Deciding what to do for fraternity rush events is going to vary dramatically from chapter to chapter.
Regardless, all rush events should mirror what you like to do, and the interests of the brotherhood.
For example, if the brothers like to play sports, then you would like to have an event that would demonstrate how athletic a rushee is.
By giving a rushee an accurate picture of what your chapter is all about during rush, your success rate into turning them into active brothers increases dramatically.
The Best Fraternity Rush Event
That being said, I am a firm believer in a rush strategy that culminates into a single, invite-only event. This event should carry certain mystique, and the brothers should hype it for the entire rush period.
This event should stand out on your rush flyer. The mystique should prompt a lot of questions, but should only be answered vaguely. Let them know that the only rushees that will be invited will be the ones that the chapter feels would become good brothers. It is a great honor to be invited, and share in the experience of that night.
Deliver handwritten invitations to the rushees that you would like to invite. Remember, you are trying to create a first-class image, so be sure to portray that image in your invitations. You can do little things to instantly lose the exclusivity that you are trying to build. For example, misspelling the rushees name on the invitation or poor handwriting can kill your credibility. Pay attention to details, they matter!
The actual event should be a coat and tie event. I recommend an invite only dinner where the brothers serve the rushees. Be very careful with the seating chart. You should try to keep friends together, but separated from the other rushees by brothers. You don’t want to ever lose a guy because he doesn’t think highly of another guy you are recruiting.
After the dinner, the president of the chapter needs to address the chapter. When I was chapter president, I would always start with a sincere thank you to the rushees for taking the time to get to know the chapter. I would let them know it has been a sincere pleasure getting to know everyone, and that I hope they had as good a time the past few weeks as we did.
I would then explain what values our chapter was founded on. Every fraternity has a message at the core of their existence. I would make sure that our rushees knew ours. I would go on to explain a little bit of our chapter history to include famous alumni. I would not belabor this point, because it will be dry for most outsiders.
I would continue by explaining the chapter’s successes the previous year. I would be sure to recognize as many brothers as possible for their contributions to the chapter’s success. I would then outline our goals for this year, and how excited we were to accomplish them.
Finally, I would explain how the invite only dinner is a tradition that has evolved through the years, and always ends with the brothers explaining to our guests what fraternity means to them. It is an open forum to explain to the chapter whatever they wish to share.
I would explain that rushees can participate if they so desire. They can tell us anything they wish to share about themselves, what they are looking for in a fraternity or anything else that comes to mine. I would explain that the last thing we want to do is put anyone on the spot, so they can simply pass if they don’t have anything to say.
Then we would go around the room, and each brother would take their chance to explain what the chapter means to them.
Some brothers would tell heart-felt stories of how brothers helped them through hard times. Some brothers would tell how the chapter is the only real family they have known. Others would tell about crazy nights of debauchery and fun.
The emotion that was displayed was always impressive to rushees. That is because you can only have a certain effect by telling someone how much something means to you. However, if you can show them, it will have a profound impact.
More times than not the rushee will get swept up in the emotion and will join in. This is a great look into your potential pledge.
This fraternity rush event is an experience that a rushee will not forget. He won’t forget partially because he was able to witness what fraternity life is really all about, and partially because he got to be a part of it for one special night.
Be sure the last person to speak is one of the more charismatic brothers. It would work best if it was the president or the most senior brother, but that really doesn’t matter. When he concludes his talk, he should again thank the rushees for attending the event and sharing their experiences with the chapter this evening.
At the conclusion of the event, there is a choice to be made. The conventional wisdom is to then use the opportunity to talk to the rushees because they will be eager to learn more about the chapter. However, I believe it is smarter to take the rushees home immediately after the last person speaks.
The reason for this is because you want to end on a high note. It is like how a concert always ends after singing their best song in the encore, and the crowd is always left wanting more. Always take the rushees home wanting to know more. Don’t worry, you will have your chance to talk to them in the future.
If this fraternity rush event is done right, you won’t be able to make the night any greater than it already is. The only thing you can do is dilute the impact.
To learn more, check out our most in-depth article on fraternity recruitment: The Complete Guide to Fraternity Recruitment.