Happy April Fools’ Day! You are reading an article written for our April Fools’ edition of the newspaper, The Deceiver. This is a work of satire.
Students at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, frequently (but affectionately) describe their university as “a nerd school.” And while it is true that UMBC has earned recognition for its sports success, a majority of the school’s achievements are academically-centered. This scholastic focus of many students at the school is not difficult to pick up on, as many people are seen poring over textbooks during meals, studying all night at the RLC, doing homework on the bleachers of basketball games, and even using dating apps to find tutors. Because of UMBC students’ intense focus on academics, socialization is often forgotten.
But there is a new student organization coming to campus that aims to change that: Buy Your Friends, or BYF, is a nationwide organization that will soon establish a brand-new chapter right here at UMBC. BYF has dozens of other chapters at different colleges across the country, with both male and female sub-chapters, but UMBC is the first college in Maryland to establish a BYF chapter. This addition to campus was orchestrated by two current students who felt that it was nearly impossible to make friends at UMBC.
“Between my classes, study groups, internship and extracurriculars, I had literally no time to make friends — I barely even had time in my day to eat, sleep or shower,” explains junior biology and psychology major Jennifer Nelson. “I was super stressed all the time but had no one to talk to about it other than my advisor, who was my only friend. So when I heard about BYF, I knew it would be a perfect way to meet people!”
Sophomore theatre major Alexander White agrees with Nelson, claiming, “My major comes with a lot of time commitments, so I never get the chance to hang out with anyone other than my castmates, and I kind of hate them all.”
Nelson and White — who “met” on an online support group for people who do not have friends — contacted the BYF founders to convince them to bring their organization to UMBC. According to Nelson and White, there was little convincing to be done; BYF eagerly accepted their proposition and instantly made plans to found a BYF chapter at UMBC.
“BYF is truly an organization like no other,” gushes co-founder MacKayleigh Hayes. “It is a group of people who support each other, love each other and are always there for each other. The ladies of BYF are more like sisters than friends.”
These sentiments are echoed by Tyler Grant, who helped found BYF with Hayes and came up with the idea to separate the groups into male and female organizations: BYMF and BYFF; as a whole, however, Hayes and Grant refer to their company as BYF. He asserts that “The men of BYF are my bros for life. We are super tight and always have each other’s backs, and I’m really proud to be a BYMF man.”
In regards to the name, “Buy Your Friends,” Hayes and Grant state that they wanted to be as open as possible about what the organization entails: buying your way into a group of friends. Yes, in order to join BYF, you must pay what is called a “pledging fee,” in order to commit to the organization. But not just anyone can buy their way into BYF — you have to be specifically selected to join based on any number of arbitrary criteria.
“Well, duh!” Hayes scoffs. “We cannot just let anyone and everyone into the group, you have to prove your commitment to the organization.” Grant adds that “proving commitment” can mean any number of things, and that the process for joining the organization varies by chapter. Though Grant is “bound by brotherly bonds” from revealing the steps that pledges had to pass before getting inducted into the first BYMF, he does comment, that “it’s some intense shit.”
While Grant and Hayes, in addition to all members of BYF, are apparently forbidden from spilling the secret steps to entering their organization, people who have been rejected by the organization have shared their grievances on social media.
One anonymous freshman who tried to join BYMF at a different college claims that he and several of his “pledge brothers” were blindfolded and driven to different locations around campus, where they were dropped off (still blindfolded) and had to find their way to their “brothers” without ever removing their blindfolds. The freshman failed to find his brothers in the five minutes allotted, so he was not permitted to join the group. Similar stories arise about BYFF, who also have to perform rituals but also are tested on their “womanly instincts,” and have to correct their “pledge sisters’” hair, makeup and outfits.
However, students who get through these processes are rewarded with “the gift of lifelong friendship,” according to Hayes and Grant. “These people mean the world to me, they are my sisters for life and I love them so much, especially my Little!” gushes Hayes.
Students interested in joining BYF, there will be an interest meeting in early May, where Hayes and Grant will talk about their vision for their new group, how to join and other information. Additionally, BYF will show the standard anti-hazing video that UMBC requires all sororities and fraternities to play. Stay tuned to the BYF twitter for more information about UMBC’s newest addition to the Greek Life scene!