By Dara Weinstein, University of Chicago
At American universities, if you want to join a sorority, you have to rush. No, there’s nowhere you have to be in a hurry, but you do have to go through recruitment, which we call “rushing.” Disclaimer: this does differ at each school, but in general, rush is a 3 day- two week process in which potential new sorority member attend “parties.” Now, these are not your typical parties. They are short affairs, getting longer as you continue through the process in which you speak to members of the different sororities. Ultimately, the goal is for both you and the sorority to find your best match, where you will be able to thrive as a member. When you attend these “parties” the women in the sororities are judging you, it’s true. We judge each PNM (potential new member) based on a variety of characteristics from personality, to values, to (yes) appearance. But a note on that: not all sororities or chapters within these sororities are trying to get a particular “look” when we vet PNMs. Instead, we are looking at whether or not you care about how you look. Are you well put together and neat? Or did you not really pay attention and just through on a random outfit? So maybe it is still superficial, but not quite as superficial as you might think. Each day, as you attend these parties, you also learn more about the sorority, its members’ accomplishments, and our philanthropy events. It is a two-sided process, in which the PNMs rank sororities, and we rank the PNMs in order to find the ideal fit. Throughout the rush process, PNMs are invited to fewer and fewer sorority “parties” until bid day when you receive a bid to join one sorority.