With rushing season in full swing, students have been faced with the stress of rush events, rankings and the competition that tends to accompany Greek life as they continue to balance their studies and extracurricular activities. Greek life can serve to fulfill an amazing purpose and provide community to students, particularly at ACU, where it’s supposed to provide fellowship in Christ with other students.
While it has provided great opportunities and lasting friendships to many people at ACU, the rushing process can be at times more harmful than helpful, particularly for women.
ACU does its best to differentiate their sororities and fraternities from national Greek life, even using words like ‘joining’ instead of ‘pledging’ and not identifying with traditional sorority and fraternity names used at panhellenic schools.
ACU rushing and joining is quirky, much different than pledging a national club. It is less intense and more inclusive. Unfortunately, Greek life, no matter how hard ACU tries, is inherently exclusive. The fact is, some women will get into the sororities they want, while others will not. Girls will get cut from sororities and be voted on to see if they will make it to the final round of invitational rushes. In fraternities at ACU, the culture is less competitive, but the competition that women feel during rush has historically had a negative impact on their mental health.
The point of attending rushes is to make as many connections as possible. Often, people feel like they have to compete for the attention of the women who already are members of sororities. Women will feel that they are falling behind in the process and wonder if they were prettier, funnier or more outgoing if they would be having a different experience.
Instead of breeding meaningful connections, they try to say the things that will make other girls like them more. They are taught to view the other girls rushing as competition and in many ways, this is an extension of a lesson girls are taught their whole lives- that other women are the enemy. Rushing and sorority culture can feed into this negative perception of other girls that is often rooted in one’s own insecurities.
At ACU in particular students are hyper aware of social status and social stratifications are more obvious because of the school’s small size. Perceived social status can be impacted by what sorority you choose to be a part of. This puts even more pressure on girls as they are rushing and trying to get into the clubs they perceive to be ‘cool.’ Some people feel that your club can influence how many people you know, how well liked you are and the events you get to participate in.
Regardless of how people perceive clubs, we firmly believe that there is a place for everyone at ACU whether or not you choose to pursue a sorority or fraternity. It is not intended to be a competition.
Rushing is supposed to be about creating a space for Christian community and if you find that it is negatively affecting your mental health, it may be time to reconsider the rush process for yourself and help the clubs on campus reconsider their approach.