Let us be the first to welcome you to Rush at the University of Florida! You are about to make one of the most significant decisions of your young life - whether or not to join the Greek community. If you're already sure you want to join somewhere, you're faced with the question of which Fraternity you will call home.
Your search for the right brotherhood is as important as you are. If you are just curious about the Greek system or think it maybe isn't for you, we ask that you give some serious thought to becoming Greek. Greeks come from all walks of life and backgrounds and enjoy healthy social and academic lives while enrolled at their respective universities. As a Greek you will be "plugged-in" to the University and connected with alumni. You will make friends that will follow you the rest of your life and be given opportunities for your own betterment as a gentleman and a human being.
Choosing your Fraternity
The many Fraternities at UF can make it difficult to choose which one is best for you. It can also be easy to get lost amongst the festivities of Rush week but what you should remember is that rush week is not so much for the Fraternities to benefit from as it is for you to do so. Make each visit an "interview" and find out as much as you can about each group. To make the selection a little easier, we at Kappa Sigma have prepared a list of things our brothers looked for in a fraternity when we were rushees like you.
Does the Fraternity have clear values they uphold?
Do all the members communicate a set of morals and advocate following them?
Is their "code of conduct" evident in their actions, behavior, and leadership?
What does their appearance say about them?
Having a set of values and really living by them means that the Fraternity respects you, your school, and all the people in it. It also means they acknowledge certain responsibilities and are able to behave in a mature manner. All too often a Fraternity can become compromised resulting in a change of values that can lead to behavior and actions not befitting of gentlemen. Simply "going with the crowd" is never encouraged especially when the crowd is immoral and you know it to be so. Surrounding yourself with people like you who have real values will ensure that you will never regret your decision or affiliation.
How do the brothers treat each other?
Are they supportive or demeaning?
Do they watch out for each other like friends do?
Does the Fraternity accept members of all cultures and races?
Do they accept you for who you are or are you required to change something about yourself to fit the group?
Do they support hazing practices or other activities that demoralize their members?
Does being a member seem like it is enjoyable or a means to an end?
We can't stress enough about brotherhood - it is the thing that differentiates Fraternities and forms their unique dispositions. You can tell right away what the atmosphere of a certain group is by meeting members - ask to speak to the leaders or those in charge and get several opinions. Don't settle for, "Yeah, we have a strong brotherhood!" Really look around and see for yourself if everyone is different or if everyone is the same. Some Fraternities have become little more than factories, producing the same type of individual over the over again. Look for real human emotion and real conversation.
A word about Hazing: Hazing in all its forms is wrong and should not be condoned. Any group who makes light of hazing or avoids discussion about it is one who practices it. Being a pledge does not make you subhuman and you should never openly accept that pledging is just a necessary evil of the Greek system. Despite best efforts to stop hazing, it is still practiced by Fraternities at UF either quietly or openly in the name of fun. A brotherhood that practices hazing can not and will not produce well-adjusted members and is almost always a sign that the Fraternity as a whole suffers from worse problems.
Does the Fraternity have a good reputation?
What do other groups say about the Fraternity?
Does the group badmouth other Fraternities or Sororities?
Are the members honest or do they advocate deception?
Is there loyalty for a common good or to support or conceal less-then-savory facets of the group?
Are members straight with you when you ask questions and forthcoming with information?
Do members care about how the community sees them or do they seem removed?
Do they follow the rules or are they above them?
You have nothing if you don't have integrity. As a member of a Fraternity you are always considered a member meaning that the actions of the group will reflect on you. It is in your best interest to choose a group whose goal is to help you and make you a better person while keeping your integrity intact. The group's decisions need to be responsible and consider you when they're being made. You will have more than enough to worry about in College and shouldn't have to worry about very real situations involving alcohol, date rape and drug abuse. Sadly, these situations do occur and could affect you based on your affiliations. You need to be able to trust that your brothers are principled and know beyond a shadow of a doubt that they will not put themselves or you in danger.
Does the Fraternity practice acceptance of all religions?
Is there a good variation of beliefs are does there appear to be just one?
Is there a lack of a belief system altogether?
While a belief in organized religion or spirituality in general is not a prerequisite for joining a Greek Fraternity, it is often something that potential members look for. Acceptance of religion is a sign that members uphold certain universal ethics and makes the Fraternity as a community much closer. Just as religion can be a uniting force, it can also be divisive. Be on the look out for groups that disparage religions - although a Fraternity is based on exclusion, bigotry and intolerance should never be behind any of its actions. A rushee's religion (and race) should never be a factor or be held against them.
What is the Academic standing of the Fraternity?
What scholarship programs or incentives do they have to foster academic achievement?
Do they support your academics or do they put excessive restraints on your time and energy?
Do they have a study room?
Do members offer to help with your schoolwork?
You are at the University of Florida for the purpose of earning a degree. To this end, academic excellence should be your main priority. A Fraternity should know and support its members instead of making unnecessary requirements that cut into school. A group with high academic expectations uses good communication, holds timely meetings, arranges scheduling around the university, and allows you to miss events if you have occasion.
Bear in mind that while these are recommendations for the sake of this article, they are also very real concerns that should be considered. They are also, coincidently, the concerns of Kappa Sigma and the very things that make us unique to all fraternities.
We urge you to experience each and every Fraternity that UF has to offer. If any of what you read interests you, visit Kappa Sigma where we truly are redefining the standard of Fraternity life at the University of Florida.