For those of you nice enough to keep up with my blog, I’m sure you noticed the radio silence over the past two weeks. I hated not being able to write anything, but the first two weeks of August mean the same thing every year for over 30 percent of Alabama girls: sorority rush.
This means we (me, and about 300 of my closest friends) are indentured servants to Alabama ΔΔΔ for a full week of rush workshop and another full week of rush. Our days start early—usually in the house by 8 a.m.—and end late, strolling out around 9 p.m.
It’s a huge time commitment to be Greek at a school like Alabama, and the rush process is treated as a life-or-death decision.
The full week that precedes formal recruitment (workshop week) is dedicated to creating a seamless experience for every potential new member that walks in our doors. This year, that meant over 2,400 girls.
Rush is a little bit like magic. Everything is timed down to the second. The doors fly open, and all 300 of us chant our “door song” in perfect synchronicity to welcome the girls in. One by one, they pass through the doors to be claimed by an active member, where they are ushered to a comfortable seat. The active sits in front of them on the ground and talks with them, until another (predetermined) girl approaches and takes the active’s place.
When I went through rush, I was in awe of the perfectly executed precision. How did they already all know my name? Was it a coincidence that I kept talking to girls that shared weird similarities with me (e.g. being from Kentucky or attending an all-girl school)? Spoiler alert, it wasn’t a coincidence.
I counted how many hours I spent in ΔΔΔ over the past two weeks: 168.
168 hours! Can you believe that? It doesn’t take a genius to recognize the fact that it’s incredibly excessive. I talked to over 60 different potential new members over the course of the week, and I’m not even sure how many of them ended up getting a bid. The voting process is tedious, and not always perfect.
There were definitely times when I was so vitamin-D deficient (we aren’t allowed to go outside) and sick of marinating in a pool of estrogen that I questioned if it was worth it.
The long hours, the constant screaming, having to be “on” for hours at a time—it’s socially exhausting. I came home every night, locked my door, and laid in my bathtub in dark silence. If one of my roommates called my name, I would pretend not to hear.
But two days ago on the last day of rush, I was scrolling through my Twitter feed when I noticed several posts from ΔΔΔ’s national account. It was the announcement (and subsequent celebration) that ΔΔΔ nationally had raised $7 million last year for our philanthropy, St. Jude.
Two years ago, my ΔΔΔ chapter was the top fundraising chapter in the entire nation. We raised $204,000 for St. Jude in the 2013-2014 academic year—making us the first sorority chapter in history to ever break the $200,000 mark in a single year.
It takes $2 million to operate St. Jude every single day, and no family ever receives a bill for the treatment. If you’re homeless and your child has leukemia, St. Jude will treat them for free. Isn’t that beautiful?
I’m so proud to be a ΔΔΔ. Although rush is a necessary and frustrating process for a variety of reasons, it’s always a reminder why I chose to pledge in the first place. Yesterday was bid day, which means we welcomed over 120 (less than 5 percent of the total girls who rushed) new members.
My aunt texted me this morning to tell me that The Today Show featured a video of the Alabama ΔΔΔ door song as the promo clip for a story about a different Alabama sorority’s racially homogenous and objectifying recruitment video. When sororities are lambasted in the news, it’s almost always about an Alabama chapter.
Greek life as a whole is demonized in the media, and even my chapter of ΔΔΔ has taken hits in the national news for various scandals in years past.
But have you ever heard a national news story about the fact that ΔΔΔ nationally raised $15 million in 3 years for St. Jude? That we’ve pledged to raise another $60 million in the next 10? The same year our chapter broke a fundraising record, we were in the news for a (misrepresented) racism scandal. They never once mentioned our incredible feat.
In my two years as a ΔΔΔ, I have formed friendships with people who bring an immeasurable amount of joy to my life, made connections with older members that led to campus leadership experience and internships, learned how to manage crises and difficult people, contributed to the most worthy philanthropy in all of Greek life, and had an almost unreasonable amount of fun whilst doing it.
I can’t wait for the next two years.
Thanks for reading!