Everything you wanted to know about fraternity recruitment

Men’s rush week can be confusing and chaotic for those who aren’t part of a fraternity. Rush itself is overwhelming because of the number of fraternity members a potential new member will meet and talk to during one week. While you learn all about the protocol and rules during the rush assembly, knowing what to expect ahead of time can help alleviate any uncertainties of the rush process. As a part of the TMN series about Greek Life recruitment, reporters Grace Bueckendorf, Chad Davis and Taylor Lay sat down with seniors Forrest Wilsey and Adam Kuebler, Interfraternity Council members, to get exclusive advice and information for potential new members.

About Forrest Wilsey, IFC President —

Wilsey joined Tau Kappa Epsilon during fall 2012 and currently serves as the IFC President. As president, he facilitates general and executive IFC meetings, helps establish the values of the council and makes sure organizations stay on the right track by having an open conversation between fraternities and the council.

About Adam Kuebler, IFC Vice President of Recruitment —

Kuebler, currently serving as IFC Vice President of Recruitment, joined Alpha Gamma Rho during fall 2013. He deals with everything involving both fall and spring rush, including recruitment violations and making sure every fraternity is on the same page. Kuebler is pictured below during Greek Week last spring.

The Discussion —

Editor’s Note: All responses have been paraphrased and terms have been clarified.

What is the Interfraternity Council (IFC)?

Forrest Wilsey — IFC is the governing body for all the fraternities on campus. We watch out for any infractions during rush and in general. An infraction is anything that goes against our constitution or the values we uphold as a council.

Is signing up for rush a commitment to join a fraternity?

FW — Signing up for rush is most definitely not a commitment to join a fraternity. Rather, it’s an opportunity to test drive what fraternity life is like.

What do you need to do in order to rush?

FW — First, potential new members will fill out our form to be on the list for rush and visit our website for more information. Then they’ll be going to the rush assembly, which is where we explain all the rules of rush, everything they’ll be doing over the course of the week and more importantly, what fraternities aren’t allowed to do during rush week. Directly after the assembly, they go around and speak with representatives from each fraternity. As long as they completely understand the rules and they adhere to them, then rush is just a matter of going to each fraternity’s events and seeing which one they match up the best with.

If I don’t sign up for the rush assembly, can I still rush?

FW — Yes, you can, but you will have to meet with a member of the IFC executive board, preferably Adam Kuebler, head of recruitment, and show proof that you have met with each fraternity at least once. The way to show proof of meeting with a fraternity is having a president or recruitment chair sign a form that we will give you.

What fees are associated with rush?

Adam Kuebler — There is no rush fee. Any fee would be if you join a fraternity — then their dues become your fee, but there is no actual rush fee.

Should I pay attention to stereotypes of organizations?

AK — We don’t want you to pay attention to stereotypes at all. Some freshmen come in with an image of a fraternity that they see in movies, but that’s not what we are at all. If freshmen listen to the stereotypes, they could miss an opportunity by not going to a fraternity that they may fit in the best with.

What happens during rush week?

AK — During rush week, you begin with the rush assembly on the first day. After that, each fraternity has a schedule with different events. Certain fraternities have specific events they stick to each rush. For example, one fraternity likes to host a bacon night, so they serve anything and everything to do with bacon. Earlier in the week, the events are open and anyone signed up for rush can attend. Later in the week, most events become invite only. These events are where fraternities want to get to know you on a deeper level and then consider offering you a bid.

What do fraternities look for when it comes to new members?

AK — It depends a lot on each fraternity. Some fraternities look for athletes or involvement in a specific major or interest group — they’re not only recruiting those students, but that’s what they kind of look for. But a good fraternity standard is a guy who’s going to represent your fraternity well once he joins, maintain a good GPA and stay at Truman for his full four years if he’s a freshman.

FW — It doesn’t at all have to be a matter of matching personalities exactly, but you’re looking for a group of people you can get along with and who you’re comfortable calling your brothers for the rest of your time here at Truman.

What can’t fraternities do during rush?

FW — The rules regarding rush are basically about two things. The first one is degradation of women. Women are allowed to participate in rush if they’re not Panhellenic women, but they have to be treated with the utmost respect. Most of the other rules revolve around dirty rushing, which essentially is doing anything that might inhibit another fraternity from getting the most number of men possible. It can be as simple as saying, ‘Oh, that fraternity over there is a bunch of losers.’ Other examples include promising a bid or a scholarship.

AK — The other rule that we stick to is a zero tolerance dry rush policy — so no alcohol is allowed at any events where potential new members are present. We have this policy because that’s not the reason someone should join a fraternity. They need to get to know the guys on a real level where alcohol is not involved.

What happens if a fraternity breaks one of the rush rules?

FW — If we hear about anything that does not fall under those guidelines, the fraternity would go immediately to the judicial board. The board would determine the sanction based on the severity of the offense.

What things should I talk or not talk about at rush events?

AK — There’s really nothing you shouldn’t talk about. We encourage potential new members and active members to direct any questions about a specific fraternity to that specific fraternity. We’d rather not have a fraternity talk about another fraternity, in case they misrepresent them in any way. But potential new members can ask whatever they need to know to make them feel comfortable.

How can I make a good impression?

FW — A lot of the fraternities are looking for the most honest guys they can find. From there, they want people that will match up with them more or those they get along with. The biggest inhibitor to that is if people are dishonest or are misrepresenting themselves.

What should I wear to the formal events?

FW —  The formal events are typically business casual, but it depends on the fraternity. Most fraternities would recommend wearing at least nicer pants and a dress shirt. Others may require you to go all the way up to wearing a blazer.

How do I accept a bid?

AK — First of all, make sure you’re in your room Thursday night, because fraternity members will begin passing out bids at midnight. On Friday we have bid signing from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. Potential new members will come to  the SUB, and myself, Forrest or another IFC exec member will be there. They will sign the bid in front of us indicating that they are joining that fraternity. Once they sign the bid, they are a member of that fraternity, or a potential or a new recruit — whatever that fraternity wants to call them.

Do you have anything else that you feel needs to be clarified or that you wish you knew going into rush?

AK — If you rush in the fall and you don’t find that fit, we welcome you to rush in the spring as well and even in the following fall depending on when you would like to rush a fraternity. No fraternity is going to turn you away just because you didn’t join in the fall. You have the option and it’s your choice when you’d like to join if you’re offered a bid.

FW — If you have any sort of hesitation at all about whether or not you want to join a fraternity, you might as well go through rush so you can find out if it’s for you or not. Going in with any sort of preconceived notion is one of the most disastrous things you can do for yourself. Because at the end of the day, you don’t want to sit and ask yourself, “Should I have done that?” So it’s better to just take a chance and see what happens.