“Guys, I need you to rush a bunch of kids this week.”
Have you ever heard your recruitment chairman or #1 say something like this? Gosh, I hope not but I think the odds are against me in this case.
The word ‘rush’ makes me feel a little bit dirty. It feels so impersonal. It conjured of images of flyers being handed out and groups of men chalking sidewalks. I can just imagine the new box of ‘rush t-shirts’ being opened for the first time and the subsequent disappointment of the 130 lb Brother being stuck with an XL. With that said, I made a rule for myself recently that if something makes me uncomfortable I should probably do it. With that in mind, I did a little research into the origins of ‘rushing.’
Would you believe me if I told you that the term ‘rush’ (as it pertains to Greek life) comes from the early days when Fraternity men literally used to rush to the dorms or train/bus stations to be the first ones to meet new freshmen? I repeat – Fraternity men used to race to be the first ones to welcome freshmen to campus!
Put yourself in the shoes of an 18-year-old freshman arriving to this big, new place called college for the first time. You know nobody. You don’t know where your classes are. You hardly know where to find your next meal. Then, all of a sudden a well dressed upperclassman walks up and says “Hey, I’m ____. You seem like you might be a little lost. May I offer some help?”
I don’t know about you but I just breathed a sigh of relief.
Compare that with how things work at your campus. My guess is that most groups probably hang banners on their buildings that say “Rush ____.” They hang out outside and throw a football. If the treasurer is feeling frivolous the chapter might spend money on burgers, dogs and maybe some drinks. Brothers are sitting in chairs with their fresh new ‘rush’ shirts on that Freshman can’t even read because they don’t know the Greek alphabet yet. How inviting does that sound? You expect freshmen to flock?
Take the fight to them. If you’re going to ‘rush kids’ do it in the right way. Win the race to go meet them, welcome them to campus and see how you can make their transition to college as easy as possible.