Students in a Rush to go Greek

Posted on January 29, 2001 in News
By USM Free Press

With the start of the spring semester, the Greek community began its recruitment of potential new brothers and sisters. These students, if worthy, will carry on Greek traditions that have been in existence since before the turn of the century.

Each sorority and fraternity will have several rushes over the next two weeks, all on different weeknights and none conflicting with other rushes, so that non-Greeks can learn about each organization. All rushes will be held in Gorham.

Rushes are held to attract new members as well as to inform non-Greeks about the rules and standards upheld by each sorority or fraternity and the activities offered by each.

Wednesday was “Go Greek Night” on the Gorham campus. Held in the Hastings Formal Lounge, this event catered to female students seeking out a sorority that is right for them and also provided a time for sisters to socialize with others outside of their chapter.

About 40 women represented the four sororities at USM: Sigma Iota Sigma, Kappa Iota, Alpha Xi Delta, and Phi Mu. The night consisted of some get-to-know-you games like untying the human knot, and a slide show. There was even enough time for the girls to make valentines for the children’s wing of Maine Medical Center.

Go Greek Night was set up by the Greek Women’s Council, which is made up of sisters from all of USM’s sororities. President of the council Lynn Bettencourt was emcee for the evening. She spoke for her Kappa Iota sisters and for the council.

“We encourage every girl to look at all the different sororities before choosing,” said Bettencourt.

Later in the evening, the Delta Chi fraternity hosted a rush at their house on Preble Street. During the Rush, the brothers give non-Greeks a chance to get to know them by playing darts, foosball, and other games. Jon Taylor, a Delta Chi brother, said he looks for someone who is “easy to get along with, trustworthy, and serious” before considering them for membership.

In response to the anti-fraternal comment that brotherhood is buying your way into friendship, Taylor shrugged.

“These are the same people that think fraternities are no more than a social club,” he said.

Taylor, the chair of public relations and fundraising, noted that beyond fundraising in its own organization, Delta Chi participated in Gorham Days this summer with a dunk float to raise money for cancer research. They also took underprivileged children caroling around campus during the holiday season.

The University has a relatively low percentage of Greek students because most are non-traditional According to Rodney Mondor, assistant director for Student Involvement and Greek Affairs, about 2 percent of USM students belong to Greek organizations.

When fraternities and sororities were established nationally, “they were geared towards full-time students who worked very little or not at all,” said Mondor. As students across the nation become less traditional, Greeks are working harder to recruit future brothers and sisters.

Whether the fraternities and sororities at USM are untying human knots or contributing to the community, all hope to bring new members into the Greek tradition.

Contributing writer Tyler Stanley can be contacted at freepress@usm.maine.edu.