By Mateo Huerta ’25
Hello one and all, welcome to the Tribe! This is something you may have heard many times, or only have for the first time now.
My name is Mateo Huerta, and I am a rising sophomore! I intend on declaring my major this upcoming fall in Government and minoring in History, with an intent to do the 5-Year Master of Education program after my undergrad (I will be providing my email at the end if you’re interested in that subject specifically). While I am involved quite extensively in the university, the commitment that is most relevant to this post is my involvement in the social fraternity: Sigma Alpha Epsilon.
There are commonly, and quite frankly well placed, stereotypes about fraternity and sorority life at colleges. They are places where students are hazed, forced to drink, smoke themselves to serious injury or even death, or potentially become another news story. While this is a risk at any institution with its chapters, there is still a way to get involved without putting yourself too heavily at risk.
For those who have skepticism about joining a frat or sorority, I have been in your shoes. I only recently rushed my fraternity this past spring, so I wasn’t in the large group of students who rushed in the fall for all the orgs. Fall rush can be suffocating, but the processes are very different depending on what you are rushing. For example:
- If you are rushing a Sorority, a formal rush entails five separate stages of rush: Open Houses, Philanthropy, Sisterhood, Preference, and Bid Day! You, unlike with frats, must view every single sorority at the start and slowly narrow down your list as the rush process continues. As the events go on, you eventually reach your final few sororities you are sure you would be happy with being a part of and accept the bid of the sorority you like the most!
- If you are rushing a Fraternity, you only need to rush the fraternities you are interested in, not all 15+ (more with the NPHC) chapters. If you want to rush all the chapters you are entirely welcome to, but if you only rush 3 then it’s also okay. You go to as many events as your schedule permits until you eventually receive a bid from the ones whom you have rushed.
- An extra note to add is that until you accept your bid, you can pull out of the rush process at any time. There is no harm nor foul if you decide to end your rush whether it be for emotional, physical, social, or mental health reasons.
In addition to the fall rush, there is also a rush in the spring called COB for sororities and a spring rush for fraternities. COB stands for “Continuous Open Bidding” and, unlike formal rush, you can choose which sororities you wish to rush for. You go on “dates” and to events with sisters and can potentially receive a bid from the one you like the most! Fraternities still allow you to pick and choose which chapters are the most appealing to you and you go to either all or just one or two of the events they host. Both processes can be far more relaxed than the fall rush and allow you to assess whether you have the availability to include a social fraternity in your schedule, especially as it can be a consistent, yet minor time commitment throughout your years.
Now you may be wondering, what about hazing? It is against both university and state law for fraternities or sororities to haze you, and you will learn just how much can be considered hazing when you go to the mandatory Fraternity & Sorority Life (FSL) event about each rush. If you ever at all feel hazed by any of the fraternities or sororities you rush, you are not only allowed to but encouraged to report the chapter to FSL and the university. We want you to feel safe and welcomed either as a brother or sister here at William & Mary, and it is a high priority of ours to ensure this. As someone who personally never drinks, smokes, or anything that would be characteristic of a fraternity, I have never been forced to do anything I was not comfortable with both during and after rush.
The only other thing I could add is that by joining a fraternity or sorority, you enter a semi-exclusive community at W&M and can make friends with students in other chapters along the way! I have a wide variety of friends in both frats and sororities that I would have never met or had the chance to meet had I never joined SAE. On top of this, you also gain an alumni network both from the university and across the nation that can assist you in your career endeavors and provide wonderful recommendations simply by being your brother or sister. While rush can be stressful, it is well worth the commitment for the brotherhood/sisterhood and the community it brings with it.
If you have any further questions about fraternity and sorority life or even just college as a whole, don’t be shy to reach out, I’d love to have a chat with you!