Sophomore year rush has been a mainstay at Oklahoma Christian University for years—however, this may change in the near future.
Oklahoma Christian’s Student Government Association has been discussing a proposal to present to the academic administration and Student Life which would advocate for freshmen to be eligible to rush one of the nine social service clubs on campus. Oklahoma Christian freshmen have not been eligible to rush since the mid-2000s.
As previously reported by the Talon, the Constitution Rules and Revisions Committee plans to propose the initiative to student life. The plan must be supported by the student body and the academic administration in order to take effect.
In an interview with the Talon, SGA Executive President Abigail Kent detailed the process behind the potential change.
“On a yearly basis, students—especially freshmen—are interested in changing the rush requirements,” Kent said. “This is not a new desire; it’s something that comes up quite often. I have had several individuals talk to me about starting up the discussion to change the requirements to include freshmen, and I was happy to do so.”
Kent emphasized the SGA does not have the power to allow freshmen to rush.
“[Rush] is directly linked to the university’s policies, which diminishes our ability to change or enforce anything,” Kent said. “It is something in the student handbook. What we would create as legislation would be a proposal to give to the academic administration to consider.”
Jackson High, a member of the Constitution Rules and Revisions Committee, discussed the motivation behind the proposed rush requirements.
“We’ve discussed a couple different initiatives to increase the quality of life on campus,” High said. “One of the biggest ones we found was allowing freshmen to rush. This has two benefits: allowing freshmen to be more involved with upperclassmen and, as a result, potentially increasing student retention rates.”
High stated if all goes to plan, freshmen may be able to rush sooner rather than later.
“The goal is to allow freshmen to rush in the fall [of 2020],” High said. “However, we may be subject to unexpected delays, depending on how student life responds.”
As it stands, freshmen are encouraged to be involved on campus through Freshman Experience, which allows first-year college students to get oriented through Earn Your Wings and participate with other freshmen in Fanfare, intramurals, Homecoming and Spring Sing. It also organizes events for freshmen to socialize and bond with each other through dorm meetings, devotionals and banquets.
However, Kent expressed how freshmen feel they might benefit by joining a social club in their first year.
“Freshmen can feel less connected to the campus as a whole,” Kent said. “I also recognize the fact that if you are not in a club, you are potentially excluded from activities on campus. Spring Sing and Homecoming are huge, and while those do have ways for freshmen to be involved, I can understand why freshmen may want what they may argue would be the full experience.”
High mentioned how his own experience echoes the desires of many freshmen.
“I knew about three people who weren’t freshmen [during my first year],” High said. “I thought about leaving because I didn’t feel like I had a deep root at this university that I might have had if I were in a club.”
High also acknowledged potential drawbacks to freshmen rushing a social club.
“Freshmen are transitioning from high school to college,” High said. “Adding the distraction of club activities could end up being a negative impact on their academic life. In addition, freshmen have problems with fitting into the moral and ethical environment of a school. Older students may have different attitudes and become a negative influence.”
While the idea has been brought forward, the proposal still requires discussion and action from SGA, Student Life and the student body.
“We need to talk to more freshmen and get their perspective on it,” High said. “We think it would be better for them to rush, but do they think it is better to rush? The second thing would be to talk to club leaders and get their perspective. Do they want freshmen in their clubs? After that, we want to talk to student life and get their perspective, especially with their own initiative for freshmen.”
Kent articulated how the Constitution Rules and Revisions Committee is bringing this proposal to the table because SGA serves to listen to and reflect the student body’s desires.
“The motivation for this issue comes from the fact that SGA desires to be a voice for the student body as a whole,” Kent said. “We are here to represent whatever the students feel is important. Whether or not we can make immediate changes, we desire to uphold the voices of the students.”