by Taylor Deer
As human beings we live in a rushed world. There is no time for slowness anymore. We’ve been high on the mentality “what’s next” for so long that we’ve become addicted to its pace. The early bird gets the worm, you’re first or you’re last, I’ll sleep when I’m dead, etc. We created fast food chains, drive through liquor stores, take-out restaurants, freaky fast delivery, TV dinners, and microwavable steaks. The average meal we eat at a fast food restaurant lasts 11 short minutes. TED talks were invented to make knowledge sexy again and only last 20 minutes, and to tell you the truth I’ve definitely fast-forwarded through some to get to “the point”. Our cellphones are faster than ever. Much faster, in fact, than the computers that landed Apollo 11 spacecraft on the moon… and I’m still pissed when it takes 5 seconds to download something instead of 3 seconds “like it should”. We get inaccurate news from outlets that specialize in short segmented video clips because “ain’t nobody got time” to actually search for the truth. Why read anymore when you can get the cliff notes from someone else?
We eat faster.
We exercise faster.
We learn faster.
We think faster.
We move faster.
We drive faster.
We enjoy faster.
We need faster.
And were still not satisfied. So you tell me…. Where does it end? When will it be fast enough? Do we have an end in sight? We just take these efficiencies as they come blindly because, well, it’s just faster I guess.
Fraternity Rush is a product of our world’s fast mentality. We have found a “quicker” way to bring in more members than previous systems so that we can move on to do “more important” things. Isn’t that completely messed up? The ONE thing that fuels our organizations is the members. Every ounce of good that a fraternity or sorority has done for this world has a direct tie to a member within the organization.
And sometimes we spend a total of 4 days on recruiting new members.
Recruitment is hurried. It’s fast. We maximize our efficiency by militantly training our members on tactics that speed up the relationship building process. It takes too long to show someone the deep benefits of brotherhood/sisterhood so we focus on cheap tricks that win people over quickly. Chapters realized that they could recruit more members in a shorter period of time by turning the slow process of meeting and getting to know someone, building a relationship, introducing them to their friends, discovering a deep connection to their character, making sure they are making the decision to join based on their connection to the organizations values and ritual, then finally making sure they understand the full commitment they are making not to the chapter, but to the fraternal world as a whole into…..
Wine and Cigar night.
Turf and Surf.
$35,000 recruitment budgets.
Skydiving with the brothers.
We are in a rush.
You only rush when you don’t care about something. We rush through things to move on to other things that are more important. We might favor a quick meal at McDonalds no matter how unhealthy it is because were in a rush to get back to the project we were working on. The same could be said for Greek Life; chapters have become more focused on their productivity than on their members. Which is the root of all evil in Greek Life. What we should have been learning (especially in the last few years) is that no amount of money raised, community service hours performed, or awards won can make up for our members (that we ourselves invited in) that hurt others.
Furthermore, I believe that we as people, especially in today’s world, are pressured by our culture to rush through things in the belief that it gives us more time to do the things that we want to. But in actuality, that just allows us to try and fit something else in to that free time we just created. Our lives turn into trying to beat the clock. In Greek Life today our chapters are pressured by each other and this mindset to do bigger and better things in order to stay competitive with the other chapters. Chapter members feel the need to do this because our culture rewards their behavior with “Most Money Raised,” “Most Community Service Hours,” “Chapter of the Year,” “Most Member Involvement,” or” Greek Week Winners!”.
The counter-argument of “So you’re saying we shouldn’t reward our members for their efforts?” is a simple one. My question back is: when did raising money, giving back to the community, getting good grades, and supporting other groups stop being intrinsically rewarding to our students? If our community is only driven to do good to win a plaque, then we need to do some rethinking as a community.
Therefore, I believe that we can’t just attack something like Rush by itself. Rush is a product of something larger. It’s just a word that can be easily interchanged with another word that means the same thing. What we need to do is to intentionally work to combat our culture’s mindset of rushing through the important things for more productivity. Combat the culture of blind praise to speed and perpetual search for achievement. Therein lies our solution to save the Greek system.