#BamaRush: Sorority recruitment through the lens of TikTok

Jeffrey Kelly | @jeffkellyjr, Culture Editor

The University of Alabama’s campus is back in business. Thousands of students moved into residence halls last week for events like orientation, Camp 1831, Biology Bootcamp and — most notably to TikTok users — Alabama sorority recruitment.   

The Alabama Panhellenic Association kicked off fall primary recruitment on Aug. 7 for more than 2,500 potential new members. More than 10,000 UA students, or about 35% of the student body, participate in Greek life, making it the largest Panhellenic community in the nation. 

I realize that these numbers can seem either daunting or incredibly exciting — honestly, they are both!” APA President Shannon Healy said in a letter. “Joining our Panhellenic community is exciting; due to the size of the Capstone and our chapters your opportunities here are basically endless!”

The week-long formal recruitment process can be stressful for potential new members who arrived on campus days before, and many of them turned to TikTok during the week. Some potential new members showed off their outfits for each round of recruitment while some active members offered a glimpse into the other side of the recruitment process. 

These TikToks landed on the For You Page of UA students but quickly became a national hit. Some #BamaRush TikToks gained hundreds of thousands of views and sparked the question from users outside of Tuscaloosa, Alabama: Why is #BamaRush on my For You Page? 

Sorority recruitment at the largest Panhellenic community in the nation has captivated TikTok users everywhere. The Crimson White Culture Desk has compiled some of the most popular videos of #BamaRush. 

This user shows non-UA students what it’s like to walk around campus right now. Anyone who walks down Paul W. Bryant Drive will find thousands of potential new members donning heels and large tote bags.

@meganmulcahy4RUSH SEASON!! #bama♬ The Hustle – Van McCoy

One sorority’s recruitment chair shared how it feels to lead hundreds of members through a formal recruitment process using a voiceover of Abby Lee Miller, the infamous coach from the show “Dance Moms.”

@reannarocksursockshappy work week ❤️‍🔥#RollTide #SororityRecruitment #Rush♬ original sound – Em Rothfield

Each sorority has themed days during “work week,” the week leading up to recruitment when active members prepare to welcome potential new members. Instead of sporting Crimson Tide merchandise for jersey day, this user showed up looking like a cast member from “Jersey Shore.”

@bernalicioussswhen you take “jersey day” literally. #foryou #foryoupage #fy #fyp #TeamofTomorrow #JetPuffedSmourth #alabama #sorority #recruitment #rushweek #bama♬ original sound – pogjoe3

“It’s 7 in the morning.”

This sound was popular on #BamaRush. Recruitment starts early, and it’s an all-day event. This user shows her friends dressed up, walking across campus and taking photos before the day begins.

@droselikelilpumpWe love to see it 🤩 #fyp #bama #alphaphi #sorority♬ original sound – lilyachty

The OOTD, or outfit of the day, was a mainstay on #BamaRush.

@reeseboo11YAY sisterhood 💘⚡️🦋 ##alabama ##bamarush ##bama ##rushtiktok ##alabamarush ##ootd♬ original sound – Reese Grau

Sorority recruitment is a full-time job for both active and potential new members. This dedicated user left the night shift as a nurse and went straight to her sorority’s rush workshop.

“idk what sleep is tbh,” she wrote in the caption. 

@cantseemtofindmollyyidk what sleep is tbh #fyp #workweek #alabamarush♬ Yes I recognize them – The mid study of vanitas

These TikToks aren’t just reaching UA students. They’ve reached the For You Page of sorority members at other universities and TikTok users with neither Greek nor Alabama affiliation.

“If there’s one thing we can always count on, no matter what’s going on in the world, it’s Alabama sorority girls doing the most,” one user from Miami University said. “They are like the Olympic team of sorority girls.”

In the words of this TikTok user, “they’re like professional sorority girls.”

@gracemcelhinnyI’m on bama tok and I’m happy to be there♬ original sound – Gracemcelhinny

“I don’t know how I got on sorority rush TikTok,” this user said. “But I never want to leave. “I thought Olympics Tokyo 2020 was serious. No, Bama 2021 puts them Olympic athletes to shame.”

@ayoaustimusIm having a BLAST 😂 #fyp #foryou #bama #sorority #rush #rue21BeYouChallenge♬ Monkeys Spinning Monkeys – Kevin MacLeod