By: Emily Williamson
Hardin-Simmons’ Greek life clubs began rushing season at the end of August and have been going strong since then in preparation for pledging season, which will be taking place in the fall semester this year.
Pledging traditionally occurs in the spring, but the change in scheduling was necessary due to Homecoming events being moved to the spring semester. The rushing and pledging process is also different this year because of the COVID rules put in place by the Hardin-Simmons administration. Those involved in Greek life are required to make accommodations for these rules when planning events.
“[Rush events] were all planned pretty quickly since pledging was moved to fall and… we are required to stay socially distant,” Lambda Alpha Tau rush chair August Zett said. “We tried our best to have as many of our rush events outside so we did not have to be as worried about the virus spreading.”
In addition to social distancing, clubs have been instructed to require masks and also be cautious when serving food at events. Clubs have responded by providing prepackaged items whenever possible and having gloves worn when serving food. Rush chairs and club members have maintained a positive perspective on these necessary adjustments.
“… [R]ushing isn’t about the flashy decorations or the Instagram pictures,” said Corinne Whitaker, Phi Phi Phi rush chair. “It’s about making connections with the people who are interested in our club and making them feel welcomed and invited into our [club].”
The efforts by rush chairs have been well received by rushes. “I have met so many new friends through rushing, which I’m really excited about because it’s been tough to make friends in classes because of the coronavirus,” freshman rush Carson Hays said.
Despite the coronavirus and a new pledging schedule, club members have still encouraged other HSU students to join a social club. Many students have taken the steps to rush, finding an outlet for community even with the necessary mandates of protecting against COVID-19.
“I would highly encourage anyone who is interested in learning about the local community and wanting to be involved on and off campus to join a social club,” Theta Alpha Zeta President Tyler Burchette said. “Relationships that are meaningful is the core value of Greek Life and walking with each other by faith is our ultimate goal.”
The rushing season concluded with two events on Oct. 14 and 15, Preference Day and Bid Day. Preference Day, or Pref Day, is a new event which will help organize the bidding process. Rushes who wish to pledge fill out an interest form indicating which club they would most like to receive a bid from.
“We just want to make sure that not only does the club want the rush but the rush also wants the club,” Greek Council President Jenna Morris said. “It also ensures that anyone who has put effort into attending rush events gets a bid.”
Bid day activities continued with a few modifications to original schedules, but the same events as in previous years. These included risk management training, bid acceptance, Bid Day parties and other traditional events hosted by individual clubs.