The Fraternity/Sorority remain mysterious organizations in US universities. It is said that, of all the US Presidents in history, only three of them were not members of fraternity. Besides, Armstrong, the first person landing on the moon, Rice, the former Secretary of State of US and 85% of Fortune 500 executives were fraternity or sorority members. In fact, these organizations are not as distant as people think. In the autumn, students in US universities are faced with an important decision. It’s not about what curriculum to choose. To put it in a more precise way, it’s a decision about “Rush”.
The “Rush” thing to do is to apply for a membership of the Greek System in the university, widely known as the fraternity or sorority. Thanks to Hollywood movies, these two words are familiarized with international students. The mix of popular elements has created many fantasies and visions for international students when they first set foot in campus.
What is the Greek System?
In actual cases, the Greek System is an unusual concept for international students. It has lasted for two centuries. Not all universities have fraternity or sorority, but these organizations draw quite a number of students.
The Greek System has no substantial connection with Greek. The fraternity and sorority are called “Greek organizations” because they often use Greek letters as their name, such as Sigma Kappa, Alpha Sigma Phi or Lambda Theta Alpha. Each has its own tradition, heritage and legacy.
In addition to holding parties as showed in Hollywood movies, the fraternity and sorority play an important role in providing a social network for their members. You’ll never know who’s gonna be the member of the organization.
A lot of universities also have commercial and professional fraternities and sororities, which are dedicated to planning career development and helping students find their job they want. When they study in the university, members of these organizations have parties and get to know each other; when they leave the school, they support each other in providing career opportunities. This is what all these organizations are mostly about.
How to be one of them?
When a freshman enters into a US university, he or she needs to decide whether to become a member of the Greek organization. If the answer is yes, an application form should be submitted within the application week. It is called “Rush” week. This often takes place at the beginning of the autumn, or spring in the case of spring semester.
“Rush” includes visiting Greek organizations and interactions with the members. The student may choose to apply to the organization they prefer. If they want to become a member, they should carefully consider which one suits them best.
When students decide to apply, they have to go through a long process. Current members of these organizations will decide whether to pass the application; if the applicant gets in successfully, he will become a prep member and the prep member will be accepted as a formal member after they pass the preliminary procedures.
One thing international students need to know is once accepted as a member, they should consider it as an explicit commitment. They will have full schedules within the organization, take part in social activities of all kinds, such as philanthropic fund-raisings and parties held in a well-decorated houses.
It’s not something you can give up halfway. It requires students to balance between the “Greek life” and other matters, and set priorities.
Joining the Greek organization is an excellent way for international students to experience US college lives and classic culture. However, it’s not necessarily suitable for all students. There’re still a lot of organizations and associations for students to participate if they want a different way of social life in university.