(Editor’s Note: While Greek Life is definitely active at IU Bloomington, it still only comprises around 20% of the overall student population. If you choose not to rush, there will still be plenty of ways to get involved at Indiana University.)
Going to school at an American University and not knowing about Greek Life is like being at IU and not using Lynda.com: You’re missing out on a lot that you didn’t know you signed up for. From the fundraisers to the tailgates, from the charity events to the secret rituals, Greek Life is an integral (and sometimes notorious) part of College life. International Students can use these organizations to not only better integrate themselves into the community they’re so new to and get involved on campus. They’re also a stellar resume booster, as they show prospective employers how well said international students mesh with a new societal environment.
1.) KNOW WHAT YOU WANT
There are several Greek organizations that are little more than glorified booze-based communities. There are several others that are driven to doing something good on the campus. If you want to boost your resume, tackle an issue that you feel needs attention, or just want to do your bit for IU and B-Town, remember that there are several Greek organizations that work towards a common goal. For example, Pi Lambda Phi is a fraternity dedicated to the elimination of prejudice, while Phi Gamma Nu is a business based sorority. However, if you want to go the Animal House way, be warned:
2.) BE AWARE OF THE RAMIFICATIONS
IU does not take binge drinking lightly. As International Students, we have to be constantly mindful of this, unfortunately. Joining fraternities usually means being part of some sort of rushing process, and these can be risky, to say the least. However, there are several fraternities and sororities that encourage dry rushes (Pi Lambda Phi being an example,) and even though this may not be what you want, it is a rather pragmatic option, when compared to “running around going crazy with a 100 other hammered students.”
3.) BEWARE OF HAZING
IU wholly condemns the process of hazing (bullying aspiring pledges and forcing them to do stupid and/or dangerous things in order to ensure that no smart, rational pledges may be selected), and for good reason: The concept is as stupid as eating pizza with a fork and a knife. Of course, there are several fraternities that are anti-hazing, like Phi Beta Sigma and Pi Lambda Phi, and ideally, these are the ones you should rush towards (no pun intended,) as risk management becomes twice as important for international students.
4.) REMEMBER THAT IT’S NOT THAT BIG A DEAL
People will try to make it sound like Rushing is the most important part of college. This is objectively not true. Never, ever be pressured into doing something; take your own sweet time, and look at your own comfort level above all else. These are some of the most important years of your life, and no matter what you do with them, the decision should be entirely based on what you want. While being part of a sisterhood or brotherhood for life can be amazingly helpful and a great way to boost your self-esteem, being mindful of the negative repercussions and trying to avoid them as much as possible is never a bad idea.