It’s that time of year — time to pick out your nicest dresses, shiniest shoes and perform your biggest smile. For the first time since 2020, this week at UM marks the start of in-person rush for both sororities and fraternities.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, sororities had to conduct rush week over Zoom. Although their bid day was able to be carried out in-person last year, this week is the first time the entire process will be held in-person since 2020.
Around campus, the school’s 27 sororities and fraternities are preparing for their biggest and most influential week of the year where they will induct more students into UM’s existing 2,500 student Greek life population, according to the UM department of student affairs. Since the rush process in the fall excluded freshmen, many first-year students are eager to try to make lifelong connections in these organizations.
“I’m most excited to meet a bunch of new people and to be more involved in the school and its spirit,” freshman finance major Carlee Ballard said.
Not only are potential rushes excited to join their new sisterhood, but members of the sororities themselves cannot wait until Bid Day. They have been making sure that they will also put their best foot forward especially due to the fact that it is in-person.
“Every chapter has its own way of preparing for recruitment, but the sororities usually do workshops during the fall semester for the recruiters, as well as what’s called ‘work week,’ which is the week before recruitment. It involves in-person rehearsal for all the varying elements of recruitment,” Scarlett Diaz, the director of primary recruitment for Alpha Delta Pi, said.
While fraternities were able to conduct some aspects of in-person rush last spring, this is the first freshmen rush since the pandemic where there are no restrictions at all. Some fraternities have already begun introducing themselves before their official rush week, allowing prospective members to get to know the brothers.
“Our first event was a football event where we invited freshmen to play 7v7 football, so we could get to meet some of the guys,” junior Carson Schweitzer, a member of the rush team for Sigma Alpha Epsilon, said. “We have also opened up a Facebook group for rushes to join and have been in contact with some freshmen regarding our events before the week.”
Greek members have shared that rushing over Zoom, in comparison to in-person recruitment, are two different experiences — from feeling comfortable pressing un-mute on a screen, to walking up to various Greek life members and shaking their hand for an introduction.
Schweitzer, who rushed in fall 2021, understands the importance of being able to interact with rushes in person. He feels that it is hard over Zoom to truly get to know a person.
“Having our events in person will give us a better gauge on freshmen, as we can see their true selves,” Schweitzer said.
The freshmen, themselves, have been preparing in various ways — from picking out their outfit, to attending introduction meetings held by Greek life throughout the year.
“I’ve planned out all my outfits I want to wear for each round,” Ballard said. “I’m hoping to gain a sense of belonging at UM and find a core group of people I can connect with!”
Not only will in-person rush help Greek life in interacting with the rush class, but also solidify the sense of normalcy around campus.
“When I stepped into the ADPi suite and spoke with all the girls during my rush, I was able to be 100% myself. I was really lucky I got to do that in person, as opposed to on Zoom where I may not have been as comfortable,” senior musical theater major Diaz said. “I’m so excited for all the potential new members to experience that too.”