What do you have to do to get into a sorority? Short answer: Lots. I wasn’t in one myself — ultimately Greek life just wasn’t really my thing — and yes, the Greek system does have some issues that need to be worked out; however, a lot of people really enjoy their time as sorority sisters or fraternity brothers, and sometimes, you don’t even have to subject yourself to vicious, violent hazing to get into one. Once you win a bid, though, you do still have to go through an initiation process — and even if there’s no violence, you do still have to do some pretty weird things. Benign, but weird.
It’s not terribly easy to find specifics about the initiation process on the Internet — it’s my understanding that generally, keeping your mouth shut is a tenet of Greek sister and brotherhood. If you dig a little bit, though, you can find some dirt on the types of things people do to earn the title of sister. Accordingly, I’ve rounded up seven of the most bizarre sorority pledge activities I could find that don’t venture into the realm of physical harm. Got a story of your own to share?
1. The Ice Cream Room
Speaking to HerCampus, a senior at an urban East Coast college who wished to remain anonymous described one of the weirdest uses for ice cream I’ve ever heard: The pledges were led into a room whose floor had been covered in ice cream and told, “You have to make it disappear, but you can’t eat it.” The solution to the problem involved putting it all over yourself and in your hair.
2. Counting Sequins
A sister at a Midwestern university told Teen Vogue that, during the hazing process, she was required to sort a whole bunch of sequins by color while repeating a sorority chant over and over again. Sounds annoying, but at least it’s not harmful, right?
Back in 2013, Tess Koman made waves for her essay in Cosmopolitan about how getting hazed was weirdly worth it. A regular occurrence during her pledge period was something called a “line-up,” in which pledges received a mass email telling them to be at the house in under seven minutes, wearing all white and with absolutely no makeup on. The sisters would sit in the dark and call each pledge into a spotlight; then the sisters would do everything from hurl verbal abuse at the pledge to telling her to “do her sexiest dance.” All that definitely wouldn’t be worth it for me, but to each her own, I suppose.
The same sorority girl who described the ice cream room also detailed an event called “Apple-Onion.” One by one, each pledge was led into a small room, where they were told that one other sister in their pledge group had to leave, and that they had to decide which one it was. After they wrote down their choice, they were presented with an apple and an onion and instructed to take a bite out of one of them — knowing that their pledge sisters would have to finish whichever one they didn’t eat. The “right” answer was for each pledge to write down their own name as the sister to be ousted, sacrificing themselves for the good of the group, and to bite the onion so their sisters didn’t have to. I understand the symbolism, but it seems a little roundabout, no? If this choice were part of a video game, I’d probably give it grief for being a little obtuse, but oh well.
5. Throwing Away Good Money
This one might be an urban legend, so take it with a grain of salt — but according to both Cosmo and Smosh, one sorority at Columbia University once allegedly required its pledges to buy a Tiffany necklace… and then throw it into the river. I’m really hoping it’s not true, because it’s ridiculous.
6. Food Fight
One of the primary activities of most pledging involves learning every last thing there is to know about your sorority. Sometimes, according to one sister speaking to Teen Vogue, quizzes on whether or not you’ve retained all that information come with having food thrown at you if you get a question wrong. Messy, perhaps, but at least it lets you embrace your inner five-year-old right?
7. Rush Coaches
OK, so technically this one isn’t a pledge activity; however, it still falls under “crazy things people do to join sororities,” so it’s earned itself a place on this list. Not only are “rush coaches” a real thing, but moreover, they can run you up quite a bill if you hire one to help you train for rush week. According to an article The New York Times ran in 2012, some services, like those offered by the Rushbiddies, cost about $100 for an hour and a half-long “mini-session”; meanwhile, though, Business Insider discovered that rush coaches can cost as much as $8,000 total. Yikes.