The highly awaited Bama Rush Season 3 has come and gone. Hundreds of thousands of people tuned in everyday to the #BamaRush and #BamaRush2023 on TikTok to stay up to date with all things sorority rush. Whether it was a Golden Goose and David Yurman filled OOTD or a house tour of the $13 million Phi Mu house in Tuscaloosa, our eyes were glued to the screen. Although we had no attachment to any of these girls, why were we so invested in their rush journey? How did we all become so attached to Bama Rush? Let’s dive into the phenomenon that is #RushTok and why it’s a perfect example of how to effectively leverage lifestyle content for social media virality.
@ztagsu GO ZTA!! GO PHA!! GO ZTA!!! 👸 #zlam #bamarush #sza #dance #rushtok #georgiasouthern #gata ♬ original sound – Roc Nation
What is Bama Rush?
Bama Rush, otherwise known as sorority rush or sorority recruitment, is the period of time before a new university semester where girls go through several recruitment rounds to try and earn membership in their desired sorority. Although rush happens all over the United States, most sororities outside of the University of Alabama have opted to use the term ‘Bama Rush’, due to its popularity online. The sorority prospects are called ‘PNMs’ (potential new members) and recruitment is an extensive process that spans across several days and includes multiple rounds.
There are designated rounds for PNMs to meet the sororities, show off their philanthropy skills, and get to know other PNMs. On the final night of rush, the girls will get to choose their preferred sorority house. At the end of it all, there is a bid day, which is where sororities pick their ‘bids’, AKA new members. The girls can then choose to accept or deny the bid, as they may not have gotten invited to their preferred house. In Greek life, bid day is a huge deal, and there are massive celebrations afterwards to welcome in the new members to the sorority. University of Alabama’s bid day just passed on August 20, 2023, and TikTok has had a lot to say about it.
@sofiaafederico_ I couldn’t read it at first but YAYAY BID DAY SO HAPPY #bamarush #bamarushtok #bamarushseason3 #universityofalabama #college #rolltide #bamafootball #bama #bamarushtiktok #rush #bidday2023 #bidday2023 #bamabidday ♬ original sound – SOFIA FEDERICO
The #RushTok Phenomenon
#RushTok, or Rush TikTok, is a niche on TikTok that was popularized in 2021. No one knows exactly how these sorority rush videos started taking over the for-you page, but no one is complaining either. In fact, #RushTok became so popular that the television network, Max, even made a documentary based around the experience of four different University of Alabama students during last year’s sorority rush season. This past week, #BamaRush was third highest trending hashtag on all of TikTok.
If you visit #BamaRush, you’ll likely see a ton of ‘Outfit of the Day (OOTD)s’, ‘Get Ready With Mes (GRWMs)’, ‘What’s In My Rush Bag’, choreographed dances, and vlog videos. The PNMs and sorority girls are constantly updating their followers on the ins-and-outs of the rush experience, usually while wearing head-to-toe designer.
The sorority recruitment process has become such a reliable form of entertainment that many people have begun calling #RushTok a reality show. Each year, TikTok users from around the world come together to decide who the girls to watch are for each #RushTok season. Last year, content creators like Kylan Darnell, Gracyn Edmonson, and Amayah Shaienne were fan favorites, quickly taking over #BamaRush as its main characters for 2022. However, this year seemed to have a bit of a shift.
@kylan_darnell Its bid day #rush #bamarush #bamarushtok #bamarushtok #bamarush2022 ♬ original sound – Kylan Darnell
Who Is Bama Morgan?
Although the glitz and the glamor of the traditional sorority rush was still all over the tags, #RushTok Season 3’s main character is one that brought something completely fresh to #RushTok. Rather than showcasing that gorgeous, unattainable sorority lifestyle, Morgan Cadenhead charmed viewers by documenting her unfiltered, authentic experience during the Bama Rush process. Her relatability resonated with a lot of #RushTok fans, who had up until this point only seen one side of rush.
Morgan was quick to highlight both the ups and the downs of her sorority rush experience, which fans praised her for. Her debut into Bama Rush was a video advocating for a new trend on the Internet called ‘Relatable Rush’, which would give viewers a real-world perspective of the entire rush process. In her video, she also said that she was essentially sold a “pipdream” of college, as she went on to give her followers a realistic breakdown of what was in her dorm room and her rush bag.
Fans loved this new point of view on #RushTok, and Morgan quickly became one of the most followed girls of #RushTok Season 3. Her relatability in her lifestyle content was what made her a breath of fresh air within this niche, and viewers could resonate with her opinions and even envision themselves in her shoes should they have also joined Bama Rush.
@on_thedaily_with_morgan Send Help #bama #bamarush #bamarushtok #rush #rushtok #rushweek #alabam #damarushbag #college #collegelife #collegegotmelike ♬ original sound – Bama Morgan
Greek row, on the other hand, was not so kind. Every year, PNMs are advised to keep their social media presence to a minimum. Even though #RushTok has become a trending niche on TikTok, the girls still need to be cautious of what they post online, as their content will have a direct impact on their chances of getting a bid at the end of rush. That’s why when Preference Day came and Morgan didn’t get a call to participate, sorority rush veterans were not surprised.
The Downside of Internet Fame
Despite its online popularity, sororities at University of Alabama and elsewhere still value sisterhood above all else. It seems that a growing trend among incoming PNMs following the #RushTok blow up is joining the rush process for the chance at social media stardom. With more and more girls gravitating towards universities with a prestigious Greek life, it becomes much harder for sorority recruitment teams and PR managers to filter out who is truly there for sisterhood.
Morgan grew her social media following immensely, but in the process, she lost her spot at rush. Sammy Rose, who is a former University of Alabama sorority member, explained that Morgan’s ‘relatable’ content may have seemed like indifference to the sororities. Morgan, on multiple occasions, mispronounced the names of certain houses, and in comparison to other PNMs, was not as prepared in terms of outfits, makeup, and general knowledge.
@samantha_roseeeee Replying to @Anna hear me out yall. This is just my opinion on why bama morgan got dropped from rush ☹️ #bama #bamarush #bamarushtok #bamamorgan #alabamarush #sorority #sororityrecruitment #college #thetea ♬ original sound – Sammy | Beauty & Lifestyle
Although fans loved her down-to-earth perspective of the rush experience, sororities could see her Internet fame as a threat. In sororities, there are certain details that cannot be released to the public. With Morgan openly documenting the negative sides of sororities before even being joining one, there was no telling what she could have told her community should she have actually become a member.
Morgan also did an interview with Teen Vogue during rush week, which likely also raised red flags for the recruitment teams. Speaking to the media is a no-go for not just PNMs, but also sorority members. With the Max documentary, Bama Rush, having shined so much negative light on University of Alabama’s rush recruitment process, it’s not surprising that Morgan’s tell-all with the media affected her chances to reach bid day.
The Virality of #RushTok
So, let’s break down what makes #RushTok such an Internet sensation. To state the obvious first, it gives us a look into a lifestyle that most of us won’t ever get to partake in. It’s easy to get wrapped up in all of the over-the-top OOTDs, drama between PNMs, and that perfected feeling of sisterhood that is hard to find in our day-to-day lives. #RushTok feels so unreal to us that we labeled it a reality show, and with its constant flow of content from almost every PNM during rush week, there’s not a single dull moment.
Second, we build a sort of attachment to the girls that are partaking in rush. Whether we mean to or not, we all have somehow picked a favorite and are rooting for their success during rush. Since these girls give us a glimpse into their lives since day one, it’s not surprising that we want to be there until the end of bid day. Like characters from a show, we become invested in their story progression, and are looking forward to seeing the outcome of all of their hard work.
Lastly, there’s a bit of everything for everyone, especially this year. With sororities gaining more and more PNMs, there’s a spike in the amount of content that is produced. Everyday, you are flooded with videos of varying content types that you can pick and choose from. It’s an endless scroll through the #RushTok tags, and with how many girls there are partaking in rush, you’re bound to find something that captures your interest.
With Bama Rush 2023 officially over, what’s next to go viral? Here at Glewee, we’re always keeping track of every new hashtag, niche, and creator, so that you’ll be the first to know about all things creator economy. If you’re looking to stay on top of industry news, grow as a content creator, or leverage influencer marketing to elevate your brand, Glewee is a one-stop-shop. Create an account today.