At a time when everyone wants to talk about what the upcoming Recruitment season could be, it’s best to focus on what Rush is and is not.
Recruitment speculation is fine, fun, and most of the time, pointless. What sorority will be landing the hottest prospects? What fraternities will lose their top-tier status? Who knows? All we know is that right now, houses all around campus are faced with the uphill task of replacing some key veterans, and the prospects coming in to fill those empty roster spots make the 2012 Nittany Lions look like the ’95 Huskers.
But amongst the flood of freshmen that will drown every recruitment chair with stupid questions like “How much are dues?” “What’s the deal with the topsiders?” and “Is this house a peanut allergy-friendly environment?”, there will be a few diamonds. It’s those 5-star prospects that your fraternity is going to need to carry your house into the future.
In a lot of ways, the college football and fraternity recruiting analogy actually holds up pretty well.
Most football programs in the nation have established a consistent pipeline which they seem to tap into every year. Michigan has the state of Pennsylvania, Texas A&M has tapped into Louisiana as of late, and BYU has the market locked down on blonde-haired.
Likewise, most houses consistently crush their pipeline that they have built up over decades. Our house dominated the Catholic League. Others have the 18-21 year old Ed Hardy demographic so secure in their cargo pocket that no one else even bothers fruitlessly competing with them anymore. Those pipelines are your bread and butter, and that is primary numero uno. It’s like an outdated Under Armour commercial reference- you must protect your house.
Every welcome week before Rush, all the fraternities on campus tries to replicate Nevin Shapiro’s Floridian success stories, but only a few actually understand what his methods were and why they work. Any house full of jabronis can open up their doors, hire some $50 DJ, and fill their backyard up with foam for hundreds of geeds to frolic around in, as the beats of Nelly play all night long.
See, it’s not about the size of the party or number of recruits there; it’s all about the quality of the experience. Keep it exclusive. Shapiro didn’t let Willy the Can Man and Fatty McGooPants water down his players’ expectations; he kept it VIP only. Your pre-Rush parties should be nothing more than the top recruits you’ve landed over the summer, your best Brothers, and the finest collection of morally ambiguous girls that your campus has to offer. That’s it.
You’re selling kids on an experience, but not all experiences can immediately be understood.
And to all the prospective rushees out there, heed my warning. Stay off of Greek life gossip websites. Those cesspools are filled with nothing but middle-tier creeps who spend their sad, miserable lives taking shots at the houses above and below them trying to make themselves seem cool. They sit there alone, reading up on “fratty” fashion advice and thinking that this will somehow elevate their status with sororities on campus from the level at which they currently reside, that level of course being right around the floor next to the senior bathroom toilet.
It’s that time of the season where you have to start cranking up the heat. Two-a-day drinking binges are almost over (not really), opening kickoff is in a matter of weeks, and the key to success is always preparation.