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It's that time of year again — time for the women of UCF to once again have the opportunity to "go Greek" and become part of a sisterhood. Hold onto your monogrammed T-shirts; it's rush week ladies.

Rushing a sorority can be a nerve-wracking experience, but the UCF Panhellenic Council (PAN) is working hard to make spring rush comfortable and enjoyable for all new recruits. While fall recruitment week is a very structured week of events that are filled with excitement and roughly 900 girls "running home," spring rush offers more of a relaxed feel to the process of joining a sorority.

Out of the 12 PAN sororities, eight are participating in spring recruitment, but all are attending the kickoff event called "Spring Fling" on Monday, Jan. 12 from 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. in the Pegasus Ballroom. This event gives possible recruits the opportunity to meet and talk to all of the sororities in one place.

Alpha Epsilon Phi, Chi Omega, Delta Zeta, Delta Delta Delta, Gamma Phi Beta, Kappa Alpha Theta, Kappa Kappa Gamma and Pi Beta Phi will welcome new recruits to their chapters this spring.

Related: Fraternity spring rush at UCF begins Wednesday

About 350 to 400 girls are registered for spring rush, said Panhellenic President Meghan Kircher.

Jessica Vasquez, Tri Delta president and a junior biomedical sciences major, said that it's important for girls to have an open mind and stay relaxed when participating in rush week in order to find their perfect fit.

"I kept thinking, 'This is where I can see myself becoming a better person, growing up,' and I wanted to be like the older girls. They kind of became a role model," she said regarding her own rush week experience in fall 2012.

Chelsea Williams, Chi Omega recruitment chair and junior studying environmental engineering, emphasized the advantages of participating in spring rush. She said it includes all of the benefits of fall recruitment week such as social events and receiving bids but is less intimidating because of the smaller pledge classes.

Vasquez said she would recommend spring rush because "since it is so small, you get to actually really see the chapters … and how we really are minus the screaming and clapping."

Olivia Brennan, Tri Delta vice president of membership and a junior event management major said being yourself is the best thing one can do to get the most out of rush week.

Brennan suggested that students shouldn't listen to stereotypes or follow where their friends go, but instead join the sorority where they feel most at home, because every sorority has something different to offer.

Chi Omega's recruitment week will actually be two weeks long because it was not eligible for fall rush, but all other participating sororities will be giving out bids from Monday through Thursday.

Related: Chi Omega reclaims UCF campus house for spring

"Come open to talk and just get to know every organization that you meet," said Megan Palik, a national consultant for Chi Omega. "It's great to get to know people whether you join the chapter or not."

As for a few tangible items to help you survive rush week, Chi Omega president and junior studying human communications, Jessica Sublette, said ChapStick, water and mints are staple items to keep on hand.


The cost to rush:

Alpha Epsilon Phi: $1,165
Chi Omega: $1,410
Delta Zeta: $956
Delta Delta Delta: $2,346
Gamma Phi Beta: $1,445
Kappa Alpha Theta: $1,274
Kappa Kappa Gamma: $1,394
Pi Beta Phi: $1,770

Prices are according to the UCF Panhellenic Council Sorority Chapter Fees Per Semester, 2013-2014 PDF. Once a bid from a sorority is accepted, it is the new member's responsibility to pay her dues for the semester.

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Paige Wilson is a Digital Producer for the Central Florida Future. Follow her on Twitter at @paigeshortstack or email her at PaigeW@CentralFloridaFuture.com.

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