Category Archives: Customary Lore

Fraternity Rush Party Themes

Title: Fraternity Rush Party Themes

General Information about Item:

  • Customary/Material Folklore
  • Informant: W.M.
  • Date Collected: 05/25/2020

Informant Data:

  • W.M. is a male Dartmouth College student. He is unaffiliated.

Contextual Data:

  • Cultural Context: The celebration of new members into a fraternity is celebrated amongst the brothers in a social event open to campus as well. The celebrations include a theme, sometimes a traditional theme of the house or decided on each year. Members of the house, new and old, dress in costumes in accordance with the theme and celebrate together.
  • Social Context: Social gathering is a common event put on by a fraternity and open to the campus. In these instances, a theme for the party is decided on by the house and is put on, usually around the end of the rush process.

Item:

  • Many fraternities hold social gatherings before, during, and after the rush process. It is common for these to have themes decided on by the members, new and old, of the house hosting the gathering. Typically the new members are celebrated as the members all dress in costume and decorate the house for the gathering.

Collector’s Comments:

  • I found this tradition to be an interesting custom as it is open to non-members. The fraternity members are typically the ones deciding and dressing in theme, but then they open up the celebration to the campus as well.

Collector’s Name: Charlie Wade

Tags/Keywords:

  • Celebration
  • Costumes
  • Fraternity

Joint Rush Parties

Title: Joint Rush Parties

General Information about Item:

  • Customary Folklore
  • Informant: E.W. ’22
  • Date Collected: 05/22/2020

Informant Data:

  • E.W. is a female Dartmouth Student. She is affiliated.

Contextual Data:

  • Cultural Context: Fraternities and Sororities at Dartmouth both partake in rush and bid night parties. These are parties for the new members of their respective houses. Sometimes a Fraternity and Sorority will together throw a joint party for their new members.
  • Social Context: The celebration of new members of a house is usually some form of social gathering. The combining of two different houses for a social gathering meant for the new members is a common social practice.

Item:

  • The joint parties of a Fraternity and Sorority refer to parties thrown by two houses together to celebrate their new class of members. These are therefore much larger and grander than celebrations done just by members of the house themselves. 

Collector’s Comments:

  • I found this to be a cool tradition as it mixes the somewhat separate processes of rushing a Fraternity versus a Sorority.

Collector’s Name: Charlie Wade

Tags/Keywords:

  • Customary Lore
  • Celebrations
  • Fraternity/Sorority

House Families

Title: House Families

General Information about Item:

  • Customary Folklore
  • Informant: R.C. ’22
  • Date Collected: 05/19/2020

Informant Data:

  • R.C. is a male student at Dartmouth College. He is affiliated.

Contextual Data:

  • Cultural Context: Families are small units of close individuals. The adoption of this technique into fraternity culture serves a similar purpose.
  • Social Context: House families are smaller groups in the house new members are sorted in to. These act as smaller and closer social groups for the new members in the house.

Item:

  • This specific fraternity gives its new members “families” within its members. These families consist of one to two new members and a handful of older members to serve as a resource during and after the rush process.

Collector’s Comments:

  • I found these families to be an interesting and useful way to help new members during the rush process. They stay families for life, long after active membership in the fraternity ends. In this specific example, the family the informant was in was easily dated back to Dartmouth alumni from 2014.

Collector’s Name: Charlie Wade

Tags/Keywords:

  • Customary Lore
  • Family
  • Social

Slenderman Meme

Title: Slenderman Meme

General information about item:

  • Slenderman 
  • Meme
  • Informant: memeshappen.com
  • Date collected: 5/25/20

Informant Data: memeshappen.com is a social platform for easily generating and sharing memes. It is a very easy way for memes to go viral throughout social media. These memes are posted anonymously so there is no way to discover the exact informant.

Social context: I discovered this meme on May 25, 2020. Memes of Slenderman have become a very common occurrence. Although the majority of the memes tend to reference Slenderman a lack of facial features.

Cultural context: Slenderman is known to get inside the head of his victims causing them to do things that they are not truly in control of. That’s why when this meme suggests that Slenderman told me to eat the last cookie from the cookie jar, it is deferring the blame to Slenderman cause they claim to not have been in control of their actions.

Item: (Pictured Above)

Collector’s Name: David Gallagher

Tags/keywords:

  • Slenderman 
  • Cookie jar
  • Meme 
  • Funny

Fraternity House Song

 

General Information about Item:

  • Verbal folklore
  • Informant R.C.
  • Date Collected: 05/18/2020

Informant Data:

  • The informant is a current Dartmouth student. He is a member of the class of 2022 and is affiliated.

Contextual Data:

  • Cultural Context: When rushing a fraternity, there is a sense of pride and community associated with the house and its members. Members are seen as “brothers” and the house is the “home” of its members. The singing of a song honors these two traditions.
  • Social Context: The collective act of singing together has always been associated with the idea of community. The singing of a house song is a social activity new and old members participate in to foster this principle.

Item:

  • There is a song made up by the fraternity members, that is sung to honor the house and its members. This is meant to help new members feel welcomed during the rush process (or directly after).

 

Collector’s Comments:

  • The use of a song to help new members feel part of a new community is not uncommon. I thought it was interesting to see the same type of welcoming folklore displayed in this process.

Collector’s Name: Charlie Wade

Tags/Keywords:

  • Verbal Folklore
  • Fraternity Rush
  • New Members

Slenderman Creepypasta #1

Title: Slenderman Creepypasta #1

General Information about item:

  • Slenderman
  • Language: English
  • Informant: K.B.
  • Date Collected 05/18/2020

Informant Data: 

K.B. was born in the suburbs of New York and is currently a freshman in highschool

Social context: I interviewed K.B. on May 18, 2020 over FaceTime. He shared his interpretations of Slenderman and what came to his mind when he heard that name.

Cultural context: Slenderman is an urban legend that originated through multiple stories shared across the internet. He is often depicted as a tall faceless man who primarily targets children. The website creepypasta is a public forum where anybody can post scary stories they have written anonymously. This site is home to numerous folklore of Slenderman. 

Item: https://www.creepypasta.com/slenderman/

Informants comments:

“The setting of the story was off putting because when I imagine Slenderman I think of him in the woods.The story ended in a typical erie way and the self inflicted injuries the girl inflicted is in line with some of the powers i think Slenderman has”

Collectors Name: Thomas Bryan

Tags/Keywords

  • Slenderman
  • CreepyPasta
  • Forums

Shaking Out

Title: Shaking Out

Information about Item:

  • Verbal and customary folklore
  • Informant: J.S.
  • Collected 05/26/2020

Informant Data:

J.S. is a member of the Class of 2020 at Dartmouth and is affiliated with Greek Life. He is from New Jersey and studies Economics.

Contextual Data:

  • Cultural context: This refers to deciding and letting a fraternity know that they are your first option during rush. It typically occurs on a Friday night and in some cases on Saturday night.
  • Social context: This item was collected through video chat. This cultural artifact is  part of the start of the rush process.

Item: Shaking out is a custom through which potential new members let a fraternity know that they are very interested in that fraternity and that it is their first choice. It refers to a ritual that is common across all fraternities.

Collector’s Comments:

What makes this item important is that is often the very first step in the rush process and is a ritual that all fraternity members can relate to.

Collector’s Name: Sanjit Deepalam

Tags/Keywords:

  • Saying
  • Customary folklore
  • Fraternity rush

Bump Groups

Title: Bump Groups

Information about Item:

  • Verbal and customary folklore
  • Informant: K.P.
  • Collected 05/20/2020

Informant Data:

K.P. is a member of the Class of 2020 at Dartmouth and is affiliated with Greek Life. She is from Vermont and studies Chemistry.

Contextual Data:

  • Cultural: Bump groups are groups of members in sororities that rotate potential new members through a house. A potential new member will talk to each member in a bump group, usually without knowing that they are being rotated between people in this group.
  • Social: This item was collected through video chat. This cultural artifact is only relevant to members that are already a part of the sorority in question. Potential new members are usually unaware of these groups during the rush process.

Item: Bump groups are a part of each sorority’s culture and exist as a way to have greater interaction with potential new members to see if they are a good fit for their organization.

Collector’s Comments:

What makes this item distinct is that it is a part of the rush process that potential new members are unaware of. It exists as a way for a sorority to do a better job of evaluating potential new members.

Collector’s Name: Sanjit Deepalam

Tags/Keywords:

  • Saying
  • Customary folklore
  • Sorority rush

Signing the Book

Title: Signing the Book

Information about Item:

  • Verbal and customary folklore
  • Informant: N.R.
  • Collected 5/26/2020

Informant Data:

N.R. is a member of the Class of 2020 at Dartmouth and is affiliated with Greek Life. He is from Illinois and studies Economics.

Contextual Data:

  • Verbal: “Signing the book” is the term given to literally signing a book at a particular fraternity.
  • Custom: By signing the book, a potential new fraternity member lets a house know that he is interested in rushing regardless of whether he shakes out or not.

Item: Potential new members of fraternity organizations sign a book to indicate their interest in joining.

Collector’s Comments:

This saying is similar to a shake out, which is a another way for potential new members to indicate their interest in joining a particular fraternity.

Collector’s Name: Sanjit Deepalam

Tags/Keywords:

  • Verbal folklore
  • Customary folklore
  • Ritual
  • Fraternity rush

Rush Chair

Title: Rush Chair

Information about Item:

  • Verbal and customary folklore
  • Informant: R.M.
  • Collected 05/23/2020

Informant Data:

R.M. is a female member of the Class of 2020 at Dartmouth and is affiliated with Greek Life. She is from New York and studies philosophy.

Contextual Data:

  • Verbal: “Rush Chair” is a title given to a member of a sorority that is in charge of organizing the rush process at her house.
  • Custom: The Rush Chair inputs information into the computer system about which girls will be called back for each round of the rush process

Item: One member of an existing Greek house is appointed the Rush Chair and organizes the rush process.

Collector’s Comments:

This item is actually a position of power within the sorority. The Rush Chair has a variety of responsibilities and has a great deal of control over the overall rush process and is a key part of making  rush a success.

Collector’s Name: Sanjit Deepalam

Tags/Keywords:

  • Verbal folklore
  • Customary folklore
  • Rush process
  • Sorority rush