There are not many beautiful things about a Michigan January. The snow is no longer fluffy and festive; rather, it bites at the exposed ankles and fingers of Hope’s students as they trudge to class, trying to avoid slipping on ice patches from the storm the night before. The wind no longer offers reprieve for those who live in a dorm. They now fight to find a happy medium between the winter outside and the sauna created by the heaters in their rooms. Instead, it pierces coats and gnaws at students’ resolve to get to an 8am class. However, amidst all the formidable elements of winter in Holland, comes the sweet relief of fresh starts and a time to try something new, like rushing a fraternity or sorority to meet some new people. As Rush season kicks off, students are bombarded with numerous posters to encourage them to give Greek Life a go. Due to the eye’s natural inclination to be drawn to bright colors, students are more likely to be aware of the sororities on Hope’s campus and may not be as informed about their male counterparts, fraternities, that boast relatively the same recruitment process. In talking to David Hallock (’22), a member of the Centurion fraternity, his expressed concern was not the lack of pink or orange on their posters, but rather the time commitment many students fear when considering joining a fraternity. He noted, “I think people worry that being apart of Greek Life will distract from school, or that they are already too busy. One of the nice things about Hope is you can really be as social as you want to be. I started my freshman year in 18 credits of core engineering and graduation requirement classes, often surrounded by juniors and seniors. I managed to do both the Pull and Nykerk while getting out enough to meet Greek organizations!” Hallock also indicated that others had similar experiences as he described the involvement of many of his fraternity brothers. According to Hallock, college life and Greek Life can absolutely be manageable if you are willing to work for it. He recounted, “Four of my fraternity brothers were involved in the Pull this year, Dylan Sherman, my cosocial chair, is in a Jazz Trio that plays during Coffeehouse ad Will, our president, regularly has a radio show through Hope broadcasting.” Being a member of a fraternity does not necessarily mean living in a frat house. Many members of Hope’s Greek Life choose not to live in their organization’s designated home. In fact, most frat houses are only fit for 5-7 students.
However, Alexander Van Witzenburg (’22), who is also a Centurion brother, does recommend the experience. He stated, “I do live in the fraternity house, and I love living there because you get to be apart of the action all the time. I feel as though I never miss out, whether it’s unexpected visits from alumni, or simply having the actives come over. There is never a dull moment.” William Clinton (’22) completes the triplet of Centurion brothers who vouch for giving rush a chance. He said, “I would encourage anyone to rush because regardless of which organization you join, there is one out there for you. I was not going to rush initially, however, after seeing what Greek Life was all about at Hope, I wanted to be apart of it. It is a way for students to find their place and find people who are just like them. College is a time for students to put themselves out there and try new things, Greek Life is a great place to start, especially for freshmen.” College is a time for making memories, and one of Hallocks favorites was as follows: “The night I got my Big, Jonathan Schoenhider, during Greek Orientation or “pledge” was definitely one of my favorites. I got to know him during Rush, and we really connected. The weeks following rush were really stressful, and after a particularly hard day, it was revealed that he would be my Big. After the unveiling of this information, I ran outside and made a snow angel on the front lawn of the Centurion House, Anchor Cottage. From there, we triumphantly paraded to Applebees for some half-off appetizers!” Van Witsenburg, while more conservative in his memory sharing divulged, “My favorite memory with my fraternity was during this year’s Pull, where we had 4 Centurions. in the Pull, and all the other actives and old Centurian alumni came to cheer them on. I loved showing up for our boys, we take brotherhood very seriously.” Clinton had a hard time choosing just one memory, but he revealed his favorite aspect of the brotherhood was “hanging out with the boys, meeting people from all different walks of life, and discovering who I really am.” If the snow angels and Applebees’ appetizers didn’t sell you, the support, friendship, and family described might. So even though this winter is bitterly cold, rushing and finding your new home could be that one beautiful thing you were looking for to keep you warm until spring finally arrives.