into their rooms, one group of women gathered in Thompson-Boling Arena
to kick off what promises to be one of the most memorable weeks of their
lives.

Panhellenic Rush for UT's 14 sororities began early Saturday morning,
and will continue until Friday afternoon. During this grueling, seven-day
process of bidding and choosing, 800 women hope they will find a new family
on campus.

While the Rush process centers around the goal of matching women with
sororities, many rushees have found that whether or not they decide to
pledge to a group, they have met valuable friends and have found avenues
they can pursue this semester to get involved on campus.

In this high-impact, structured process that spans seven days, the rushees
are now more than midway through their week. During this time, they have
visited suite after suite in Panhellenic, hoping to pick a chapter that
will pick them. Throughout the summer, Rush counselors -- also called Rho
Chi's --trained for this week and prepared for any bumps along the road.

"We hope this will be a great Rush experience for every girl, and
with our Panhellenic adviser, Rush VP's and Rho Chi's, we are well prepared
for this week," said Rho Chi Katy Wilson. "It's important to
get in Panhellenic because you have a great chance to impact campus and
get involved."

The rushees, both freshmen and upperclassmen, are hoping to find in
Greek life a chance to meet new people and learn about opportunities throughout
campus.

"We came out here because we want to be involved and I think most
people who were involved in high school want to be involved in college,"
said Candice Hargrove, a freshman from Ohio. "This especially helps
women who are from out-of-state. It makes you a more well-rounded person."

Unlike the more informal Rush process of fraternities, Panhellenic Rush
is incredibly structured while allowing the Rushees and the chapters chances
to get to know each other.

Beginning last spring, Panhellenic began to recruit upperclassmen by
sending out postcards and brochures through the summer. Panhellenic Adviser
Kelly Morgan Phillips stresses that Rush isn't just for freshman, but offers
plenty to women who have been on campus for a while and have just now decided
they are interested in joining a sorority.

"Everything is going great right now," Phillips said. "Rush
time has a lot of energy, and it can be stressful, but there are a lot
of great rewards. Our Rho Chi's have been very flexible throughout Rush
and have great abilities to get the women calm, and give support to those
going through Rush. A lot of women need this support and the Rho Chi's
have been wonderful."

The Rush process is now in its second round, and preference will begin
Thursday. Preference, when rushees are asked back for a final time, will
be followed by bidding on Friday as chapters vie for their favorite women.

--> Rush counselors entertain rushees with skits during the
Saturday's Rush kickoff in Thompson-Boling Arena. Brett Blanchard