Pledging requirements have changed for the fall; Potential women pledges will now be expected to attend at least one rush for each women’s club.
“One of the things that we were noticing is that with the girls in particular, several were only going to one tea, which is kind of the kick-start for rushes,” said Mark Jackson, associate director of student organizations and programs. “They would then only go to one club’s rush and then voting would happen and if they didn’t get voted on, they are immediately out of the process.”
This defeats the purpose of what rushing is about, Jackson said.
“It’s about going and checking out, and there is no problem with having a favorite or two or a preference, but it’s more of checking out as many clubs as you can to have a good idea of what is best for you,” he said.
114 men have registered to pledge so far. Last year there was a total of 204 that registered, but not all were eligible; Only 150 men continued the pledging process in the fall, Jackson said.
332 women are registered to pledge so far. Jackson said last year more than 400 registered, but only 250 stayed in the pledging process.
Jackson said this new requirement will only apply to women, not men.
“Processes are so different between guys and girls, numbers are so different between guys and girls, but I don’t know that we would do that, at least not right now,” he said.
This requirement will also apply to the fall and not the spring for several reasons, Jackson said. He said the amount of students eligible to pledge is uncertain, he doesn’t want students to feel pressured to go to all of the rushes within the last few weeks of school in the spring, some students are still unsure if they want to pledge or not and the smaller clubs might not have the budget to support this new requirement right away.
During the first week of pledging in the fall, potential pledges will be able to attend each club’s rushes. Jackson said he tells clubs not to plan rushes at the same time, so pledges can have the option to attend each one.
By the third rush, clubs will overlap their rushes, allowing students to make choices about where they want to be, Jackson said. Clubs will also start voting, limiting the number of students who can attend their rushes.
Jackson said he is still figuring out the details of the new requirement.
“How that is going to initially play out, I don’t know. We have talked about some sort of a stamping system. They used to do a punchcard system before I was in this role, and so we talked about that as well,” he said. “The good news is we have summer to kind of toy with that and decide how it is officially going to look.”
Jackson is also unsure about what the consequences will entail, but said it is possible if a potential pledge does not attend at least one rush per club, the consequence could be that they wouldn’t be able to continue the pledging process.
Jackson said he has received positive feedback about the new requirement.
“We have been talking to the girls’ presidents about it and they have been really supportive of it. Most of the officers we have talked to feel very supportive of it. I think the advisors will be very supportive as well,” he said. “We think, as a whole, it will be a good thing.”
Sarah Hendrix, junior psychology major from Abilene and president of Sigma Theta Chi, supports the change.
“I think the new requirement creates an incredible opportunity for these girls,” she said. “This will give each girl an exposure to every club and I think that is a very important detail of rushing. You need to allow yourself to explore all of the possibilities before making up your mind on which club you want to be a part of. You never know where God will lead your life and I think this is a fantastic way of keeping an open mind and truly finding the place where you feel most accepted.”
Hendrix said she loved attending different rushes when she pledged.
“I loved meeting girls in all of the clubs,” Hendrix said. “That was one of my favorite parts of going to different clubs rushes. I hope this will create lasting friendships that transcend what jersey you wear.”