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  #1  
Old 07-14-2014, 12:21 PM
1964Alum 1964Alum is offline
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A VERY Retro Recruitment!

Yes, VERY retro as I recently received a Happy Anniversary card from my GLO to celebrate me on my 50th Anniversary as a sister. It's hard to even believe that it has been that long. A quick reality check is to look at the silver-haired lady looking back at me in my mirror!

I stumbled onto GC when having to keep off my feet to let a sprained foot heal. After many hours of reading Recruitment Stories, I was struck by how much things had changed as well as how much they had remained the same since I went through rush (as we called it) in September of 1963, to be initiated on 1964. Please bear with me as this is my first post!

Things that have changed: No philanthropy party; no ranking; we received invitations to the next round of parties and could accept the prescribed number for each round; and NO casual dress i.e. shorts. No Rho Gammas. No RFM. We went to the largest auditorium on campus to pick up our invitation envelopes which were given out alphabetically by silent members of Panhellenic sitting behind a long table. Sororities at my campus had no mixers with the fraternities nor they with us. Unless it was for a local philanthropic event or homecoming, and then it was very task oriented. I never understood how that determination was made as we were never paired with a fraternity we had the most connection with. No Jewish members of the NPC sororities nor were any minorities ever pledged. Or even went through rush at my school. I'm sure I will remember more as my story progresses from my aging memory!

A characteristic of my school that most of us didn't appreciate then as much as we appreciate it now is that rush was deferred an entire year. So all but a very few upperclassmen rushed as Sophomores. This was a very large school with an undergrad population of about 14,000 (HUGE now) and the GLOs were a very small percentage of the student population but essentially dominated virtually all the campus organizations, elected officers, as well as many of the honorary societies. So while there was definitely life on this campus outside of the GLOs, and one could have a very satisfying college experience without being a Greek, for those of us who wanted to get involved in campus life, being a Greek seemed to be the best way to go about that.

Having this long period of deferment gave the six sororities more time to get to know us as well as we, them. Looking back on my formal rush, I don't know how I possibly could have made a decision on the basis of rush alone! And I truly admire those on both sides of rush now who are able to make good choices for the long haul during what is truly a hectic and nerve-wracking if exciting whirl of events.

By the second semester of my Freshman year, the various general personalities of the six were emerging for me. And rush actually started for me the second semester of my Freshman year. Let me explain. As soon as grades for the first semester came out and coeds became members of one national honor society (Alpha Lambda Delta) and an even more selective local one, actives in the GLOs took notice. (Or I should say the ones that placed a high value on scholarship.) I had been elected to both, and was an elected officer of the local one. As I had placed out of Freshman English into the honors program, I was also allowed to take a few courses normally reserved for Sophomores. So I found myself in a class or two with active members on my campus as well as a couple of other women who had pledged as Freshmen at another very large school who had transferred but had not affiliated with the local chapters. They were very proud of their letters and wore their badges regularly. And of course talked up their groups!

So I started getting calls inviting me to breakfast, go have pizza, and the like. Cold calls, except from one lovely woman I had a class with. I will call her Elizabeth here. Freshman class officers, yearbook beauties, and other Freshmen met on campus or known from her home town and/or high school started receiving invitations to these unstructured "rush functions" as we called them. These were small groups, usually not more than about 8-10 women at a time, which afforded all of us an opportunity to get to know each other better. I met many wonderful ladies, including some who would be going through rush with me come September.

This continued over the summer as well, although I couldn't accept many invitations as I spent most of the summer visiting family who were quite far away. I took my yearbook with me and used this time to really, really check out the members of my favorites, as I wanted to see where they were involved on campus outside of their sororities. So many truly impressive women! With formal rush approaching, I also started getting advice from cousins who were already active members of their sororities, none of which were on my campus. My mother had died in a very tragic accident when I was 15, so many of the adult women in my world stepped in from time to time to see how I was doing and give me motherly guidance on the many things that can trouble a teenage girl. The summer before formal recruitment I started getting calls from my doctor's wife, the family lawyer's wife, as well as other friends of my parents or mothers of friends from high school. All talking about my upcoming rush. Very dizzying!!!

Recommendations were very "hush hush" back then, and it was very bad form to solicit one. Soliciting one pretty much guaranteed that you wouldn't get one. Nor did alumnae tell you they were writing a rec for you. But from the questions I was being asked, I knew something was up! And I did know which sororities they were members of. My mother's legacy chapter did not have a chapter on my campus, nor did several of the other mothers I was in close contact with and who had known me for years and years. I had no idea which, if any, of my teachers had been Greeks at college, but I suspect that some had been.

At long last formal rush and school was about to start. And I had been notified that I had been selected to be one of two Sophomore girls to participate in the formal welcoming ceremony for all Freshmen women on campus. For that I needed to buy a full length white ball gown. Add to that my being named as a Freshman Orientation panelist and my head was spinning. We were on campus two days before formal rush (and the start of Silence) and I also went to breakfast with my two favorite groups.

After this long preamble, I will continue with formal rush in my next installment. As much as I remember, that is!





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Old 07-14-2014, 12:28 PM
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I love this! Thank you for taking the time to share your memories.
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Old 07-14-2014, 12:58 PM
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Oh my goodness - I LOVE this. I can't wait to read more!!
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Old 07-14-2014, 02:20 PM
1964Alum 1964Alum is offline
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I'm leaving in a little bit (with foot now healed) to meet up with two other women to plan an upcoming event in our community. So here it goes!

So formal rush begins!!! The clothes I had either made or purchased over the summer were unpacked, ironed, and ready to go. That was the summer that empire-waist dresses just started coming into fashion and I bought two having that silhouette. More about one of those dresses later.

Open House with all of us going to each of the six houses over the course of two days was the first event. Some 600 had signed up for rush. With a maximum of 15-20 or so new pledges for each house, I knew the cuts/dropouts would be deep. At that time, there was a limit of 55 members allowed for each of the six sororities. No quota additions, no snap bids, no COB, no RFM. It was now or never. I knew where there was mutual interest for me, but I also knew that competition would be very stiff, especially for those I was most interested in. And I had heard that the group of women I was most interested in joining was VERY hard to get a bid to.

So in pumps and pearls, panty hose and the full complement of jewelry, handbags, makeup,, nails and hair, all 600 of us minus some who had dropped out already spent about 30 minutes in each of the six houses over a period of one day. It was only the previous year that rushees had not worn hats and gloves! No door chants, no singing, just all of us lined up outside with the sorority actives along the hall and up the staircases to greet us.

In no particular order I am giving each of them the name of a Shakespearean heroine. My undergrad degree was in English Lit after all! And they are all very interesting characters! They are:

Portia
Cleopatra
Bianca
Rosalind
Miranda
Beatrice

I had someone escort me through each house, which I took as a favorable sign, as some of the rushees (ancient term, I know!) were in larger groups with one active for all of them. There really wasn't time for much conversation other than the amenities and the usual questions asked of all rushees. Much of the time was spent by the rush chairman of each giving a presentation on their sorority in the living rooms, including members who were known across campus and alums known nationally, as well as any awards the group had been given. I will go around in a circle with the same placement the houses were within the circle.

Bianca was one of the groups which had starting rushing me my Freshman year, and I had formed a close friendship with one of them, a lovely, gracious young woman, Elizabeth. So I already knew and liked many of the members. This group was very, very well regarded on campus. I also went to breakfast with them right before formal rush started. Elizabeth met me at the door and took me through. I felt quite reassured to receive many warm greetings once in their house. I felt very confident when I left them.

Rosalind was the sorority of the wife of a family friend who was also from this chapter. She was a real sweetheart. The members when I went through were a very eclectic, rather quirky, and interesting group. I had met several women previously in other venues I had felt a connection with. But seeing them with the rest of the chapter puzzled me as they seemed so different from the others. They seemed like they just loved their chapter, though.

Next up was Beatrice, another impressive group to me for what I was looking for: excellent grades, activities, and reputation of having high standards and values. But I didn't really know very many of them, and they hadn't started rushing me until the summer when I was away and couldn't accept any invitations. They also had invited me to breakfast once we were back on campus, but I had already accepted my maximum for breakfast for the two days before rush started. A Beatrice member was the one who had written me to tell me that I had been one of two Sophomores selected to participate in the formal welcome to all Freshmen women. But I felt a bit adrift going through their house as I didn't really know any of them well personally. Being a "people person" this did affect me.

Next around the circle all the housing was arranged in was Miranda. These girls were very, very sweet, reasonably active on campus, and "good" girls with a few standout members. They did a good job of presenting their sorority. But they seemed rather lackluster to me, as did a couple of actives who were in my dorm. I didn't see them as a place for me.

Cleopatra was next, and I was surprised that their presentation was a lot more imaginative and creative than I had expected. They were the loudest and most boisterous group and clearly loved their sorority. But -and a BIG but for me- they had the (deserved) reputation of being pretty wild and hard partyers. They pretty much paired up with one fraternity which had the same profile most of them did: very good looking, very polished socially, and heavy drinking and party pals. Lowest grades of all the Greeks; and many pledges who had to wait a semester to get their grades up to become actives as they didn't make the grades required by their National the semester they pledged. They were a "desirable" sorority, but I felt I had very little I had in common with them. And I disliked the fact that as soon as a young woman pledged them she dyed her hair either very black or very blond and wore very heavy make-up.

Last was Portia, which had also started rushing me my Freshman year. It was also the sorority of our family doctor's wife, the family lawyer's wife, and the aunt of a good friend from high school. I had met many more Portias than I had the Biancas, although I had probably spent more time with the Biancas.. The more I got to know them, the higher they went in my estimation. I also went to breakfast with them right before formal rush started. But going into the house for the first round, I saw ahead of me four other rushees wearing pins from the same very well-regarded fraternity and greeted like they were already best friends with many of the actives. Beautiful girls, very poised, and looking very confident. Lots of fraternity pins on lots of other actives including very prominent fraternities in private colleges. Also a good many LARGE rocks as engagement rings. I was warmly greeted, the presentation was very good, and of course included the fact that Portia had received the trophy for being the outstanding sorority on campus. Well, they had been rushing me, so they must be seeing something in me. But I was feeling less confident than I had in Bianca.

We all went back to our dorms and waited until the next day to see which if any had invited us back for the second round of parties. I honestly hadn't noticed or made any judgement about which physical house was the nicest., other than the fact that the Cleopatra house looked like someone had put quite a bit of money into it. I also noticed that the Portia house had a framed, signed Picasso poster in it that I wanted to know more about.
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Old 07-14-2014, 02:21 PM
tinydancer tinydancer is offline
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This is great! Sounds very much like rush at Texas in 1970.
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Old 07-14-2014, 02:55 PM
1964Alum 1964Alum is offline
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I think rush was much more "formal" nationwide at that time. My Theta cousin on the East Coast coached me on what to wear. Dress was pretty much the same where she went to college. On my campus, we could not wear pants of any kind until after 6PM or on the weekends. We had to always wear a skirt in the dorm cafeterias, even for breakfast. We all HAD to live in a dorm. No apartment living!
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Old 07-14-2014, 03:08 PM
FSUZeta FSUZeta is offline
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Congratulations on your 50th anniversary!

I am so enjoying your story. We received our rush party invitations in the same way at FSU and we had 18 chapters at the time. The invitations looked like large versions of "RSVP" cards...perhaps they were 3 x 5 in size? They said "Beta Gamma of Zeta Tau Alpha invites you to __________." They were they same for all the sororities. Below that were lines to check that you accepted or regretted the invitation. Were yours similar?
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Old 07-14-2014, 03:16 PM
1964Alum 1964Alum is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FSUZeta View Post
Congratulations on your 50th anniversary!

I am so enjoying your story. We received our rush party invitations in the same way at FSU and we had 18 chapters at the time. The invitations looked like large versions of "RSVP" cards...perhaps they were 3 x 5 in size? They said "Beta Gamma of Zeta Tau Alpha invites you to __________." They were they same for all the sororities. Below that were lines to check that you accepted or regretted the invitation. Were yours similar?
The only heavy stock paper that I remember were our actual bids. For rush parties invitations we got individual invitations, but they were all in one envelope. There was also a place to accept or decline the invitation.
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Old 07-14-2014, 07:24 PM
ShadeTree ShadeTree is offline
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Picasso and recruitment….two of my favorite things!

Love, love, love this!
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Old 07-14-2014, 07:24 PM
TriDeltaSallie TriDeltaSallie is offline
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Love your story! Thank you for sharing it.
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Old 07-14-2014, 10:55 PM
MaryPoppins MaryPoppins is offline
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This sounds very like the stories my Mother and Aunt told me from 1957 and 1962.
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Old 07-15-2014, 01:07 AM
1964Alum 1964Alum is offline
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As we didn't have any Gamma Rhos or one group of prospects that we went through rush with, any feedback, support, or encouragement we got was back in the dorm or from friends we had made elsewhere. Silence was STRICTLY observed, at least from what I saw. And I made sure that I did not more than smile at any active I ran into on campus. My dorm was a smaller one and practically off campus, but several girls on my hall were also rushing. I didn't know any of them very well, but one from about the middle of my long hall where I was on the end recruited me to "go through rush" with her. I liked her very much and we agreed to go to and from the auditorium to get what were hopefully our invitations to the next parties. We also agreed to not talk about what parties we were invited back to or talk about any of the individual sororities except in a very general way of what we were looking for. Turned out that we were pretty much looking for the same things. She had been in the Miss America state pageant that summer with all the poise and looks that went along with that. Along with a VERY nice wardrobe. For the purpose of my story here I will call her "Willa".

So Willa and I went off to get our bid envelopes, understanding that a "Regret" might be in it. No personal calls or visits to deliver that bad news to you in person at that time. We were in different lines to pick up our envelopes and got together afterwards to walk back to our dorm. We could return to a maximum of four second round parties. Both Willa and I had full return party cards! I received invitations to ALL SIX and had to decide on the spot which two invitations I would decline. I declined Miranda and Rosalind. I actually thought I would fit in better with Rosalind than Cleopatra, but I was more curious about Cleopatra so decided to go there instead. Willa and I didn't discuss which groups we were returning to or how many invitations we had received. But we were both very happy with the second round of parties we would be attending.

So I prepared to return to:
Portia
Bianca
Beatrice
Cleopatra.

We did no ranking, but I mentally ranked them in the order above.

Back at the dorm my roommates, suite mates, and other friends were certain I would end up in Portia, although they liked all of my top three. A Pi Phi who had transferred to be with her fiance was certain I would end up in Portia. There was no Pi Phi on my campus, although one of my neighbors was one and I thought very well of her and them. And of course I wondered what she knew that I didn't! I had NO idea what went on on the other side of rush and of course imagined that every little flaw would be noticed and discussed and that the dreaded black ball might be cast. I later learned that cuts had been heavy after the first round, and that the Portia cuts were heaviest of all. I was thrilled to be going back, but also cautious about getting my hopes up as I had been told before that theirs was the hardest sorority to get a bid to.

To be continued!
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Old 07-15-2014, 01:14 AM
1964Alum 1964Alum is offline
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The next round was two parties each night for two nights. Each party lasted about two hours, so there was more time to get to know members of the sororities. For the first night I went to Cleopatra and Bianca.

Cleopatra's
party was held at the ranch of one of the alums, a pretty posh place. I don't remember much about it other than getting into a car with several of the actives and making general chit-chat with them as we drove out to the ranch. There were skits in this round, and I must say that the skit was very clever. They had written a short poem for each of the rushees there, and mine was very complimentary. As were all the others. All of them made reference to our LOOKS! But given that they were always at the bottom with their GPA, I had to wonder if they had hired a ghost writer! I met and chatted with a good many of the actives, but the subjects were more along the lines of cocktail party chatter. I didn't feel any connection with any of them, and I doubted that they did with me.

The second and final party for that day was with Bianca, which had been rushing me very strongly and which I had liked all along. I don't remember the theme of their skit but did enjoy the opportunity to get to know several of their members better. Elizabeth once again greeted me and showed me around. Conversation flowed, but it was slowly dawning on me that my strongest connection to them was with the very sweet and gracious Elizabeth who had been my primary rusher from the beginning, starting the previous spring. I also started looking around to see which other rushees were attending the second round of parties and recognized several familiar and compatible faces at the Bianca party. Not so at the Cleopatra party. In fact there, there was one girl from my dorm who regularly came in drunk and looking like she had been ridden hard and put up wet! And they seemed to be crazy about her.

The next evening it was on to Beatrice for my first party. I finally got some one on one time with several of their actives and had very substantial conversations. Oh, dear. They were slipping into occupying Bianca's place in the great scheme of things in my mind. Their skit was cute, but I won't say much about it as describing it would reveal their identity to many here. They incorporated each rushee individually by name into their skit. I didn't particularly care for that as it put each of us literally into the spotlight, which I figured was for the benefit of the actives to take a close look at each of us. But it also gave us a good opportunity to look at the other girls attending their party. Again, I saw several familiar faces and ones I appreciated seeing. I left feeling the connection with them but not the warmth of Bianca. I wondered if perhaps they were looking too much at resumes. Or just that I didn't know them as well as yet. Or that we really didn't connect on a personal, friendship level.

My final party of the evening and also the skit round was Portia. I had decided to wear my new empire-waist dress to parties that night and had received many compliments on it. I didn't see that silhouette on anyone else at either party. The skit was a very clever circus theme, light-hearted and fun. Rushees and actives mixed and mingled the rest of the evening. I liked that the actives were introducing rushees to each other as well! I saw many more familiar faces, including two of the girls already pinned I had seen the first day as well as girls I had seen at other parties. One thing that emerged more clearly to me was how individualistic the members of Portia were. There were beauty queens, but not all were beauty queens. Lots of elected members of student government as well as many other organizations on campus., including honoraries and elected officers. Those among the less physically attractive had very compelling personalities and were campus leaders. Several others were members of a selective service club and yet others were members of Angel Flight, which was a big deal at that time. There was also a very wide cross-section of majors, including several having mine. I was feeling more and more that this was IT for me! I strongly felt that each member had been selected for her unique qualities,something I was looking for in a sisterhood.

Then at the very end of the party, the president, an officer of the forum for women I was to be a "Candlelighter" for, and one of the varsity cheerleaders came over to talk with me. Two of them complimented my dress, which did stand out in a sea of shirtwaists and wrap skirts. I also wore my great grandmother's gold cuff bracelet for luck. But then the president said, "Yes, I like your dress, but aren't you afraid that people will think you are pregnant?" The other two actives went white and my jaw must have hit the floor! The other two immediately jumped in to chide her, but I honestly didn't know what to make of it. You must remember that back in that day no "nice" girl would do the deed no matter how tempted or how committed she and her boyfriend were to each other. There were no coed dorms, no men allowed in the dorms past the front desk, and a young lady could be expelled from school if caught in a man's apartment. I was really mortified that anyone would even hint that I might be pregnant and especially a Portia and the president no less! They all left me standing there alone for a few minutes. What was I to think of that? And what were my prospects? The rush chairman went out of her way to walk me out when the party was over which reassured me a bit but not entirely.
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Old 07-15-2014, 01:23 AM
tinydancer tinydancer is offline
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Wow! Talk about an awkward moment.
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Old 07-15-2014, 01:23 AM
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OMG! I can't even imagine. My face would have turned beet red!
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