What’s in a ‘spike bag’ and everything you need to know about sorority season, which recently took over TikTok

I never joined Greek life in college – but I knew a lot of people who did. I used to listen to my sorority friends discuss their experiences during peak week, how much they loved their “big” or “little”, and all the festivities they had to attend. As a result, I’ve always been low-key very intrigued by anything related to Greek life.

Brynn Anderson/AP

Luckily for me, TikTok too! Recently, my For You page was overrun with a ton of videos about Peak Week, when fraternities and sororities recruit students to join their organizations at the start of the school year. For many schools, the peak week begins the first weekend in August.

Young women at rush week sorority
Congressional Quarterly / CQ-Roll Call Inc.

And after falling down a #RushTok rabbit hole this week, I wanted to share what I’ve learned about the (weird? wild? wonderful? Can’t decide) world of Rush Week. Let’s go.

The #RushTok tag on TikTok has over 300 million views. And many of the videos relate specifically to the week of the sorority rush at big schools in the southern United States, like the University of Alabama – where Greek life looms large in campus culture.

The #rushtok page on TikTok

Basically, the rush is a week-long process filled with social events that new sorority hopefuls attend to get to know members of different sorority houses. It’s a lot of get-togethers, meet-and-greets, and each university has its own peak week traditions.

Young women in sorority t-shirts at peak week

Congressional Quarterly / CQ-Roll Call Inc.

(It should be noted, however, that while Rush Week has taken off on social media in recent years, it’s actually been around since the first sorority’s inception centuries ago.)

Vintage photo of young women posing with different sorority sweatshirts

Gray Villet/Getty Images

As recap on the cut: Last summer, the University of Alabama Greek Life recruiting process essentially took over TikTok and YouTube after students posted videos documenting their peak week journey. The “Bama rush week” videos showed everything from the outfits the students planned to wear to how they prepared for the week-long events.

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Earlier this month, urgent videos flooded TikTok again. The hopeful sorority members eagerly whipped out their smartphones and ring lights to share tips, insights and advice with others who were in the same boat. And let me tell you, the dedication to preparing for the peak week is 👏🏼 real 👏🏼.

The #rushtok search page on TikTok

Fabiana Buontempo / TikTok

A popular topic is “What’s in my shopping bag?” format – where potential sisters explain exactly what they are packing and preparing for the peak week.

Each video is a little different, but the common themes seem to be the type of bag (a large, often colorful tote), filled with things like makeup, snacks, a change of clothes, items to beat the heat (mini fans, oil blotters, dry shampoo), and urgent “supplies” (notebooks, pens). It’s pretty comprehensive, and honestly… it feels heavy?? 😂

Tiles of young women showing what's in their shopping bag

IDK about you, but I personally like to get insight into things like someone’s routine, what’s in their purse, etc. So while learning what sorority hopefuls are packing in their bags for peak week has nothing to do with my life, it fascinates me.

Fabiana Buontempo / TikTok

For example, in this video of a student rushing to Auburn University in Alabama, she first talked about the importance of deliberately using “a cheap bag” and why having a notebook and a pen for taking notes is “crucial” during the busy week. Then she took 27 different (!!!) items out of her bag.

A girl showing what's in her shopping bag

@abbyyhulbert / TikTok

She also explained how she uses her notebook: “At the end of each [rush] all around i put little bible verses just to remind me that god has a plan for me and that i will end up where i am meant to be no matter what,” she said in her video.

I'm rooting for you, girl!

I’m rooting for you, girl!

@abbyyhulbert / TikTok

The busy week differs a bit from college to college, but in general it is a busy week that requires a lot of planning, coordination, and organization.

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According to the University of Alabama’s recruiting calendar, students move from convocation to open house, followed by Philanthropy Days and Sisters’ Days. These days are followed by Preference Day, and peak weekends end on Auction Day – when new members receive their offer to join a sorority house.

Sorority girls lined up in front of a house

According to Elite Daily, for each of these days there is a different dress code – which is why the young women are packing several outfits for the week and taking a change of clothes with them, just in case.

Brynn Anderson/AP

This urgent video offers advice and dives a little deeper into the “rules” – both spoken and unspoken – that often govern the week.

For example, this sorority sister explained the importance of making a good first impression, as well as the things future sisters “should” and “shouldn’t” talk about when meeting different sororities during peak week and aim for an offer.

A young woman wearing a Greek shirt

According to her, you should ask about things like sorority values ​​and philanthropic commitments. You want to get an idea of ​​if this is right for you, if you’re a good candidate for sorority, and what’s expected if you join.

As for subjects to avoid? “No alcohol, no drugs, no sex. Don’t talk about the fraternity guys,” she said. “It makes you look very immature and paints you in a bad light. For recruitment, you are expected to present yourself as the best version of yourself possible.

Physique Girl / Via giphy.com

This video – from last year’s rush at the University of Alabama – recaps the week in action from someone who lived through it.

Whether it’s packing rush bags and planning outfits to kick off the week…

A young woman taking a selfie of her earring

…until the end of the week when the potential sisters (in this case) crowd into the campus football stadium and anxiously wait to be told which sorority they’ve been invited to join.

Young women waiting in a football stadium on bid day

Then they literally run to these sorority houses. It looks like a huge production!

Young women running along the streets of a university campus

Either way, this is your #RushTok recap for now. In my opinion, I think one of the reasons why social media (and I) might be so drawn to learning about this world is that these videos give us a glimpse of the intensity of the fight for a place coveted in a sorority – in a college where Greek life is extremely important – really.

Physique Girl / Via giphy.com

For the best or for the worst!

Good luck with rush, ladies! We are going to watch.

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What do you think of #RushTok? Tell me your thoughts in the comments below!

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