Friday, July 11, 2014

Frat Boy: From Some Other To A Brother - Part 1

In the process of becoming a member of Phi Mu Alpha, I rushed the frat, I was a pledge, I went through an initiation process.

Much of the process of becoming a brother is what we would define as “super-secret boy stuff.” I’m going to stick to my fraternal vows and I’m not going to write an exposé about my frat, but I am going to go through the broad strokes and talk about what it was all about.

Rushing is the process in which you get to know a fraternity. The sorority rush process has the girls formally go from one house to another house in organized groups. The boys have it a lot easier. Rush events are posted on billboards and guys go to whatever events and/or houses appeal to them.

These events normally happened in the evening and they included various activities and food. Some examples include: video game night, broom ball, demolish a car with baseball bats, house party and a three on three basketball tournament. These nights are fairly chill and are designed for brothers and their guest to get to know each other.

Guest would sign up when they came to these events and at the end of the rush week, the members of the frat would meet and go down the list of guys who showed up and decide which ones they would offer a bid too. If a guy showed up to one event and didn’t make a positive impression on any of the guys, he probably wouldn’t get a bid.

Discussions about who would or would not get a bid behind closed doors could get intense but it was not as bad as the conversations around deciding whether someone should be allowed to become a full member of the fraternity. There were at least two different points in the process during which fraternity could vote on whether a pledge should continue the process to becoming a full brother.

I’d like to think that I was around enough that giving me a bid wasn’t that big a deal. I felt like that I made a good impression to the group and that getting a bid was a pretty sure thing.

Late one night, a knock came on my door room door and five members of Phi Mu Alpha in suits gave me a sealed envelope inviting me to become a pledge or more officially a probationary member.

After accepting, I was required to come to a pledging ceremony and then the pledging process began.

There were two brothers in charge of our fraternity “education.” They gave us a binder which including a bunch of different activities that would help us get to know the fraternity and its members. At the end of the pledging process we had a test that we had to pass to be considered for full membership, so we studied the history of the fraternity and the political structure of the fraternity.

My pledge class was great. It was mostly freshmen, like myself from marching band with a couple upperclassmen. Every single activity we did as a pledge class gave us awesome shared experiences that helped us get to know each other and the spirit of Phi Mu Alpha.

Were we pressured to participate in these “shared experiences?” Yes, in the sense that if we wanted to be in the fraternity we would participate in fraternity activities. Was I ever pressured to do anything that caused physical discomfort or harm?

No.

Was I hazed as a pledge and did I haze other students when I was an upperclassman?

No.

Well then, what is hazing if not some kind of initiation right?

Northwestern has an answer and so do I .  . .

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