Destroy a Car and Meet Great People
The beginning of spring semester means two things: frozen misery and rush season. But let’s just skip over that first one, OK? Here’s something I never, ever would have expected saying before coming to Kenyon: Joining a fraternity was the best decision I made on the Hill. While most of what I knew about Greek life before my freshman year were the negative stereotypes that grew out of genuinely horrible experiences with some of these groups at other colleges, I quickly learned that, like most things here, fraternities at Kenyon are different — and a whole lot better.
As a freshman, I wasn’t actively looking to join a fraternity, but because Kenyon is such a small school, I inevitably met members of a few organizations in my classes and at events on campus. One of my Service Pre-Orientation leaders (whom you may recall) happened to be an AD, or a member of Alpha Delta Phi, and invited my friends and me to hang out in Old Kenyon with some brothers. After talking with a few ADs, it was obvious that the fraternity stereotypes in my head were, at least with this group, a work of fiction. Like most people I know at Kenyon, the ADs I met were extremely kind and funny, and they actually wanted to get to know me, a freshman they had just met. Moreover, what I assumed to be an exclusive and secretive group turned out to be a bunch of bright people who don’t take themselves seriously and enjoy spending time with those who respect and enjoy difference. So … my kind of people. But I was still pretty hesitant with the idea of joining a fraternity as winter break came (freshmen can only join during their second semester).
Then rush week happened.
Rush week is basically a week where Greek organizations host events so we can get to know those interested in joining and answer questions about the process. Groups go bowling, eat pizza and wings, and host poker tournaments. These events are designed so that there’s no pressure to join an organization afterward. But for me, rush week was way more than a great excuse to diversify my food options. While I also had the opportunity to get to know some other Greek organizations, the AD events and conversations with brothers sold me pretty quickly.
Actually, it was one event in particular: Car Smash.
It’s pretty self-explanatory. We get a (surprisingly inexpensive) car from a scrapyard. And then we destroy it (safely).
Deep breathing and yoga exercises have nothing on smashing a decommissioned Toyota minivan to pieces with a sledgehammer. Seriously, it’s a great way to relieve stress, but I'm no doctor.
I had a blast this week, my second rush week as an active AD, connecting with potential brothers and telling them more about the fraternity. As a freshman, however, smashing cars was not the deciding factor for accepting the bid to pledge at the end of the week. Finding an incredibly genuine, wicked-smart and diverse group, on the other hand, was, and I'm excited to get to know the ones I met this year even better.