Greek life is something that is a cornerstone for any major college. It offers a safe haven for any student looking for friends, opportunities, connections or just something to be apart of. Normally meant for freshman and maybe sophomores, fraternities look to mold young students into soldiers for future recruitment.
There are social, business and unrecognized frats at most major colleges in the United States. Social frats are your typical party on the weekends and hazing for 8 weeks before you join. Business frats are a special blend of academics and ‘partying’. While unrecognized frats do whatever they please with no system of checks and balances.
Being in college for 3 years now, it is truly incredible to see the change in people during the process of ‘rushing’. When someone finally commits to joining a fraternity by attending events and befriending the brothers of the frat, it is called rushing. Once you’re finally in the frat, you are considered a brother.
Knowing a multitude of people that have gone through the process, I wanted to document how their personalities and mentality on the world has changed. It is more than just joining a group of people to chill with, it is a life changing decision regardless of the fraternity you join.
Mick and Dan have finally decided to go all in and rush Delta Sigma Pi. This professional business fraternity is one of the largest of its kind, having over 260,000 members and the connections are endless. They have deep roots in companies such as Goldman Sachs, Chick-fil-A and Continental Airlines. Joining an organization or ‘brotherhood’ such as this makes the transition from college to the corporate world much easier. This is a major reason why people want to join business frats because of the future business implication it may have in your life.
Mick wants to rush DSP because it is something to put on his resume while Dan wants to rush because he is about to graduate and would love to have a competitive edge when applying to firms or corporations in the future. It is incredible to see two very similar people rushing for completely different reasons.
Pushing your mental limits and sacrificing precious free time in college is something that no student would ever want to do. College is suppose to be the time of your life, where you have a lot of fun before the real world swallows you whole. But the student that decide to join elite organizations such as DSP want to test the limits hoping that it pays off in the long run.
“I played basketball almost everyday, always talking to my friends, I was like a social butterfly”, Mick was quick to point out how great life was before the real challenge started. He also stressed how important it is to stay close to your pledge brothers and build an amazing relationship with them.
Dan really illustrated what his days were like, “I went from having a normal college life to sleeping in the library and not showering for days at a time. Rushing really shows you how hard college can be”. He then went on to say that this is common, even for someone rushing a social or unrecognized frat.
Getting A Bid
Obtaining a bid is something everybody that wants to join a frat must get. A bid is the frats way of telling you that you have made it past the first step. Getting a bid requires constant contact with the existing brothers, staying with your pledge class at all times, being in a location at all times that the brothers designate for you and attending a lot of events hosted by the fraternity.
Having to always be around members of the fraternity can be tiring since you almost have to neglect your friends that have been with your from the beginning. Mick noted “If you are with any of the brothers, you have to ignore everybody else no matter who they are because the person next to you could be the reason you even make it into the fraternity. Having to make new friends may hurt old friends because more often than not, they have no idea what is going on and you can’t tell them why”.
Every organization that you will join in your life will have activities that give back to the community while also helping the company. Being all of the same status in the fraternity, the brothers have the pledges do fund-raising to show them different techniques on how to raise money. But it isn’t about the money, it is about the team building and how to build trust in others that the organization really wants to emphasize.
In the Student Union at the University at Buffalo’s North Campus, there are spaces for clubs, fraternities and other organizations to set up tables and use they space how ever they may like. Most tables will be selling donuts and candy to raise money for their respective organizations, while others look to promote their businesses. Professional fraternities want the new pledges to add a unique twist that benefits not only the frat but also whoever decides to invest in the fundraising activity.
Raising money isn’t for the benefit of the fraternity, but to help lower the cost and fees associated once you have finally earned your letters. Joining such an organization isn’t cheap by any means and that is why fundraising is necessary.
After hearing the impressive outcome of their fundraising, I was wondering if working at a retail job was worth it. Dan was a leader of his group in terms of fundraising, “The best way to raise funds for any cause is to think to yourself “what would I buy or what would be worth investing in”, after you have that fact settled, all that follows was action”. This is a thought that runs through any companies minds but taking action is definitely the hardest part of the task.
Mick and Dan both described in detail how they went about raising funds. They started off by selling candy and other various items in hopes they could profit off spending a little money. What they come to realize that if you want to make money, you have to spend it as well. Dan also told me “We started to do raffles by giving away Keurig machines and speakers but nobody really cares about that stuff because they already have it. Towards the second half of our semester, we as a pledge class all threw in money for a T.V and hoped to raffle that off”. In hopes to raffle off more tickets for the T.V, they decided to give away extra raffle tickets on top of the one they were already selling. They wanted to give students an extra incentive if they gave them a shout out on social media. This is an absolute fantastic marketing idea. While giving not only the pledge class a shout out but they were also promoting the fraternity as a whole, something that is a win-win for any organization.
Something can really be admired for those raising money for a bigger cause other than themselves. Even though the money was to help the pledge class, it also brought them closer together as friends that started off as strangers. Sometimes all it takes it to give someone a charger, be in a group project or work towards the same cause to meet life long friends.
When the Grind really starts
Normally the semester starts to get challenging around the third to fourth week of school. When regular students are finally going to see what the inside of the library looks like, students looking to rush any fraternity are looking into their new homes for the next couple months. But they won’t be alone, they will have their pledge brothers as their only source of entertainment and social fulfillment.
A big reason why a lot of new students are hesitant about joining a fraternity because of the punishment that awaits them once the rushing process begins. This is known as hazing, typically shown on T.V as getting beaten up and getting embarrassed in public to show your undying passion for the frat. But professional frats don’t harm you in any physical manner, instead they look to diminish your fears and make social weaknesses into strengths to use in everyday situations.
Social fraternities take hazing to the extreme by doing everything and anything someone can think of. Having to do push-ups on your knuckles, getting hosed down while carrying a bag of ice or even having to consistently embarrass yourself in public, can not only hurt your body but your overall self-esteem. It might not be taking tests in the morning but there have been multiple recorded deaths from being hazed. This is something that parents notice but students just think it won’t happen to them but when it cost physical harm to your body, nothing is worth it at that point.
Mick told me that he would have rather be forced to do hundreds of push-ups than to wake up at 4 in the morning to take a test about the fraternity. Seeing the mental toll that has was stricken upon them around campus was depressing. Anytime we would meet up so I could pick his brains about the frat, he would look so drained and out of it. Dan was no different but having more work and school experience, he was ready for anything.
While you are in the rushing process, once midterms begin, your social life will officially end. With tests beginning around the same time recruitment does, one must juggle the task of fundraising, studying, attending events, creating events for members of the fraternity to come to and studying for academics. Just studying for classes in itself is a hard and daunting task but add another hundreds pounds of stress and you will know the life of someone trying to join a fraternity.
After all the pledge brothers have accepted their bids and completed their 8-week rushing process, they are officially considered brothers of the frat. Not everyone takes this role seriously. After committing an entire semester to one specific cause, anyone could sympathize with the pledges.
Is joining a business fraternity worth it? Are you ready to devote yourself to a cause that may not pay off in the future? It takes a tremendous amount of mental strength to complete a grueling introduction for an organization. It isn’t for everybody and shouldn’t be taken lightly for people that seem to struggle in school.
Comparing the two at the end of the semester, anybody that knew them was left speechless when they got to see their friends again. While joining a fraternity helps you get your feet wet in the business world, nothing is guaranteed. This is something that needs to be taken into careful consideration because of the consequences that may follow if you start to slip. Would you rather grind all semester for a 4.0 or join an organization that will help you in the future but nothing is guaranteed after you graduate?