The Role Of COVID in “Bamarush” TikTok

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Rebecca Tonetti

“Bamarush” TikTok has been a widespread trend seen by viewers across the country showcasing Greek life rush week.

“Bamarush” refers to Alabama University’s sorority rush week. There are 9 days of rush and 7 days of interviews which the girls have with different chapters, or sororities. The different interviews symbolize things like sisterhood, philanthropy, and more. At the end, the girls get a letter revealing what sorority has “picked them”. Every day of rush week there’s a dress code the students have to follow. Sorority girls started making videos of their outfits for the different days, “OOTD” or “Outfit of the day”.The general public became aware of these rush TikToks when these showed up on their “for you” pages. One of the top videos ended up getting 1.4 million views. 

The main reason I believe people are so obsessed with these videos is because of the impact COVID had on the college experience. Last year rush week was online and around the country other colleges didn’t go back in person. Students rushing this year were unsure on what the events were going to look like. Seeing in person rush all over social media showed the world what they have been missing.

Alabama has the biggest Greek life in the country, according to The University of Alabama’s DIvision of Student LIfe ”In 2020, for the tenth year in a row, UA had the largest Greek community in the United States. Alabama’s Greek population is over 11,000 students, including fraternities and sororities, which is roughly 30 percent of its more than 37,000 total student population. Some people who were in sororities and fraternities describe it as the best times of their lives and the “sisterhood” it creates is very exciting for college freshman, where it might be hard to see a campus as home. This year more than ever people are looking for comfort in college because of Covid. Many schools are returning to in-person for the first time so it’s almost like two groups of freshmen. These videos show college girls being normal college students reminds us of a time where masks, covid restrictions, and cancelations were almost unthinkable. Viewers experienced something silly, stressful, and saw all the fun times of rush. I doubt many of the viewers really cared what the girls wore to philanthropy day but many found it an escape from the real world.

The arrival of the Delta variant has intervened on the fall plans many people had. Seeing the videos of people rushing, it is surprising at the lack of precautions knowing Alabama is the lowest vaccinated state, at 36% being fully vaccinated. Knowing the vaccination state of Alabama and seeing the large groups of people who participated in rush week, it’s clear this wasn’t a safe environment from COVID.

On Aug. 5, the University reinstated its campus-wide mask mandate for all individuals. The new mandate, which took effect Aug. 6, requires masks in indoor public spaces ‘where and when distancing is not possible’ and in classrooms regardless of physical distancing.” According to the Crimson White, the official student newspaper of UA. The physical distancing they are referring to definitely wasn’t seen in what has been shown of UA. With sororities being more of a community than dorms, and most of those individuals not wearing masks, the possibility of quarantines and shutdowns wouldn’t be surprising.

With the Delta variant starting to become a more widespread issue,  college freshmen are wondering how “normal” their year is going to be. It’s almost comforting to see people act like how they were in 2019. The biggest issue wasn’t a worldwide pandemic, it was “what shoes will I wear to help get into the chapter of my choice”. However, this worldwide want for the world to go back to normal doesn’t seem as close as we would like it to be and harmless TikTok videos aside, COVID is still very real and very scary. We might still have to wait sometime before OOTDs are no longer advisingly paired with a mask.