Rush is almost upon the University. Soon,
Washtenaw Avenue and Hill Street will be filled with throngs of
freshmen, eager to join the University’s Greek system. For
about two weeks these rushees will travel from house to house, in
search of a new group of friends. Get ready, it is quite a
Joining a fraternity or a sorority is also quite a decision for
freshmen to make in their first weeks at school. For this reason,
the Greeks should postpone Rush until winter term, even though
practical considerations have made taking this step very difficult
for the Greeks.
The concept of Rush is not inherently flawed. The Greek system
is like any other organization, not for everyone but a good fit for
some. It is the timing of Rush that is so hard on these
unsuspecting freshmen. After just two weeks at college, they are
forced to make a decision that will affect the remainder of their
life at the University. Adjusting to the new environment away from
home is difficult enough.
Because freshmen do not yet have their bearings, a number of
students who would like to rush presumably do not, and a number who
later decide the Greek system is not for them do. It is therefore
in the system’s best interest to delay Rush, so that the
students who rush are genuinely interested in and committed to the
Just last year, the University tried to influence the Greek
system to delay Rush until winter term. Even though the Greek
system is an autonomous institution independent of the University,
the administration attempted to change its recruitment schedule.
Ultimately, this decision is up to the Greek system itself, not the
University and not Vice President for Student Affairs E. Royster
Asking the Greek system to postpone Rush is not practical at
this point. Given that house and apartment leases are signed in the
fall, the Greek system has no choice but to follow suit and hold
Rush early in the year. The Greeks argue that enrollment would
plummet if potential new members found other means of housing
during the fall. Financially, this would be devastating for them.
Low enrollment would cause fraternity and sorority dues to
skyrocket, further compounding the problem.
The overarching problem that makes serious progress on this
issue difficult is the tight housing market in Ann Arbor. The
process begins too early. In fact, a number of students have
already begun to consider their options for housing next year.
Therefore, in order to delay Rush until the winter term, the time
frame for signing housing leases must be delayed as well. If the
University is truly serious about delaying Rush, it needs to do
more than merely exert pressure on the Greek system.
A consensus seems to be forming that Rush should indeed be
delayed until winter term for the sake of not only the freshman,
but the Greek system as well. The need to delay Rush is yet another
example of why the University needs to exert its tremendous
influence on the city of Ann Arbor and its landlords to improve the
housing environment for students.