“Rush” is defined in the dictionary as: “A. an anxious and eager movement to get to or from a place, B. a time of attention, usually in which extensive social activity occurs, or C. a drive by a Greek society on a college campus to recruit new members.” What does that mean to Radford University? Let’s explore.
“First of all, students have the opportunity to not only look forward to us, but to be part of a Greek organization. Greek life maximizes your college experience. You can’t find this in the real world,” Senior and Theta Chi President James Cho said.
Outside of the classroom and through group association, Greek Life can be considered “mutual aid societies” in which these individual “societies” provide academic and social strengths. They impose lifelong relationships, build personal and professional achievements and expand student perception outside of the norms. The key is to know how to use Greek Life to one’s advantage. Not every Greek organization is right for one person, and finding that position may prove to be the most challenging reality out there.
Under four different coordinating councils, the Inter-fraternity Council (IFC), National Association of Latino Fraternal Organizations Council (NALFO), National Panhellenic Council (NPHC) and Panhellenic Council (PHC), the RU Greek community is composed of 12 fraternities and 16 sororities, 28 fraternities and sororities total. Greek organizations can be distinguished by their function. Some may be geared to service the community while others are for professional or scholastic advancements. Some are religiously motivated and others may be full of diversity with the purpose of embracing ethnicity. Based on these various group dynamics, it’s hard to avoid the stereotypes about Greek Week.
Four Greek organizations have stepped forward to break stereotypes and shed light on these controversial matters about rushing: Theta Chi, Tau Kappa Epsilon, Phi Sigma Sigma and Delta Zeta. Members, pledges, and skeptical students have vouched their opinions on Greek lifestyles in an open search for understanding.
Founded on Nov. 7, 2001 by Jason Walters, Theta Chi – Iota Zeta Chapter thrives today under the leadership of President James Cho. Cho emphasized five important motives that have successfully steered his fraternity through time: academics, athletics, social life, personal growth and community service.
For three consecutive years the fraternity has had the highest GPA out of all the fraternities at Radford. Academics are essential to Theta Chi and through the fraternity’s unique backgrounds, the brothers have profited in all ranges of achievements and attention to school work. In this prospect, they have formed an appreciation to help one another when in need.They also take pride in their athletics.
“Because of the fraternity’s recognizable diversity, we are very competitive in every single intramural sport. For instance, last year we went to finals with the Radford University basketball team in Theta Chi. Even though we lost, this was a huge accomplishment for our fraternity,” Cho said.
Like most Greek organizations, social life is a likely association to Theta Chi, as friends and other organizations are able to get together and hang out. Brothers should anticipate being placed in circumstances that will cause them to break out of their shells and mature as individuals. This is part of personal growth. In order to learn more about themselves, such as basic needs, how to be professional, respectful and group dynamics, they have to embark on new endeavors.
Sophomore Jacob Edwards is a recently-declared pledge in Theta Chi. He has always aspired to join a fraternity in college.
“It’s pretty cool to be part of a brotherhood. I’m looking forward to social functions, making new friends and to a new branch of networking,” Edwards said.
He heard of Theta Chi through some of his buddies. “Everyone was always very friendly when I went to their functions, so I thought I’d give them a shot.”
Theta Chi’s most distinguished feature that will force members to take on new roles is the unpredictable leadership skills instilled by various members. Through making contact into unknown territories, they will have to acquire the ability to work well with different people in given situations.
“You gain a very similar bond to your family through the brothers because part of being in the Greek community is that you all struggle together. You work together, and every second you are functioning with your brothers and sisters,” Cho said.
Together, the brothers of Theta Chi work for the community by giving back more service hours than traditional organizations on campus. Every November during the “Week of Giving,” the fraternity services the “Toys for Tots” establishment to benefit needy children during the holidays. It is one of the fraternity’s seven philanthropies. Based on the steps and successes the fraternity has been making , Cho sees favorable outcomes in the future for Theta Chi, as well as in the RU community.
Tau Kappa Epsilon — Omicron Omega Chapter (TKE) is a close friend and neighbor of Theta Chi. However, the president of TKE, Chad Evancho, envisions a different experience in his affiliation because the fraternity is the biggest fraternity in the nation and world. Being a part of this organization is great for networking, positions in government jobs and private sectors. It also consists of a mixture of all-around good guys who have a pre-set power of size and purpose.
Every year, TKE brothers look forward to a fundraising event through St. Jude’s for the Special Olympics called the “Polar Plunge.” “Freezin’ for a reason” members compete against different organizations where they are expected to dive into an icy Lake Religh or run a 5K in North Carolina to raise money. Plungers are awarded fun prizes for random contests, such as who raised the most money, who composed the most creative plunges or who wore the best costumes. The “Polar Plunge” raised more than $153,000 for the Special Olympics last year.
“We all just get out there, compete and have a lot of fun,”Evancho said .
Some dilemmas potential pledges face while rushing for TKE, or any fraternity is remembering to put academics first. Keeping an academic focus is ideal in TKE, in which the fraternity lives and breathes the saying, “Better men for a better world.”
A minimum GPA of 2.3 is required in order to accept a bid, or “a formal invitation to a potential new member to join a chapter.” Potential brothers are advocated to fill out a grade release form from the Bonnie by the IFC Code of Conduct. Also, first semester freshmen or possible new members who suffered through a strike from the university may not accept bids, but may still participate in recruitment processes. House tours, a two-day procedure of familiarizing students with potential chapters, are mandatory. Every associate rushing must make an appearance at each chapter in order to decide what’s best for him.
For the ladies, the bar for Greek criterion has raised to a 2.5 GPA. Upperclassmen choose sorority to rush for in the fall, and they spend time getting to know the sisters of that organization until the sorority has decided whether they would like to invite that person back or not. On the other hand, girls who rush in the spring are able to make their own impressions of each sorority after visiting all of them at the same time instead of focusing on just one group.
“I’m still not sure how I feel about joining a sorority,” freshman, Micaela Davidow said “It seems like such a big step out of my comfort zone.”
Rushing for any organization can be stressful. President Courtney Ducanis of Phi Sigma Sigma, Epsilon Phi Chapter realized that it’s hard to just pick one sorority when there are so many to choose from. She advised ladies who were uncertain on what they wanted to try spring rush first, and then follow their hearts. From there, they will find the right place for themselves. A special interest meeting will be held in the Muse Ballroom on Oct. 25 at 8 p.m. and Nov. 15 at 7:30 p.m. for information on spring rush.
“We don’t typically have a specific image or personality that we look for [in Phi Sigma Sigma], but we do look for girls who are friendly and driven. We encourage all our girls to be involved whether it’s running for an executive position, participating in philanthropy or just going out and having fun,” Ducanis said.
Ashleigh DeThomasis, a current Phi Sigma Sigma sister, was drawn into her sorority by the openness and willingness of the sisters to hear what she had to say and offer as a potential. She resolved to rush after she transferred schools from George Mason University in the spring of 2009. In the fall of that same year, she was enunciated. DeThomasis believes to this day that sororities are a good outlet for extracurricular activities, leadership positions and volunteer experience.
This semester, Phi Sigma Sigma announced that they took in 13 new girls. Two of the new members were Kayla Johnson and Tara Pangle. The girls expressed gratitude for their new sorority sisters and excitement for the adventures that lie ahead of them.
“I’m especially looking forward to the kickball tournament with my sisters this fall!” Johnson said.
Every fall the sisters of Phi Sigma Sigma gather to compete in the “Kicks for Kidneys” event. “Kicks for Kidneys” is a kickball tournament that raises money for Colon Cancer awareness and the National Kidney Foundation. The tournament has become a fun, profitable relay for Greek Life, faculty, students, and the RU community to link efforts.
Christina Spavone of Delta Zeta, Xi Delta Chapter is also proud of the sisterhood and loyalty she found in her sorority since joining Greek Life. This year, Delta Zeta was honored with the 2010 President’s Cup, which is an exceptional recognition to one sorority “for overall excellence in recruitment, philanthropy, community service, academics and involvement.” The girls have upheld high anticipations for each other through not only being active in their own affiliation, but outside of their sorority.
Each semester, members are willing to reach out to the community to provide assistance. Their national philanthropy is to raise money for the hearing and speech impaired at Gallaudet University. The girls have already started collecting and donating dimes for the cause. In November, Build-a-Bear will also team with a company that produces hearing aids, and for every hearing aid purchased a child gets a bear that the sisters will make in a special event in Roanoke. The women of Delta Zeta have begun to brainstorm fresh ideas to keep the sorority focused this year.
New sisters are expected to do their own philanthropy projects, along with spending many hours in study hall together. Through these heavy demands they have formed closer relationships, as well as boosted their GPAs.
Delta Zeta sisters look for members who don’t misrepresent themselves. As a whole, the sorority values honesty and integrity. Women who only join for social gatherings and the like will have the most trouble fitting in.
“We are looking for women who are simply, respectful but fun and outgoing,” Spavone said.
All the sisters come from diverse backgrounds, but at the end of the day they stick together like family.
Greek life may not be for everyone, but at Radford University it isn’t intended solely for school ties. For many, sororities and fraternities are a home away from home. For more information on the Greek community at Radford University, visit the main