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Wednesday, Jun 12, 2024
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An analysis of the expected and the unexpected of IFC rush themes

A sample of the IFC banners adorning houses in Greek Village for fall recruitment.
A sample of the IFC banners adorning houses in Greek Village for fall recruitment.

This is an opinion article. Any views expressed belong solely to the author and are not representative of The Cluster, any organizations the author is a member of or the faculty, staff or administration at Mercer University.

This past Saturday, Panhellenic recruitment culminated as it always does in the screams of hundreds of sorority members celebrating Bid Day. Now that the women have had their fun, welcoming new and recently disaffiliated members to their chapters, the Interfraternity Council takes center stage.

IFC’s rush week is now upon us, as evidenced by the banners adorning Greek Village’s frat houses and the multiplying posts about poker nights, cookouts and football watch parties.

Though many members of the Mercer community are eagerly anticipating this week’s close and the observance of Boys’ Bid Day (a national holiday), I am relishing the opportunity to evaluate the rush themes of each chapter. After all, through each of these banners and Instagram posts, the member chapters of IFC communicate who they are.

This information is of the utmost importance for Boys’ Bid Day revelers and potential new members alike. Because of this significance, I have sorted each chapter’s theme into concise and descriptive categories. 

Yeah, I Would Expect This From a White Man

Lamda Chi Alpha – Top Gun

Capitalizing on the success of this summer’s “Top Gun: Maverick,” Lambda Chi opted for what in TikTok audio terms might be dubbed, “the safe choice, a little basic but you’re not wrong.” While it was inevitable that at least one of Mercer’s eight IFC fraternities would utilize this theme, it rises above any criticism due to its appeal to both men and women. As Top Gun has the thrills of patriotism, fighter jet sequences and Miles Teller’s mustache, it is a solid selection. Plus, the gentlemen of Lamda Chi paid homage to the original film with a beach volleyball event. 

Alpha Tau Omega – Talladega Nights

Though I do find that this beloved comedy invokes little more than the admiration of other men, I cannot fault the brothers of ATO. I suppose men are the target audience of all these themes, as boring as I may find that. This theme prompted one particularly talented member of ATO (or perhaps a girlfriend) to produce a beautiful portrait of Will Ferrell for the banner. This selection is perhaps not as trendy as Top Gun, but it will still endear the brothers of Alpha Tau Omega to PNMs all the same. 

Sigma Nu – Out of this World(?)

As lovingly and respectfully as I can say this, I believe I have seen some take on astronauts about five times in my career at Mercer. Sigma Nu put a unique spin on this by adding cowboy hats to the astronauts, but it still feels fairly repetitive from my perspective. Regardless, I wish the brothers of Sigma Nu a successful recruitment season. 

Oh Wait, That’s Actually Kind of Creative

Phi Delta Theta – Monopoly

Phi Delt is no stranger to an out-of-the-box rush theme. Throughout my time at Mercer, they have executed rather abstract concepts like Clif Bar and the Great Outdoors. This time, Phi Delta Theta appeals to the masses of business majors rushing with a Monopoly theme. Phi Delt’s approach to this is also unconventional because of its Instagram’s use of video while promoting rush. Through these measures, Phi Delt is sure to attract a class that is committed to building social capital.

Pi Kappa Phi – Ancient Greece 

I will confess that when I first saw this cartoon bear donning a toga, it filled me with enough shock and amusement to write this piece. The gentlemen of Pi Kappa Phi dared to imagine what it would be like to boil Greek life down to its essence, and I respect that innovation endlessly. What I would give to have been a fly on the wall in the exec meeting at which this theme was invented, as it honestly confronts the fact that the members of FSP choose to cosplay Ancient Greece as an embodiment of our highest ideals. 

Kappa Alpha Order – Yellowstone

Though this theme was admittedly a contender for “Yeah, I Would Expect This From a White Man,” I admire how well KA knows its brand. They are indeed the chapter of men most likely to sincerely wear cowboy hats or interact with some form of livestock. Additionally, I do think the first category mostly applies to what a college-aged white man is expected to select while "Yellowstone" would be the rush theme selection of my conservative father, for example. The design of KA’s shirts, banners and graphics appeal to rustic masculinity with the image of Kevin Costner as John Dutton, America’s current favorite cowboy.

I Need This Theme Explained To Me

Sigma Alpha Epsilon – Almost Friday

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Source: Instagram

So, I can definitively say that this theme was not designed to recruit me, but that is a nonissue given that I am an initiated and executive member of a Panhellenic sorority. Now, I am not completely unaware of the concept. I have seen people share the “Almost Friday” memes on Thursdays, but I feel like I am missing the joke. Is the extent of the joke only that it is about to be Friday? Unfortunately, the brothers of SAE do not have extensive visuals on social media to elucidate the concept for me. Even if I don’t get the joke, I am confident that it will draw in the kind of men with whom I have little to none in common. 

Gone but Not Forgotten

Kappa Sigma – Unable to Take a Pledge Class

I mourn the fact that we are unable to witness the theme Kappa Sig would have regaled us with. Hopefully, the brothers can utilize their hiatus to innovate a theme that will entertain me deeply in the future. 

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