Everything You Need to Know About Fraternities

Frats. Should you join them? Depends on who you are.

If you’re more of a quiet guy who isn’t much of a partier, then I wouldn’t recommend it. If however you like to party, then rush!

Personally, I have rushed some frats (haven’t gotten in) but I can share some insight about frats based on my experience rushing and what I’ve heard from friends.

Rushing

At Cal Poly, rush week has to be completely dry. It’s becoming more and more common for fraternities to have dry rush week.

I like having rush week be that way, so that way people who aren’t really comfortable with drinking (like myself) aren’t pressured.

Rush week then is mostly just social activities. My experience involved things like LARPing, playing poker and watching football.

It’s a great way to meet new people, I certainly met a lot of new friends in the frats I rushed.

The thing about rushing is that in a lot of frats, all it takes is one person not to like you and you don’t get a pledge bid. And it could be anything- whether it’s how you look, what you’re wearing, basically anything that doesn’t fit their image of an ideal pledge member. So be prepared in case you happen to not fit their ideal image.

If there’s anything I have learned from my experience in rushing, it’s this- don’t put all of your eggs in one basket. I always just rushed one fraternity for all of rush week, and I realize now that that was a mistake.

For one, the more frats you rush, the more likely you’re going to get in. Plus, if you only rush one frat for the entire week, then they know that you’d easily accept a pledge bid if it was offered to you, so their priorities would turn elsewhere.

Also, I’ve learned that legacies (as in a family member was in the frat) don’t help. It helps if you have a sibling or a cousin in the frat already, but if it’s like my case where my grandpa was in the frat, it doesn’t help. Don’t bank on legacies.

Pledge

I haven’t had the opportunity to pledge, but based on what I’ve heard it’s a very grueling process. It’s like taking another class.

For one thing, as a pledge you’re the frat’s slave. If the frat just had a rather messy party, expect yourself to be the one cleaning it up. If frat members need a designated driver, be prepared to be the driver.

Friends of mine in a frat at Cal Poly have told me that some of the pledge activities they had to do included interviewing every brother in the chapter and standing blindfolded listening to one song over and over again for a couple of hours.

A lot of frats engage in hazing, which is really the dark side of fraternities. Hazing is outlawed in campuses, but it still happens anyway. Some schools, like Cal Poly, have relatively tame hazing. Others, like USC, have rather hardcore hazing.

Here are some examples of hazing that are as bad as they get:

• Forced or coerced alcohol or other drug consumption • Beating, paddling, or other forms of assault • Branding • Forced or coerced ingestion of vile substances or concoctions • Burning

• Water intoxication • Expecting abuse or mistreatment of animals • Public nudity • Expecting illegal activity • Bondage • Abductions/kidnaps • Exposure to cold weather or extreme heat without appropriate protection

I’m not saying that you shouldn’t join a frat because of hazing, but I’m just showing you worst case scenarios so you can be prepared for them in case they happen.

Member

If you survive and pledge and can afford paying dues (frats are expensive), then congratulations you’re a member!

As a member you can take part in parties that the frat throws, go on retreats, participate in sports games among other frats, events with sororities, be a part of leadership positions, etc.

There are certainly a lot of benefits to becoming a member of a frat, mainly that you get to meet a lot of new people and make connections that will help you find a job later in life.

But ultimately, to be a member of a frat, what it really comes down to is if you like partying. If you like to party, then you’re set. If not, you may want to reconsider.

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Aaron Bandler

Aaron Bandler

Aaron Bandler is a sophomore at California Polytechnic State University San Luis Obispo pursuing a Journalism major and an Economics minor. Aaron's main passion is politics. As a staunch conservative Republican, he advocates for conservatism every day of his life. Aaron is also an avid sports fan who passionately follows the San Francisco Giants and 49ers. Outside of sports and politics, Aaron enjoys playing guitar and listening to classic rock music like The Who and Led Zeppelin as well as hanging out with family and friends.
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