solely in daytime formal soirees, while abiding to a long list of rules.
Obviously, Rush sounds like the better deal. And for a while, I thought that too. But in hindsight, I thought Recruitment was totally worth it. In fact, I thought Recruitment was a hundred times more effective than Rush.
Along with more than a hundred other freshman girls, I groused and griped about the schedule lined up for us on the first two days of Recruitment. I complained about the smile I had to keep plastered on my face in awkward conversations, the heels that I couldn’t wait to change at the end of each day, and the first impressions I had to keep establishing with every new sister (whose name I tried very hard to remember yet knew I would probably forget). But when Preference Day rolled around, I had a new respect for the whole process.
Potential sorority members spend their days meeting sisters in each house and taking house tours. The week was structured so we girls would go to fewer houses every day and so that we would maximize the number of girls we met in each house, while giving us the fair chance to explore every sorority. It was exciting to see it all, and meeting so many people was a great way to get a good feel for what we would be getting into after the formality of Recruitment.
In contrast, although the fraternities spend lavish, outlandish sums of money (that might be put to better use elsewhere) on fun and appealing rush week events, there is no doubt that these well-known events project a distorted notion of what life as a brother is really like. Rush also doesn’t give every potential new member the fair chance to see every house because the spending power of certain brothers dwarf in comparison to those of competing fraternities, thus making it harder for potential new brothers to look at each house for the objective reason that actually matters: brotherhood, an intrinsic, non-material connection that is supposed to grow stronger over the years.
The Greek System is a large part of life at MIT. You can avoid it, embrace it, or cohabitate with it. Coming to MIT, I never really saw myself as a sorority girl, although I was never against it. This past week, I was pleasantly aware of the diverse mix of women in each sorority, and although the process of Recruitment wasn’t exactly fun, I know that it allowed me to see with open eyes. I can confidently say that the choice I have made was the right one for me, because I looked at every option that I had and was able to choose what was best for me. Many new fraternity pledges cannot say the same, although I’m sure they too will be happy with their decision.