Sororities – Are Rush and Recruitment the Same Thing?

Sorority recruitment for the Panhellenic community on your campus may be called “Recruitment” or “Rush.” The word “rush” was coined in the 1920s when students who were upperclass members of fraternities and sororities would rush the train platforms where new students arrived at college.   In the 1990s, Panhellenic groups began changing the terminology for this process to more closely acknowledge the process at hand: membership recruitment.  

Your campus may call it either recruitment or rush, and you’ll probably hear both terms used interchangeably. It might be easiest if you consider “recruitment” to be the formal name and “rush” to be the informal name.

Rush is used both as a noun and a verb. In the noun form, a woman can go through the sorority recruitment process called “rush.” As a verb, “rush” means to participate in sorority recruitment. A woman can “rush” a certain chapter, or a sorority sister can “rush” a potential member. This does not mean that one person hurries another along. It means the sorority sister and prospective member are in the process of determining if they are a good match.

If you are planning to participate in sorority recruitment on your campus, you are in good company. No matter the size of the Greek community on your campus, there are thousands of women in the same position as you right now. About 80,000 women join National Panhellenic Conference (NPC) sororities across North America each year.  There are 2,937 collegiate sorority chapters on 650 campuses across the US and Canada. 

Despite an economic recession, the number of women joining sororities has not decreased.  College and university campuses across North America are continuing to see a rising interest in sorority communities.

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