• Chris Larson

UBC Fraternities Host Spring Rush During Covid-19 Pandemic | Frat Opinion Piece

Fraternity members party image
The frat pictured in this photo are not actually partaking in spring rush during COVID-19, we simply could not find a better photo :/

The time has come for fraternities to decide whether or not they will be doing a spring rush to recruit new members. Surprisingly, every fraternity conducted a fall rush and managed to complete the process without any positive COVID-19 cases. That didn’t stop hundreds of students from getting angry at the frats over the internet, both openly and anonymously, though. Despite the fact that petitions were made to get the frats to stop having rush, and events in general, they were met with pretty much no success. The people who were angry at the frats for having a fall rush seem to have belonged to one of the three following categories: a.) they were mad that no one was inviting them to events so they tried to “cancel” those who were going to gatherings, b.) they saw it as an opportunity to virtue signal, or c.) they were genuinely worried about their safety and the safety of people around them.

Safety concerns in regards to COVID-19 are, for the most part, valid. Research has shown that COVID-19 is significantly more dangerous than the flu, and the vast majority of the individuals adopted their lifestyles to this accordingly. However, those who preach the opposite ideology (that COVID-19 is no big deal) tend to be those who barely passed high school science classes. What is important to note though, is that COVID-19 restrictions in B.C. during September allowed events with 50 people to take place, as long as reasonable physical distancing/safety efforts were in place. The fact that so many students were outraged with frats having events during that time was silly. The entity that they should have been mad at was the government, for allowing events with 50 people to happen. Whether or not those rush events were actually conducted safely is a whole other question, and the answer is variable from fraternity to fraternity. From rush hostesses claiming they were “too hot to wear a mask,” to houses not screening their own members’ temperatures before the event, it’s pretty clear safety precautions were just loosely followed.

Fast forward to January though, things are looking pretty different. The number of cases in September was minuscule and they’ve been increasing exponentially during the past few months. COVID-19 restrictions now forbid individuals from seeing anyone from outside their household. Compliance with these restrictions ranges vastly from person to person, but for the most part, everyone seems to be taking greater precautions now than they were in September. If the frats were to hold spring rush now, they would be fully breaking provincial laws. This could have pretty serious consequences for the houses, and students involved. This isn’t really stopping them though. Zeta Psi (lol) has already announced their spring rush on social media, but instead of publicly advertising the associated events, they’ve taken a clever approach and are using the “DM us for more information” approach. I expect the other frats to do the same as well. Sure, that’s great for PR, but it’s only a matter of time before this gets leaked to the general student body which would cause a huge mess for the UBC Greek system. A number of Greeks love to act “woke” on social media in regards to COVID-19 (even though they’re always going out to brunch with each other and whatnot) meaning news about a quiet spring rush will probably circulate around campus pretty quickly despite efforts to keep it on the DL. All this considered, spring rush probably isn’t the best idea. This is bad news for frats like Psi U, who initiated zero new brothers in the fall, banking on spring rush to recruit new members.

Without spring rush, though, comes the possibility of UBC’s Greek system dying out. Rates of membership have been steadily dwindling the past couple of years and the system just isn’t what it used to be. Left and right, people are saying that within a year or two, frats and sororities will cease to exist at UBC. Honestly though, if the Greek system is going to phase out, it won’t be because of frats not doing spring rush. It’s inevitable that the Greek system will continue to lose popularity simply because of the shift in student culture that has occurred in the past couple years. Frats and sororities are based off of very traditional values which flourished decades ago, but now the world is becoming increasingly liberal. Liberal values are particularly prominent at UBC, so it makes sense that the Greek system has been losing popularity here. New students would rather embrace their individuality and get involved in things where they don’t necessarily need to conform to someone else’s values and ideologies, which is really what frats and sororities are all about.

The decision of whether or not to conduct a spring rush is the decision of each individual fraternity. Just because spring rush is probably overall a bad idea, it really won’t stop houses from doing it. It will definitely be interesting to see which houses do take part and the ensuing benefits and consequences that occur.