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Old 04-26-2005, 02:58 PM
NinjaPoodle NinjaPoodle is offline
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Post Article The boys' story: Animal House 2005

From the Stanford Daily

http://daily.stanford.edu/tempo?page...y=0001_article


The boys' story: Animal House 2005


By Emma Vaughn
Staff Writer
Friday, April 22, 2005

Metal pieces went flying last Thursday as excited freshman and sophomore boys tore apart an old car with sledgehammers, crowbars and bats in a University-sanctioned rush event. Each guy was allowed to keep the piece that he ripped off the car, turning the event into an all-out demolition contest.
"I was able to get a door handle," said freshman rushee, John Clark. "It was pretty sweet because we just railed on this wreck of a car for however long we wanted."

This attack on machinery was just one of the many exciting fraternity rush events that took place every night from April 4 to 21. More than 300 guys showed up nightly to participate in dodgeball games, paintball fights and more, making turnout for this year's rush one of the largest turnouts in Stanford history.

"This is the really fun part," said sophomore and Kappa Alpha member Graham Brant-Zawadzki. "You just get the chance to meet a lot of guys and participate in some great activities. Everyone is pretty laid back and out to have a good time."

The process is run by the Interfraternity Council, which includes eight housed and three unhoused fraternities on campus. Each week, a fraternity is allowed to have two weekday evening events and one weekend event, such as a barbecue or retreat. The rushees are able to attend whichever events they would like, but because multiple fraternities schedules events on the same nights, they are forced into being selective from the start.

Unlike sorority recruitment, there is no "invite" process, meaning that a person can technically return to whichever fraternity he chooses as many times as he likes.

"You don't get called back, but you get a sense of whether you should go back," said freshman rushee Sam Fankuchen. "I saw kids come the first week and not come back the second week. It was either because they figured the frat wasn't right for them or they got hints from people in the house. That's the nature of the process. It's very mutual."

Some freshmen approached the process without a strong sense of which frat they wanted to join.

"I had no preconceived notions," Clark said. "As far as I was concerned, Greek life was like 'Animal House,' which it actually seems to be living up to pretty well."

More frequently, however, they went in with a sense of where they would fit in best. For Fankuchen, the choice came down to the quality and environment of the particular fraternity.

"I was really drawn to the traditions of [Sigma Alpha Epsilon]," said Fankuchen, who received a bid from the fraternity. "They have more formals and coat-and-tie events, but they also have such strong tradition in terms of the way things have been carried on for decades. The guys there all know this and are really into keeping the tradition going and spending a lot of time together."

Other rushees were drawn into a particular house because of friends or teammates. Clark, who is on the rugby team, found that going through rush with Sigma Chi<\p>--<\p>which already houses a number of his teammates and friends<\p>--<\p>made the choice much easier.

"I was close with so many of the guys there and it just felt comfortable," said Clark, who received a bid from Sigma Chi. "I probably could have gotten more out of rush by going in not knowing anyone and being less biased, but that just wasn't the case."

For sophomore Luis Cerna, the process has been different from what most freshmen rushees go through. Cerna decided not to rush last year, but since then has become good friends with guys in SAE. He said that rushing this year as a sophomore made the process much more comfortable.

"I realized this year that all the people I hang out with and all my friends are involved in the Greek community," said Cerna, who received a bid from SAE. "Everyone who really enjoys going out and being social is Greek. I have been hanging out with the guys in SAE for over a year, and it just works."

Cerna found himself having to make a conscious effort throughout the process to act as a rushee and not as a member.

"I honestly don't know many people in my pledge class," said Cerna. "I think I only really met two, and one of them thought that I was an active and was thus sucking up to me."

One of the reasons many guys said they rushed was to avoid the often-dreaded housing Draw.

"My primary reason is to have the group of friends, but there are a lot of practical bonuses," said Fankuchen. "Skipping the Draw and having a good cook are key."

However, not everyone found the rush process to be fun and games. Many felt that it consisted of awkward conversations and premature judgments. Freshman Joel Lewenstein, who ended up choosing the unhoused fraternity Alpha Epsilon Pi, said he felt that rush brought out qualities in guys reminiscent of pre-teen year behavior.

"It formalizes the social process that happened informally in middle school," said Lewenstein. "It's like an official state-sanctioned 'you're cool' and 'you're not, so you have to sit at this lunch table.?<\p>"

While the structured social process may have made for a slightly negative experience for some, there is certainly time for just plain crazy behavior. Delta Chi pledges found themselves running around scantily-clad while being shot at by rushees with paint balls.

"It was really funny," Clark said. "They would just stand there and four people would shoot at once and they would just scream and fall to the ground. I shouldn't say it was awesome, but it kind of was."
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