While many students choose to go through the fraternity recruitment process in the fall, Interfraternity Council officials say they’ve seen an unprecedented number of rushees this winter, stemming from changes in recruitment tactics, they say.
According to Ryan Knapp, IFC vice president of public relations, 215 students accepted bids during winter recruitment. This number represents a 48-percent increase from last winter semester, during which 145 students accepted bids.
Knapp, a Kinesiology junior, added that 75 percent of students who registered for recruitment decided to join a house, compared to 61 percent last year. The two fraternities with the highest number of new members are Sigma Phi Epsilon with 22 new members and Phi Gamma Delta with 16 new members.
IFC President Michael Friedman said there are three main reasons for the high numbers: increased optimism of the national economic situation, the extended length of recruitment and new dynamics of the rush process put in place by the chapters.
Friedman, an Engineering senior, said after IFC — the body responsible for governing 30 fraternities on campus — heard feedback that the length of the winter recruitment period was too short, the originally three-day rush program was expanded to four days.
“That gave our members more time to get to know the potential new members,” Friedman said. “They were able to talk to more people and make the best decisions.”
Friedman said last semester the chapters had a seminar called “Phired Up” which encouraged IFC fraternity members to search for new recruits rather than simply waiting for new members to come to the fraternities. This gave them a head-start for finding more potential new members.
“I think today, given our current economic state, everyone is weighing things in terms of costs and benefits,” Friedman said. “Our organization has a lot to offer, whether talking about academics, philanthropy and networking our organization brings a lot to the table and we made sure the people we reached out to knew that.”
Zach Schwartz, IFC vice president of recruitment, also said that tweaking recruitment allowed the fraternities to have a more successful rush season. Schwartz wrote in an e-mail interview that most of the chapters are beginning to use more proactive recruitment strategies.
“Whether it being meeting potential recruits in the gym or in class,” Schwartz wrote, “chapters are beginning to seek recruits more actively during non-recruitment periods, rather than simply waiting for recruitment to begin and recruiting those who walk through their doors.”
Schwartz, a Business junior, wrote another way chapters reached out to potential rushees was by making incoming freshmen aware that IFC organizations have scholarships available for their members, which encourages them to join the Greek Community.
“There’s no way to be certain,” Schwartz wrote. “But I do think that the increase in recruitment numbers this winter are representative of a larger trend and will continue in the fall and lead to more sustained growth for the Greek Community.”
Vinnie Caruso, vice president of recruitment for Sigma Phi Epsilon, wrote in an e-mail interview that his fraternity was better able to cater to the needs of the rushees, because he’s a freshman who went through recruitment recently and knows from his own experience what worked and what didn’t.
“After going through the recruitment process,” Caruso wrote. “I was able to take things that I liked and things that I thought were lacking and use them to tailor our chapter’s own recruitment plan.”