Rush is a largely informal process, so there is no set level of commitment. Make an effort to show up to at least half of the rush events on the calendar and go out of your way to get to know brothers in your classes, extracurricular programs, and athletics teams. Rush is nothing to be stressed out about; it's a fun learning process, not something that gets in the way of a comprehensive experience in your first month of college.
The candidate process involves a more intense commitment than rushing. Candidates are expected to attend two one hour-long meetings per week: one exclusively for the candidate class class (to learn about Sigma Nu's history, values, and ritual) and another for the entire Chapter (to continue to cultivate relationships with brothers and learn about chapter engagements). The University also requires attendance at several Greek development workshops. Apart from this, much of the candidate process offers plenty of flexibility. Sigma Nu is involved in a wide variety of initiatives, from philanthropy projects, to professional development workshops, to student group events, to social gatherings. During the candidate process, we encourage you to get involved in whichever facet of the fraternity you feel passionate about. That being said, we take the process extremely seriously and this is the formative time in which you learn -- and demonstrate -- the values associated with being part of a brotherhood.
Most importantly, we stay true to our national fraternity's founding principle of no hazing. You will never be hazed as a candidate at Sigma Nu. We certainly have special candidate events, a candidate education process, and candidate challenges, but all are framed in a constructive way meant to positively enhance the bonds of brotherhood. Hazing is not tolerated at any level of the fraternity.
On a related note, your grades and other interests will not suffer during pledging. The need to study is always a permissible excuse to miss a candidate event; we rely on you to budget your time between studying and learning as a candidate. This isn't Animal House; we aren't waking you up in the middle of the night to make you do laps around campus during finals week. In fact, to the contrary, we've seen grades and other extracurricular/professional interests significantly benefit from the very beginning of brothers' involvement in Sigma Nu. Where better to gain study partners, peer-to-peer academic advising, and stepping stones into other student groups than through the trusted, high-caliber network of Sigma Nu? Want to get involved with the Spectator? Awesome, our former President is also the President/Publisher of the paper. What about a research position at the Earth Institute? Great, brothers researched at the Earth Institute and the Lamont Doherty Earth Observatory this past summer. Sports? Awesome, we have representation on the executive boards of five separate sports clubs/teams. Want to know what it takes to achieve a 4.0 freshman year? Super; two of our recent freshman candidates carried 3.98's throughout their first year and during their candidate process.
Brotherhood is an extremely flexible commitment. Your only hard-and-fast obligation will be the weekly chapter meetings. Once you become a brother, you are free to use the fraternity as a tool to develop professionally, personally, academically, or extracurricularly -- or just to have a good time and hang out with your best friends. Of course, most of our brothers attend a large share of our events/involvements, but they do so because they feel passionate about the fraternity and understand it's value, rather than because they are obligated to do so.
Fraternity leadership is an intense commitment. By becoming a leader in a fraternity, you gain significant autonomy in shaping an important campus institution -- a fraternity's mission statement is broad, and the influence it has over its members' lives is comprehensive; to lead one is therefore a highly involved challenge. You might focus on professional development initiatives for members, a Columbia pride campaign, philanthropy -- anything -- but the bottom line is one that is re-iterated at Sigma Nu's national College of Chapters: if you're doing your job the right way, it should be the hardest job on campus.