JMU fraternity- gingerbread house

It’s the most wonderful time of the year: rush season.

Eager freshman and sophomores engage with strangers they want to spend the rest of their college careers with. It’s an odd and sometimes awkward experience. But it is worth it.

Greek life is awesome at JMU, but it isn’t for everyone. JMU has tons of organizations that cater to different students’ needs and desires. But, if you are interested in fraternities – keep reading.

I pledged as a second semester freshman. I looked around and went to a few rush events my first semester, but I wasn’t ready to commit to a brotherhood that quickly. I waited it out and officially rushed after winter break.

I was introduced to fraternities during FROG week. I went out to a few different fraternity gatherings off campus. This was my first week of school, and I was impressed by the social scene. I had a fantastic two weeks living it up and meeting new people. It was at this point that I decided I wanted to join a fraternity, I just didn’t know which one.

There are a few ways to learn more about and pick the fraternity you want to join. One method is the “drop-in” method. You can walk into a fraternity party, meet brothers, and express your interest to rush. Swap contact information with brothers and have them invite you out to the week’s events.

You can also go with the connection route. Know someone in a fraternity? It can be someone from high school, class, or a club. If you have a friend in a fraternity, they can make meeting the brothers a lot easier. I rushed with my friend, and he knew the recruitment chair. It gave me a solid point of contact that made rush feel much more comfortable.

Attending Student Org Night is also a distinct possibility. Recognized fraternities typically set up booths with officers recruiting new members. Talk to the brothers manning the table. They will keep you informed on rush events. Spring 2015 Student Org Night just passed, but there will be another in the fall.

If none of these methods work for you, send a Facebook message to the rush chair of whichever fraternities you are looking to join. They’ll appreciate your interest and keep you informed. Most fraternities have rush pages each semester with their calendar of events and updates.

I highly recommend exploring different fraternities. You’ll never know what you fit into best if you only visit one place. That being said, you don’t have time to meet in depth with every fraternity. Talk to friends and older students to learn fraternities’ reputations. Go to as many rush events in the beginning of the semester as possible. This will help you narrow down the list.

Once you have a solid grasp on the persona of the organizations, pick two or three fraternities to focus on. There will undoubtedly be a few fraternities that you can see yourself joining. Focus on rushing these fraternities. The key to rush is meeting and making friends with as many brothers in an organization as possible. All brothers have the right to vote you in or out. You need to make an impression on as many brothers as possible. This way, when voting happens, you’ll have brothers in your corner putting in positive remarks about you.

Go to as many events as you can. Whether it’s watching college basketball, playing cornhole in the front yard, or tossing the football around with some brothers, you have the ability to socialize with an entire fraternity. Use these events to get to know the brothers.

The most important piece of advice for rush week is to be yourself. The rush process is as much about you determining if you want to join a fraternity as it is the fraternity deciding if they want you.

Be yourself and meet as many brothers as you can, and you’ll find the right fraternity for you.

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