w w w w w U
he liked the 76ers if he was from New York. He explained that
when he was a tyke, his room was decorated in a 'Spirit of
1976' motif: "you know, a Spirit of '76 bedspread, red,white,
and blue walls, the liberty lamp.. ." Yeah, sure.
It was getting dark and cold when I left that house, and I was
cursing myself for only wearing shorts and a t-shirt. I walked
by a house that had steaks, so of course I went in. By this
time I was so fucking tired of shaking hands and answering
"Rush questions" that I tried to take my steak and beer and sit
in the corner and eat by myself. Nope. Right when I sat down
Tom came out of nowhere and gave me the bum Rush. He
turned out to be an alright guy though and told me how he
disliked Rush himself. We talked about how hard it was to get
to know somebody in only five days. By now I was feeling
drunk enough to brave a walk across campus to some other
fraternities (in order to insure a diverse selection), so I left.
On my way I relieved myself on the side of President
Duderstadt's house which somehow seemed appropriate. By the
time I reached the sixth house, they were out of food, so I
considered just leaving right away. On the sign-in card they
asked me for my grade point average. I put 3.8. I noticed a
brother was watching the Bush/Dukakis debate on television
so I went over and watched the debate (there was no sound) and
surveyed the room.
The brothers here were pretty subdued; they didn't come up
to you and introduce themselves or shuffle you around. I felt a
lot like I was at a country club. I went over and introduced
myself to someone and he asked me who I would vote for in
November. I said Dukakis. He said, non-confrontationally, that
the majority of the house was probably for Bush. A brother
who heard him say that interjected, "Except for Jake." The guy
I was talking to smirked and said, "Oh yeah, Jake." They both
laughed. I left.
It was now 9:45, and I decided to try to hit one more house
before 10. I went into the next house I passed by on my way
home. Inside there were seven guys sitting around in the living
room of the worst looking house I'd been in all day, watching
a movie. A man was being violently beaten up on screen. I
got myself a beer and sat down to watch. Near the end of the
movie, a beautiful woman appeared onscreen. The brother's,
who had been almost completely silent until then, engaged in
a conversation frighteningly similar to this:
Brother #1: (sharp intake of breath) Wow, she's hot!
Brother #2: (agreeing) Yeah.. .
Brother #3: Hey, look at her teeth! They're so big!
Brother #2: (agreeing emphatically) Yeah...
Brother #3: And so clean!! Look how clean her teeth are!
Brother #1: (truly mesmerized) Wow!
After the credits rolled to an end, one of the guys noticed
me, asked me to sign something, and gave me a bowl of chili.
I love chili. This chili was really good. This was my favorite
place so far, so I stayed and watched about half of Platoon and
My general impression of fraternities has changed some-
what. Fraternities aren't all the same. Each one I went to was
distinctly different. No one was rude to me or blew me off. I
got free beer and food from these surrogate brothers who aren't
even mine, while my own brother won't even loan me ten
DAY TWO, MONDAY
For the rest of the week Rush is only from 7-10 pm. Typi-
cal Rush strategy is to narrow down the number of houses you
go to tonight to two or three. If you are thinking about check-
ing out a house that you didn't hit on Sunday, tonight is the
night to do it.
If you think about it, I thought to myself on the way to the
first house of the night, from what I've seen so far a fraternity
is nothing but a group of guys who hang out together, drink
beer, and look for female company.
With that in mind, I entered my first house of the evening.
It was one of the houses I'd been to yesterday. A small house
(about 50 members), these guys were a low-key bunch without
any specific 'look.' Because there were less people milling
about, it was easier to talk to people.
I got into a long conversation with one senior about the
Greek System in general. When I asked him why he joined a
fraternity, he told me that he had rushed because a friend had
convinced him to go out rushing with him, and since he didn't
want to pay for Sunday dinner anyhow, he went. He said he
came to this house, liked the guys who lived in it, and kept
coming back all week. He got a bid and accepted it.
Later I asked him what he thought of the stereotype of
meet a lot of guys at Rush,
with personalities, so cou
about yourself that will m
for a second. I showed him
Next I went to a house I
pretty big house, with ove
rushees here, some eagerly
obviously just drinking as
that this was one of the mc
To me, this house was 1
only in terms of interests b
backgrounds of its active
been to seemed to have s
one didn't. After my third I
DAY 3, TUESDA
Tonight I went back to
night, but didn't go to la:
around and meet a lot of th
you've got to meet as mai
can form an opinion about
you in their house or not. I
It seems kind of ridiculi
kind of person you are afte
sation. If you were to go
talked to all 50 of them d
without taking a break, you
minutes. When I asked a b
told me the Rush process w
but there was no other way
At 8:30, a sorority came
They clapped their hands a
drank beer. When they fini
dered to pick a woman anc
room, someone behind me'
my best to "contain" mysel
was glad to meet her. She sa
I went back to the guys' s
I guess you'd call the frati
there, I think a couple got er
formed a circle around this
faced significant other a (
kissed. We rejoiced.
Most of the sorority left
seriously. I stood around a
passed around a bottle of 2
drink, we had to bay at th
want to know.
After about an hour of dri
to serenade sororities. It w
up to a house, the women
and waiting at the open fr
into the entrance way. The
the stairway or were stand
sang. We sang. We left.
The thing that I hate abo
to be accepted) act as if
they're assholes. It doesn'1
could like every single pers
50. True, humans are socia
guys that I picked to be in
minute talk I had with ther
DAY 4, WEDNES
Tonight I went back to t
night. It was gin and tonic
the first half an hour I spent
DAY 5, THURSD
I tried to go back to the
Tuesday, but their last nigt
vite. Devastated, I went bac
This was the last night c
tired. Someone explained
hash. Rushees were urged t
I was sick of shaking har
by now. I realized that joir
what I wanted, so I kind of v
My Rush experience was
by Sunday. Not surprising
phone call - it was the Ru
The photos do not necessarily represent fraternities discussed in the article.
By Stoney Jones
T he University of Michigan Greek System. Some
people love it, some hate it. Everybody has their own
opinion. Traditions, friendship, and excellence, or
snobbery, stupidity, and bullshit? People who like to
get together and party, or small-minded idiots who stick together,
so they can forget about their own insignificance?
Our Greek system has 35 Fraternities and 19 sororities, en-
compassing approximately 20 percent of the Undergraduate
student population. I took part in the Fraternity Fall Rush
from September 25-29tto see what it was like. The following
account is generally true. Names have been changed.
INTRODUCTORY MASS MEETING
It was raining like shit tonight, and I had to walk all the
way to the goddamn Union. I'm not sure I want to do this.
Here's the pre-Rush stereotype of Fraternities that I formulated
from Animal House, television, and my limited experiences
with fraternities here at the big 'U': upper middle class, friend-
buying, future business execs who like to drink beer, watch
the game on TV, get laid, and slap each other's backs.
However, I do have some friends (maybe used to) who are in
The mass meeting was packed, a standing room only crowd
of first- year and second- year students. An officer of the Inter-
Fraternity Council gave a speech describing Rush. There were
tables all around the room, each representing a different frater-
nity, and I went and talked to some of the guys. I walked
home. I got wet.
DAY 1, SUNDAY
I woke up this morning at about noon and took some
Tylenol to help ease the pain in my head that I got from the
long, horrible pre-Rush fraternity experience I had last night.
Went back to sleep and woke up at around three. Because I
hadn't eaten for 18 hours, I was really hungry. I mean, really
hungry. And thirsty. So I chose which houses I was going to
visit by the food they said they were having on their flyers.
The thing that attracted me to the first house I went to was
that backyard barbecue smell. Free food - I was liking this
Already salivating, I climbed up the porch steps and headed
right for the table. Before I made it, somebody grabbed me and
said I needed a name tag and made me fill out this card with
my name, home address, local address, phone number, hob-
bies, and whether any of my relatives had been members of
this fraternity. I didn't like this - I wanted a burger. As soon
as I put the pen down, a guy named Mike was shaking my
hand and asking me if I wanted a beer and something to eat.
While I ate (crisp lettuce, burger cooked to perfection) and
drank (labelled Heineken, probably Wiedemann's), Mike asked
me all about myself and what I liked to do, etc. This was
especially pleasing to me because most people tend to avoid
speaking with me, especially if I'm eating. I told him I liked
reading and music and going to movies by myself. He said,
"That's cool" a lot and told me about life in the house. There
are always people to do stuff with and just hang out with.
They play a lot of sports. They have a lot of parties. After
Photos by Robin Loznak
about ten minutes of talking with Mike he introduced me to
someone else, who asked me the same questions Mike did and
passed me on to someone else.
Some generalizations about the Rush procedure. Here's how
it went for me the first day: you go into the house, get a name
tag, fill out a card, get a beer, eat, walk around, meet as many
brothers (members of the fraternity) as you can, and maybe get
a tour of the house. When you talk to a brother he will ask
you: your name, what year you are in school, where you are
from, what you like to do, and do you have any questions?
The next house I went to had tacos and beer. I love tacos. I
ate six. While I was here I saw a friend who I hadn't realized
was in the house. He asked me if I was rushing seriously. I
said no. I asked him why he pledged this house, and he told me
he really liked the guys and it was a good way to meet people.
After talking to a bunch of other brothers, I left.
The third house I went to served pizza, and it was cold. The
guy I met first handed me a glass of apple cider. Apple cider!
What the fuck? The brothers I talked to told me endless stories
(I'm talking a solid 45 minutes worth) of late-night drunken
revelry. I said the cider gave me a tummyache and left.
As I walked down the street from that house I spotted
another one which had a porch full of people. These guys were
grilling hot dogs and drinking a lot of beer. I had two hot
dogs. This frat (I know, I know, "calling your fraternity frat is
like calling your country a... ") was your stereotypical jock
house. The brothers were generally burly and loud but seemed
pretty easygoing. When I told somebody I was from
Philadelphia, he told me he was a 76ers fan. I asked him why
Greeks as stuck-up, idiot partiers who like to drink beer. He
told me it generally wasn't true. Each house, he said, was
completely different. No one can know what Greek life is like
until they join a fraternity or sorority, and with almost 40
fraternities in the system, there is a house for everyone, he
said. His own house was very diverse, he said, with some guys
who were working their own way through school and others
who spent money like crazy. There were people from all
different backgrounds and all over the country and the world. I
thought it sounded like Duderstadt's Michigan Mandate.
These answers were similar at every fraternity I went to and
from every person I asked. They all said that their dues and
living-in-house fees came to less than it costs to live in the
After I milled around awhile and was getting ready to move
on, 50 sorority women came through the door. I asked what
was going on and somebody said, "They are going to sing to
us." I left.
I went to another house that I'd been to before. After being
shuffled for a while, some guy who looked like his nose ran a
lot started to ask me some really intense Rush questions. "I
PAGE 8 WEEKEND/OCTOBER 7, 1988
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