Pacific University’s five Greek Life communities are gearing up for their annual fall rush tradition, with a number of events planned to start Sept. 17.
A returning rush rule this year will once again set Pacific apart from other schools, as no freshman will be allowed to pledge.
The rule, which was first implemented last year during the 2017-18 academic year, states that no first-year or first-semester students are allowed to pledge into a Greek Community.
Seniors Ariel Rigwood and Janie Kiyokawa, President and Vice President of the Phi Lambda Omicron sorority, are worried this returning rule will hurt pledge numbers.
“It’s unfortunate,” Rigwood said. “But it’s also good to give new students time.”
According to Rigwood, the rush rule is meant to prevent any sort of hazing, and instead aims to help students find a balance between school and Greek Life.
“I don’t find it too hard to balance,” Kiyokawa said. “At Pacific, your Greek persona and school persona can be the same person.”
Rigwood said the Phi Lambda Omicron sorority places a lot of emphasis on academic success, and has even been the Greek chapter to earn the highest GPA over the last several years.
Pacific University Greek Senate (PUGS) President, junior Max Smith said PUGS wants to change the narrative around Greek Life here at Pacific.
After the Kappa Sigma fraternity was forced to disband a few years ago, the rest of the Greek Community has started to evolve to avoid the same fate.
“There’s no hazing, no photographs and no wearing Greek letters or drinking,” Smith said. “This all in an attempt to restore reputations.”
According to Smith, Pacific differentiates from other school’s Greek Life systems, as it has no actual houses.
All the chapters on Pacific’s campus share a lounge.
Smith said PUGS’s goal is to have a tight community with local values and more personal bonds.
However, Smith is not the only one worried about Greek reputations.
“It’s hard to rebuild the reputation, because of things that happened in years past,” Undergraduate Student Senate (USS) President and Public Relations Coordinator for Theta Nu Alpha, senior Vicki Lee said. “A lot of people say negative things but don’t get to know us.”
Because of this negativity, Greek Chapters are trying to be less pushy when it comes to rush events.
Many chapters are still working on moving toward acceptance and non-discrimination.
The Delta Chi Deltas, who have 3 cisgender members and no straight members, is the only Greek chapter at Pacific that accepts pledges from any gender identity.
With a total of four sororities, including Delta Chi Delta, and only one fraternity, Greek Life at Pacific is shifting its focus when it comes to gender.
“There’s just not enough interest from the guys, for fraternities here,” Rigwood said.
Rigwood is hopeful that the homecoming tailgate for fraternity alumni will heighten interests for bringing back old fraternities that have been disbanded over the years.
The lack of interest from men isn’t the only problem Greek Life faces.
Many of the Greek chapters on campus feel a lack of support from the University itself, which is why members are concerned about reputations.
According to Smith, an important part of Greek Life is community service. And each chapter does some form of giving back.
“Joining Greek Life is a good way to find a community when you feel like you don’t have one,” Lee said. “All the Greek chapters are amazing and there is no pressure to pledge, so come through.”