I can’t believe that Rebeka is a senior in college to her that means lots of things; getting ready for graduation, finishing things up, studying for her GRE’s, and yup, her last year participating in “Rush.”
So what exactly is “Rush?” one might ask, well according to Webster: It is a noun which can mean many things one of which is a drive by a fraternity or sorority to recruit new members.
Back in the early 80’s I joined the sisterhood of Alpha Delta Pi thru an “informal” Rush. I went through the regular rituals one does as a pledge and became a sister of the sorority. To this day, I have kept in touch with several of my sisters and most recently thru the joy and wonder of facebook became reacquainted with sisters who I lost touch with along the way, somehow we are all bound together and we pick up where we left off like nothing has changed.
Our recruitment for Rebeka was much different than mine; it actually started her senior year of high school when we attended “Pan-Hellenic Weekend.” This in itself was a mini-rush and HUGE eye opener to me as to how different Greek Life is in different parts of the country. Geoffrey and I both went down, thank goodness he had packed the best of his Vineyard Vines, and she her best of Lilly! Or we would have stuck out like a sore thumb. This was our introduction to school in the south. I don’t think I had ever been called “Ma’am” so much or had girls refer to my husband as “Sir.”
The weekend started off with an introduction from the Board of the Pan-Hellenic Association. Then we said good bye to our girls as they broke up in “tour groups” and we did the same thing. We went through all of houses in the sweltering heat. We stopped in each house for a 15 minute overview of their house; who they are, what they do for their philanthropy and a short skit. My husband and I walked out of at least 2 houses shaking our heads saying “nope not the house for her,” but we found that Rebeka being as well rounded as she was could have nicely fit into most of these houses. Although secretly I was hoping that she would want to join my house.
Rebeka and I had already been down to visit the University a few months earlier and stopped over at Alpha Delta Pi to introduce ourselves and to see the house; we did this at every school she applied to. For me it was a “hoot” to see the diversity of the sorority in various parts of the country. But in each it brought back a warm and “at home” feeling. I was hoping that Rebeka would have that “feeling” when she went to ADPi during her rush.
Pan Hellenic weekend was exhausting to say the least for both Rebeka and us. When we went home I understood that I needed to get my tush in gear and get going with “recs” for her, so I wrote to friends near and far in all of the sororities to ask that they write a letter of recommendation for Rebeka, I was fortunate to have had a bunch of friends who were happy to do this. Rebeka’s senior year ended, and summer came to a rapid end and Rebeka headed down south in early August 2006. Leaving her down there was one of the hardest things we had to do; just watching her thru the back of the taxi wave to us was heartbreaking. Although I promised her that I would return the following week for bid day, secretly crossing my fingers that she would be getting a bid from my house.
Rebeka called us daily to give us the updates of everything from her meticulously picked out clothing to her views on the houses that she toured. She fared very well during the two days of open house tours and was only dropped by one house. So she had some picking to do, she told me what houses she chose to go back to and ended with “of course ADPi.”
Next day was Philanthropy day where she went back to 10 houses which she chose to listen to their Philanthropy, I knew this was going to be an important one for Rebeka with as much as she had done in her life, I knew she wanted a house that put their money where their mouth was so to speak. She was very impressed with a few houses and narrowed her list down again.
Next day she went to the 6 houses which she kept on her list, I was a little surprised at a few of the houses she dropped but I told you philanthropy is important to her and I’m glad that we raised her to understand that giving begins at home.
Then came the hardest decision she had to make, cutting her list to a wee 3 houses for Preference. But that is what Preference is all about, that final chance to see if you can see yourself in that house, forever… After the final ceremony she and all 1500 other girls walked to the student union where they signed in and ranked the houses in their preference and they did this in total silence! This was mandatory, no one could talk to one another, it was made very clear to the girls that they needed to make this choice on their own. So she went and put her choices in order. After that she called me and was very teary eyed about all three houses. And then she had until 5 pm the next day to sit and wonder, “What house did I get into?” and me to wonder “Did she make the cut?” I felt like I was back at a pageant waiting to see if she made “top 10.”
It was at that time my plane was hitting the ground. I couldn’t wait to see her although it had only been a week; it had been such a long week for her mentally. I now can appreciate why they do this in the south before school actually begins it is sooo intense that they don’t want to mess with the academics which I was happy about.
At 4 o’clock Rebeka had to report to the NFL sized football stadium and look for her touring group she started out with. Each girl found her group and her “spot” which had an envelope with her name on it and “fate” inside. Would it be number 1, her favorite, number 2 or number 3? There was a small ceremony and then they were asked to pick up their envelopes which they had been sitting on till this point and open them. There were cheers and screams you could hear all over sorority row. Parents, friends, and all members of sororities and fraternities waited anxiously outside their houses to see who the “next generations, newest and brightest” would be.
I was on the street corner just outside Rebeka’s dorm. The girls came running out of the stadium in alphabetic order… It was something to see, like the “running of the bull!” TV Stations were even there filming it. Presidents and various other officers of each house were holding up HUGE life-size letters with the new pledges behind them running… The first house was Alpha Chi Omega which I knew Rebeka hadn’t chosen and next was Alpha Delta Pi, I was standing there watching and waiting and praying that she made the cut, and so they ran and ran and ran and ran, and my heart sank it looked like 100 girls, I almost started crying because I thought o crap, “first runner up again,” and then the very very last one running was my Rebeka, you know her and the heat! But there she was… An Alpha Delta Pi pledge, I was so proud because now we shared one more bond, mother, daughter and now sister forever!! Pi love…