Fraternity Recruitment on a Dry Campus

Nick Dentinger

Greek life plays a major role in many students’ college experiences. One of, if not the most important pursuit among fraternity members is recruitment, also known as “rush.” It usually lasts a week or two at the beginning of a semester, during which fraternities and sororities host events for people who are interested in joining Greek life or at least learning more about it. These events help people meet the members and learn what Greek life all is about. On most college campuses, alcohol and partying play a huge role in the rush process. But my fraternity operates on a dry campus where we do not have that luxury. There are no exceptions. Here’s how rush differs on a dry campus. 

The main difference is, we can’t have any party for an event nor have alcohol present during events. For most fraternities at U.S. colleges and universities, rush week is a nonstop week-long party, usually thrown together on the fly. However, on a smaller, dry campus, our fraternity is forced into advanced planning and a priced list of two weeks’ worth of events usually held at a series of restaurants, arcades, and attractions near IUS. This is way harder to pull off and have the events run smoothly, considering all the things that can go wrong when we’re at the mercy of all kinds of external factors. These are things completely out of our control, such as bad weather, businesses temporarily closing, higher prices since the time the event was planned, and much more. At these businesses, the owners and their employees ultimately control what happens and how long we can stay. Or, we can’t afford to renegotiate the terms and conditions surrounding these recruiting events. If it were up to me, I would make backup plans—just in case. 

Another difference is how rush is advertised on a small, dry campus like IUS. At bigger college campuses, the students interested in Greek life will come up to you. While they still advertise, they just naturally have bigger pools of students to pick from. This is not the case at IUS. Every day during rush week, members of my fraternity and I would spend hours in certain areas on campus, such as chatting up students at game tables near The Commons cafeteria, bringing our Xboxes down to play and talk to passersby, and even setting up a fake, empty pong near the clock outside. We chatted up anyone and everyone to see if they were interested, if they’d be a good fit, and try to get people out to that night’s off-campus event. This was a very difficult task at times—hardly anyone was in the mood to talk about anything—and most students just told us to kick rocks. Some events even had no new people show up, which was anything but a good time. IUS is almost like a community college because so many students go to class and leave without bothering to even check out any organizations that can expand their overall experience here. For those of us trying to recruit new members, all we can do is keep trying.