Fraternity rush has lots of advantages – meeting new people and eating all kinds of food. However, rush is often a logistical nightmare behind the scenes, with brothers finding it hard to remember the hundreds of students that walk through their doors.
Enter RushTap, a website founded at Penn last spring. Starting out with only six fraternities at Penn last year, nearly 100 fraternities now, both nationally and in Canada use the website.
The website allows rushes to create profiles for themselves and keep track of rush events.
For creators 2012 College graduate Jayson Weingarten, 2011 Engineering graduate Sam Oldak and 2011 College graduate Jake Wischnia, the website began as a fun project to help their own fraternity, Sigma Alpha Mu.
“At some point we realized, ‘Hey, this works really well,’ and decided to spread out a bit,” Weingarten said.
RushTap also gives fraternity brothers the opportunity to identify rushes by face and name, and decide electronically which potential members they would like to offer bids to. As students enter fraternities that use RushTap, they are asked to create a profile on the website by entering their information and taking a photo on a computer’s webcam. RushTap received nearly 60,000 page views just from fraternities at Penn this rush cycle.
After going through rush as a freshman last semester, Wharton sophomore and Alpha Chi Rho Vice President Abhishek Mishra saw that some fraternities used the system and decided to “give it a shot” at his fraternity.
“It helps to put a name to the face,” Mishra said, with regard to the webcam feature. “It is useful to have all brothers on the same page.”
While RushTap has grown quickly among many fraternities nationwide, including service, multicultural and business fraternities, only seven fraternities from Penn currently use RushTap. Weingarten attributes this to the difficulty in changing the status quo at many fraternities.
“There is so much tradition and history at these fraternities,” he said. “So it is hard to get them to change the way they have always been doing things.”
While smaller fraternities can use most of RushTap’s services for free, larger fraternities must pay $99 per year to use the service.
These costs have led some fraternities on campus to take a different route when it comes to registering rushes. College senior and Sigma Nu rush Co-Chair Zack Kleinbart said that some of his brothers have developed a system of registering potential members that is quite similar to RushTap’s. Kleinbart said the cost of the fraternity signing up to use RushTap was the major reason the brothers decided not to register on the website.
Sigma Nu’s system was introduced this semester. Similar to RushTap, it links a webcam photo to a rush’s name as he signs up
“It is pretty obvious what a rush interface should look like,” Kleinbart said. “Our brothers were willing to develop the system for free.”
In the past year, Oldak said that they improved the user interface of RushTap, making it more intuitive.
“Since we have such a high turnover of users, with a new batch of students rushing every year, we want to make the system as easy as possible to use,” Oldak said. “Brothers have expressed an interest in being able to identify rushes when they are on the move,” Oldak added.
Moving forward, the creators see the next logical step for the website as being a mobile app.