By Katie Mae Turner | Photographer
In August 2021, #Bamarush took over the Internet at the University of Alabama. Many potential new members (PNMs) film videos showing off their costumes and talking about the week-long recruitment process, allowing people with little or no knowledge of the sorority process to see it through.
During Baylor’s spring recruiting season in January 2022, snowballing on the #BamaRush craze months before, #BaylorRush grew in popularity on TikTok. With over 32.4 million views, the hashtag grew beyond the Bayer community and became a viral phenomenon on various social media platforms.
#BaylorRush videos on TikTok have received mixed reviews due to the wide variety of comments and widespread awareness of the trend. Over the past couple of years, creating videos has provided entertainment not only to those in recruitment but also to those watching from virtual vantage points around the world.
Charlotte, NC, sophomore Kathy Boatwright was a part of the 2022 #BaylorRush success when she and fellow Cypress sophomore Sarah Bote made a video of themselves dressing up before their sister rounds. After returning home for the day, they find out that the video got more views than they expected.
“I came home that day and saw it explode, it was a quick video,” Boatwright said. “I thought the whole thing was funny and some of the comments were pretty creative.”
Boatwright’s video currently has over 4.1 million views, 314,600 likes and 13,200 comments.
Former Baylor Panhellenic External Relations and Engagement Coordinator Mikayla Olson never missed the fun of TikTok as a freshman. Now boasting over 110,000 viewers, she’s done a series where she ranks the themes of episodes throughout the week based on their Instagram posts.
“Honestly, I just wanted to do a little Tiktok because when I was at Baylor, that would be something I would talk about with my friends during the week,” Olson said. Ever since I graduated, all my friends have moved out, so I send them tiktoks and we chat about it.
With these videos, users on social media had a wide range of comments – some good and some not so much.
“I spent $600 on the Southern SEC Culture Rush, and these girls come in wearing the same dress I wore when I was 10?” said TikTok user @thoughtswgracie. “If I had worn this in Mississippi, I would have been laughed off the building.”
Prospective Baylor students used Visibility Week to see current students and learn more about Baylor.
“They’re all dressed up in these terrible outfits; I’ve never seen so many sorority TikToks on the My For You page with all these outfits on,” said TikTok user @cookiedoughlavacake, who was recently accepted into the Baylor class of 2027. “What’s going on in Waco?”
Others had better opinions, stating that fashion is a person’s personal style and opinion.
“I don’t understand why tiktok is hating on all these Baylor Rushtok women’s clothes. At least they have an original style, Twitter user @marciac95_ he said.
TikTok user @jessicapeltzman came to the defense of many PNM outfits.
“They’re wearing unique things and experimenting with fashion,” she said. “These girls go to college, okay? They’re still learning about style.”
Many different schools conduct sorority recruitment, so why has Baylor grown to be so popular? Olson said Baylor’s unique recruiting process is what makes it unique.
“Greek life at Baylor is very different compared to other schools — we have spring recruitment, no houses, a strong religious influence, and especially Baylor’s language and fashion trends,” Olson said.