To the Editor:
I was disappointed to read the Editorial Notebook by T.J. Lipscomb ’13 in last week’s issue of The Poly, and I would like to present a counterpoint to a few of his arguments against the rush process here at RPI.
Rush is not simply a time where you are “continually annoyed by people knocking on your dorm room doors.” It is an opportunity for both undergraduates and greek organizations to meet each other, enjoy a variety of fun and relaxing events, and discover new opportunities for the future. Through the variety of different events held during rush, greek organizations look to meet as many people as possible in order to make the best decisions that they can in selecting undergraduates to extend bids to. It is necessary for greek organizations to do this; the people best qualified to continue our organizations and their work may not always come to us, so we go out to meet as many people as possible.
Speaking for my own house, we make it a point to respect the decisions of anyone who does not wish to participate in our rush events. We saw several signs on doors indicating disinterest in rush, and we chose to respect them. We do not want to force people into our organizations; we want people to see the benefits that our organizations can provide and choose to look at them on their own volition. There should be no guilt in rejecting an invitation to a rush event; I feel that there is no prior expectation for undergraduates to be interested in our organizations. It is up to each house to showcase what each of our unique organizations wishes to do. Through personal contact between members and undergraduates—including during our rush events—we look to achieve this goal.
Finally, I believe that Lipscomb was also in error in suggesting that the main goal of all our fraternities is philanthropy. Though our organizations do engage in charitable and philanthropic work, it is not the only purpose of our organizations. Speaking on behalf of my own fraternity, philanthropy stands among many other missions that my organization looks to complete; to suggest that our events must always display charitable goals quite clearly misses several of the reasons why my fraternity exists. Odd as it might seem, we realize that a gigantic pasta dinner and a movie might not showcase how we contribute to the community. However, it may be the event where we give someone critical information, and that information may lead them on to membership in an international organization that provides them with philanthropic, leadership, academic, professional, and practical opportunities for a lifetime.