Rush should allow potential new members to vent

Not allowing PNMs to discuss the recruitment process causes additional stress, isolation



Week of welcome can be a very stressful time for women going through recruitment. Restricting who they can talk to and what they can talk about only serves to put more pressure on them without a way to relieve it.

ELENA PERRY, Evergreen columnist

Sorority recruitment is hard. Women interested in joining a chapter at WSU participate in rush week, seven days of waking up at 4:45 a.m. and having to put your best face forward to future potential sororities.

It takes a lot of mental and physical tenacity, potential new members (PNMs) dive headfirst into Greek life in many ways, including getting to know chapter representatives in “speed date” style meetings and receiving house tours to get to know sorority members on a more personal level.

Aside from the mental exhaustion sorority hopefuls feel, there is an additional layer of anxiety that comes from the fact that PNMs are discouraged from discussing their experiences during the process.

Freshman Kaija Blumer, who rushed and received her bid to join Alpha Delta Pi, described rush week as “stressful” and “overwhelming,” but despite the nature of rush, she and many others believe it was worth it.

PNMs like Blumer experienced a myriad of emotions during rush week, from excitement and anticipation when potential members seem to click with a group, to homesickness and loneliness when they do not find people to connect with. Regardless of the emotion, recruits are discouraged from talking through their feelings with each other.

“It was hard because I would come home feeling excited or sad about something, and I couldn’t talk about it [with my roommate],” Blumer said.

The concept of not talking about sororities with other women is intended to limit the influence of peers on each other.

“This is the PNM’s process of joining a chapter and figuring out where they’re most comfortable. We don’t want that to be persuaded any way or by anyone,” said Hayden Kersey, vice president of membership recruitment at WSU.

Freshman Ashley Schmer, a recruit of Gamma Phi Beta, said she appreciates this restriction.

“It was honestly kind of nice because other people may have influenced [my decision] in preferencing a house,” she said.

Regardless, talking through emotions with women going through the same process, or those who have previously, could be cathartic and make it easier to manage emotions. Having people to relate to and confide in could be valuable for PNMs and reduce stress.

PNMs should be allowed to discuss their thoughts and feelings with each other to make the already chaotic week more comfortable.

The stressful nature of rush week for PNMs may sound insurmountable for some, but this process could be beneficial in one area: bringing future sorority women together with a common experience.

Rush week is one seemingly endless week of stress and effort for those involved, but it concludes in a finale to represent the bond that just taps the surface of the potential future relationships’ sorority women could develop.

After receiving their bid, new sorority members run from the Chinook building to their chapter house with the other members to close out the week.

For Schmer, this event was unforgettable, “The best part [of rushing] was running back to the chapter. That was honestly one of my favorite memories ever.”