Wearing matching gray T-shirts that read “Panhellenic Council,” Maddy Gold, Alexandra Daily and Amanda-Jo Currao joined 400 other students in Old Union Hall on Saturday morning. As the first day of rush week, this would be their first chance to learn about the seven sororities on campus, talk to current sisters and make a good impression.
For Gold, Daily and Currao, this year’s rush week started off with “Values Day,” a theme day informing students of the history, traditions, mascots and principles of campus sororities. According to Jess Senzer, rush chair for Sigma Alpha Epsilon Pi and a senior majoring in English, this year’s focus on values is important for prospective members.
“Values are important when choosing the right organization for you,” Senzer said. “When looking for new members, we look for girls who will be able to uphold our values.”
For the first day, all of the prospective sisters were split up into smaller groups and led by a Rho Chi, a member of a sorority who helps guide their group through the rush process. To avoid bias, the Rho Chi does not reveal of which organization she is a member.
Daily, a freshman majoring in biology, said she was nervous but excited as she walked into the room where her Rho Chi would explain the details of rush week. According to Daily, she knew she wanted to join a sorority when she was still in high school.
“I’m kind of just looking for that camaraderie and that group to call my home,” Daily said.
Daily and the rest of the rushes spent 30 minutes in rooms on the first and second floor of the University Union socializing and learning about each chapter. For Daily, the social part of the process was important, as she said she was nervous about not getting a bid to any sorority. Bids aren’t guaranteed at Binghamton University, and a prospective sister may not end up being able to join any sorority at all if they don’t impress existing members. But by the end of the day, Daily’s nerves had subsided and she wrote that she was more excited than ever about joining Greek life.
“I think today went great,” Daily later wrote in an email. “I met so many people and had so many great conversations, I honestly found myself being really stuck on who to choose as my top five for the first round because everyone was so nice and welcoming and showed how much they all loved their sororities! I loved the whole process for recruitment. I got a really great intel on who each girl was and what each sorority was all about.”
Daily wasn’t the only rush who was nervous. Gold, a freshman majoring in business administration, said she was nervous about the rush process from the start, but decided to do it because her friends in sororities reassured her it was worth it. After talking with sisters from a few sororities, Gold said she was pleasantly surprised by how natural and easy it was to talk to members despite a somewhat unnatural environment in which girls walked from room to room.
“I was not expecting that, but it was a lot of fun and way easier than I thought,” Gold said. “I thought it was going to be very nerve-racking and I wasn’t going to be able to speak to the girls, but they were really sweet and really nice and they just wanted to learn about you.”
While this week is the first opportunity for freshman students to join a sorority, the rush process is also open to sophomores. Currao, a sophomore majoring in psychology, said she didn’t rush last year because she didn’t know a lot about sororities and was preoccupied with her dance groups and other activities. Once she learned more about rush week and the campus sororities through her residential assistant, who was a member of Greek life, she decided she wanted to try.
As she moved through the rooms, Currao said that with each sorority she met, she had a better idea of which ones she might want to join.
“After meeting all the people, you can kind of tell who really cares and wants to be there to get you to join,” Currao said. “I’m just looking for people that I vibe with.”
At the end of the day, Daily, Gold and Currao, along with all the other perspective new members, ranked their top-five sororities. The rush process continued on Sunday, with each organization discussing their philanthropy and community service events. Rush will conclude on Monday evening, and prospective new members who receive a bid will be notified on Tuesday afternoon.
Because bids aren’t guaranteed, Daily said she can’t be confident she’ll get into one of her top five sororities. Nevertheless, she wrote in an email that she has enjoyed rush week so far and is ready and excited for the rest of the process.
“The whole process, all the sororities, you can’t pick a wrong one, all the girls are amazing and honest about everything,” Daily wrote. “I already feel like I can trust them with anything and I can’t wait for the rest of the weekend.”