1. What advice to do you have to guys who are unsure whether or not they should rush?
JE: Whenever I first think of “Rush” in the stereotypical sense, I am always reminded of the scene in Animal House where guys are rushed from person to person and then they stick all of the guys they didn’t want in the same room and have them talk with each other. Although it’s a great movie and a funny scene, that could not be any farther from our Fraternity Recruitment Process (or Rush if you will) at USC. With the largest percentage of students who go greek West of the Missippi, you can imagine that this many students find value in joining a fraternity or sorority for a reason – it can be one of the best decisions of a fellow Trojans life.
To anyone unsure about whether or not to partake in IFC Fall Rush I simply offer my personal experience and hope it helps them make their decision. Coming from a small town in West Texas, my first days at USC were a drastically new experience to say the least. I did not know a single person in all of Los Angles County, much less anyone associated with USC. Rush provided me with a great opportunity to make many friends – some of which are some of my best friends still today – and helped me feel immediately connected with college life at a world class university. Besides, what Trojan would not be up for meeting more of his/her classmates, learning more about what USC’s largest student organization has to offer, and experience the best social activities in Los Angeles? These are just a few of the benefits that IFC Recruitment provides and there is absolutely nothing to lose by checking out one of our University’s most rewarding traditions.
SP: Many people are dubious about partaking in Greek life yet most are able to leap beyond the doubts and experience rush. The great thing about rush is that it holds no commitment; financial or moral. By no means do you have to join a house. It takes place during the first week of the semester and during this time it is most beneficial to a student to get to know his or her surroundings; both the ways of his community and the people that are in it. Most people are out on the row anyways and getting to know guys from your dorms, and leaders in organizations you hope to participate can only benefits one’s college experience. The way I see it is that if during rush week, if you do not find a place that you will call family for the next four years, you have not lost anything and only gained a week of meeting people and going to events such as go-karting, bowling, paintball, and baseball games. While someone may not be sure whether or not they want to go Greek (as I wasn’t), one can only err by not trying.
2. What advantages have you experienced as a result of being Greek?
JE: My college experience would be totally different if I were not a member of our greek community. To list a few advantages I have experienced: finding a home away from home and meeting great friends, the joy of developing a Brotherhood, unparalleled student leadership opportunities, a greater chance for classroom success, incomparable social events, the cheapest housing in South LA for the past three years, among many others. I could not picture being a Trojan or achieving my greatest potential as a USC student without being greek
SP: While Greeks make up less than twenty percent of the student body, we certainly seem to be a very involved group of students. We are the leaders of campus organizations and carry with us the honor and tradition of our university. The Greek system has been a tool that the University has modeled in constructing our proud Trojan alumni network.
Being in a fraternity allows students to experience friendship and responsibility on a whole new level. Managing budgets, organizing large scale events, and watching out for the welfare of the brothers in one’s chapter are responsibilities that one gains through his time in a chapter. Dedication to an ideal greater than self fosters a desire stronger and more powerful and that is why I believe the Greek system can accomplish such great things.
In terms of grades our saying has become quite a cliché, but in order to reinstate I will briefly mention that our academic goal, one that is constantly met, is for the all-Fraternity GPA to surpass the All-Undergraduate GPA. Beyond grades however, the Greek system is able to utilize many academic systems such as test banks, study groups, and Scholarship Dinners to honor faculty and outstanding scholars that drive our Greek system to the success we have attained.
One of the biggest advantages of being in the Greek system, perhaps the most transparent, is the social life that we have to offer. Social opportunities include invites, exchanges, date dashes, and formals to places such as Catalina Island and Las Vegas. Certainly this is an aspect that cannot be overlooked and the structure by which it is built most importantly provides one with a great learning experience.
Finally, a concern that many have that I would like to dispel as in fact an advantage of being part of the Greek system is financial burden. Nowhere around the University will you be able to find cheaper housing and rent than living in a fraternity. I will not elaborate on this advantage as I believe that the most important thing about our system goes far beyond a dollar sign; however I understand it is a concern but as I said we offer the cheapest housing available as well as special scholarships.
3. Going into rush this year, what are IFC’s goals?
JE: Our goals are simple: provide the greatest opportunity for our fellow Trojan men to experience the largest and most rewarding student organization that our campus has to offer. Although we constantly promote and organize rush for our 19 fraternities, we will adamantly strive to enforce all of our Recruitment Regulations and ensure an equal opportunity Rush for everyone.
SP: Going into rush there are two things we worry about. One is that we can convince as many students as possible to go Greek. Getting kids to participate in rush hasn’t been particularly hard but it is a job that we wont let up on until 100% of kids try to rush. I believe that there is a house for everyone; it is just a matter of finding it. Secondly, just as important as it was last semester it is important that all the fraternities participate in an equal playing field. For us it is the guys in each house that we are presenting to a rushee and nothing else. That is why we have eliminated alcohol and girls from our process. It is not aesthetic or financial reasons that we want rushees to choose a brotherhood that they will make a lifelong commitment too. It is therefore our job to ensure that the playing field is equal and monitor as many aspects of the process as possible to ensure this.
4. What is your favorite part of being in a fraternity?
JE: Well, I’ve only listed about 15 advantages that I’ve personally experienced. If I could only choose one, it would be the genuinely good people I have met and all of the relationships I continue to forge. Many of my fellow greeks at USC have proven to be some of the best people I have ever met.
5. What drawbacks are there to being Greek/in a fraternity?
JE: If being a little more critical than Sagar, I would have to disagree. Every organization has areas in which they can improve. For example, joining a fraternity you have to pay dues, but costs for chapters are widely varied and generally flexible. It would be great if USC could eventually raise a scholarship or endowment to perpetually offer the Greek experience to all of our students at no additional cost to those individuals, but I wouldn’t get my hopes up. If there are any other drawbacks, then they are things like having limited parking near The Row, and having to experience both the joys and perils of contributing to a totally student-led program on such a massive scale. If you’re not up to being in a group where diversity of opinion is constantly testing and reshaping your group, then being in a fraternity may not be for you.
SP: There really aren’t any drawbacks. While being in a fraternity can be a time commitment, after the initial pledge semester, ones time involvement in a chapter is completely voluntary however I find that most guys, for obvious reasons, are more than willing to be involved in their chapter. However the option is always there to take up other full time commitments and still be a member of a chapter. It is very common to see Greeks be involved in the marching band or a sports team and still make time for their house; it is responsibilities like this that can be only learned through our system. With other commitments it would be very easy to say I have too much on my plate and drop a responsibility, however the dedication that is seen by Greeks goes well beyond that of a dedication anyone can have to a standard club or organization.
6. Which stereotypes are the most true about fraternities?
JE: Although stereotypes are highly personal and case specific, here’s my take on the issue:
– you only get what you are willing to put in.
– you will experience great social events
– you will be surrounded by the most involved members of our student body.
– you will be tested to challenge yourself in many areas of your life (ie – relationships, academics, athletics, community service, etc.)
– you will meet many beautiful women at USC.
– you will make friends that will remain with you for life.
– you will have a great time in college.
– others will think you are having a great time in college
SP: I think the stereotype truest about fraternities is that we work hard and play hard. We represent the Trojan who is well- rounded and will be most ready for life and the challenges we will face.
Which are the most false?
JE: Contrary to all the myths at USC you will find that:
– you will statistically have a better chance of making a higher GPA than other non-greek men.
– you will not experience hazing.
– there is a fraternity out there for every male at USC.
– you will not be forced to do anything you would not willingly do on your own.
– you will find diversity within our IFC fraternities and Greek Community.
SP: The stereotype that is most false is in fact the stereotype that you can stereotype us. We are a diverse community and the only thing we share in common is that we are all talented and proud to a be Trojans.
7. What is new or different about fraternity rush this year?
JE: Rush is no different this year at USC than it is any year before now. IFC has adapted to meet the needs of our members just as this Fall’s Rush Class of Trojans will be different from the class of the previous year. At USC we have strict rules for Rush, like no alcohol by anyone during our Rush events, and they will continue to be strictly enforce. This year, like all before it, will continue to be a fun and exciting week for anyone that cares to partake.
SP: This year rush has a couple of different aspects and events. Firstly, just as it was last semester rush will remain dry and this will be very strictly enforced. The chapters know this and I think that this will be easier to control because after last semester, IFC and our chapters were able to monitor and control all of the rush events, whereas before then, IFC did not have the authority to attend events off campus. Next, we are introducing an open house on the first day of rush. With our growing number of fraternities we realize how hard it is to meet as many houses as possible in a week’s period and then decide which one of those you would like to make a lifetime commitment too. The open house will serve as an opportunity for rushees to go from house to house and to experience as many houses as possible. This will certainly help a rushee find his fit in our community.
8. What makes the USC Greek system stand out?
JE: Many of you will agree that USC’s greatest asset is the balance it offers our students. This concurrently enhances the Greek Community at USC while providing another outstanding resource to our students. USC continues to attract the world’s top students with remarkable personalities because of the ultimate package we offer. When you add a world renowned academic institution, massive endowment, highly active alumni, unparalleled athletic achievements (like back-to-back National Football Championships), all forms of diversity, and one of the most storied and largest Greek Systems in the nation, it is hard to be humble and not understand why every undergraduate student at USC is literally 1 in 1000 of other applicants.
To be anything but spectacular as an Interfraternity Council at USC would undermine the very definition of our school. The greatest point of all, is that we are not like other places, we are a Greek Community and not a system. The Trojan Family starts here.
SP: USC’s Greek system is one that is filled with years of tradition in excellence. As I said before our system has been the model and catalyst for creating the tight knit family we have in our distinguished alumni network. We have the largest Greek system on the West coast and customarily win awards in academic excellence, community involvement, and leadership. Once again I would like to reemphasize the biggest mistake one can make is not to try it out. Go out and rush.