Approximately 38 percent of freshman girls took part in this year’s sorority recruitment process, according to University administrators. Of the 332 women who registered, 234 received bids and 65 withdrew.
The rush experience
The rush process features three consecutive nights of interaction between sisters and potential new members (PNMs) – Open House, Skit Night and Preference Night, all of which are weighted equally – followed by Bid Day, when PNMs are extended bids.
Lauren Philips ’17 said that she went into the Inter-Sorority Council rush process out of curiosity and described the experience as “exhausting and anxiety-inducing,” especially because of the mutual ranking system. She ultimately concluded, however, that it was “worth it.”
Amanda Edelman ’17, who later joined Kappa Alpha Theta, said that she enjoyed her rush experience.
“My experience definitely isn’t indicative of the whole,” Edelman said. “I know a lot of girls didn’t have good experiences, but for me it was actually really fun. I love meeting new people, and it was really cool to finally meet a lot of upperclassmen – a lot of them were really nice and friendly.”
Although she shared a similarly positive experience, Julia Olson ’17, who later accepted a bid to Pi Beta Phi, described the rush process as somewhat superficial, given the brevity of interactions – mainly five- to ten-minute conversations – between sorority members and PNMs.
“It does help a lot to know people in the sororities [beforehand], especially because you’re talking with these people for only three days,” Olson said. “It’s important to have people who already know you and can vouch for you.”
Rosie La Puma ’17, who did not participate in rush, said that she observed the process through her dorm friends, some of whom came back from the events on the verge of tears.
“Many were really excited and said that all the events were really fun, but you could definitely sense that there were high emotional stakes for the entire week,” La Puma said.
Some students described a negative stigma associated with Greek life.
“To be very blunt, it seems like all they do is drink and party,” said Fatimah Alajaji ’17.
Olson acknowledged that drinking and partying remain a big part of Greek life but argued that that characterization is an incomplete one.
“It’s not just going out and partying all the time. It’s also about bonding with the girls and doing community service,” Olson said, citing as an example the philanthropy events many sororities organize. “[Greek life] is just a way of meeting a lot of new people and being part of this really awesome community that has a lot of events.”
Olson also noted the potential for life-long friendships with her sorority sisters.
However, while Deshae Jenkins ’17 was offered a bid at the end of the three-day process, she ultimately decided that sorority life would not necessarily offer what she wanted out of her college experience.
“When I thought about being in that community of girls for four years, it just didn’t seem like it really fit me,” Jenkins said. “Not to say that the people that I met weren’t nice – as much as I liked the girls…it just didn’t seem like that was what I necessarily wanted.”
“Some people say that [Greek life] is a great way to meet new people, and that they become your friends for life,” Alajaji said. “But I just think that your friends for life are the people whom you meet through shared experiences and interests, as opposed to in a sorority.”
Contact Sevde Kaldiroglu at sevde ‘at’ stanford ‘dot’ edu.