Going Greek? Here’s what you need to know

Media Credit: Hatchet File Photo by Desiree Halpern | Photo Editor

GW freshman and Epsilon Sigma Alpha member Younma Sirgi pies Jack Kornblatt, a sophomore in Sigma Nu, during a fundraiser for a Children's Hospital.

Media Credit: Hatchet File Photo by Desiree Halpern | Photo Editor
GW freshman and Epsilon Sigma Alpha member Younma Sirgi pies Jack Kornblatt, a sophomore in Sigma Nu, during a fundraiser for a Children’s Hospital.

Got Greek letters on your brain? Have you always dreamed of singing “Wagon Wheel” on the patio of one of those townhouses you saw on your first tour of campus? Or are you just interested in learning the basics?

One in three students at GW are involved in Greek life. Here’s everything you need to know about it.

Rush and recruitment

Before students can become a part of the Greek community, they go through a week-long process to find the right fraternity or sorority for them.

Guys go through rush, which will be held from Sept. 28 to Oct. 9, with a mandatory information session held on Sept. 24 and 25. During rush, fraternities hold events to get to know each potential new member, or “PNM.”

Girls looking to join a sorority go through a week-long process called recruitment. Each girl is required to meet with each sorority affiliated with the Panhellenic Association on the first night of recruitment. Each group of girls has a leader, or Pi Rho Chi, who guides them through the process, giving them the support they need as they pick the chapter that’s right for them and helping them pick out the perfect outfit for each night of recruitment.

Each day of recruitment focuses on one aspect of the chapter, like philanthropy. By the end of the week, each potential new member meets for an hour with members of her top two or three sororities.

Afterwards, girls receive bids from the sororities that picked them to become a member, and they attend bid day on the National Mall.

Giving back through philanthropy

If you join Greek life, don’t be surprised if you find yourself in a crowd of students wearing brightly colored “frat tanks” as you make your way through a massive blow-up obstacle course in the middle of the National Mall, all for a charity.

Sororities and fraternities hold philanthropy events during the year to benefit a charity or cause affiliated with their chapter. These events include field days, penny wars and fundraisers at restaurants on campus, like Sweetgreen and Jettie’s.

Two of the most well-known philanthropy events are Pi Kappa Alpha’s Fireman’s Challenge, which raises money for the D.C. Firefighters Burn Foundation through a field day involving obstacle courses and fire hoses, and Kappa Sigma’s Shave Away Cancer event, where brothers shave their heads to raise money for St. Baldrick’s Foundation, which funds childhood cancer research.

Last semester, Alpha Phi raised over $3,000 for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society in honor of one of their members who was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma earlier in the year. Delta Tau Delta held a similar fundraiser and donated $24,000 to cover the medical bills of one member’s father, who was battling cancer.

Greek housing options

Students who join Greek life at GW can spend at least a semester living in Greek housing. Some chapters live on a floor in International House, a residence hall exclusively for Interfraternity Council and Panhellenic Association-affiliated Greek chapters.

You’ll get a chance to bond with your sisters while binge-watching sessions of Netflix, or take a study break with your brothers on your chapter’s “fratio.”

Members of Pi Beta Phi and Chi Omega sororities live in Strong Hall for at least one year, and other members of fraternities and sororities live in townhouses on 23rd and 22nd streets, where you’ll find country music blasting when the weather is warm.

Greek life task force prepares recommendations

By the time students come back to campus in the fall, members of the Interfraternity Council and the Panhellenic Association will have made recommendations to GW’s administration after forming the Greek life task force.

Student leaders in Greek life said earlier in the year that they wanted to make sexual assault prevention a priority for the task force, which will publicly release its findings later in the summer. Over the past year, Greek leaders have met with administrators and safety officials to discuss prevention, and fraternity chapters like Sigma Chi and Beta Theta Pi have held sexual assault prevention training for their chapters.

The Hatchet has disabled comments on our website. Learn more.