The University’s burgeoning Greek population welcomed nearly 250 new members this weekend after the conclusion of the Interfraternity Council’s formal winter recruitment process.

This semester’s rush activities for the IFC attracted record numbers for the winter recruitment cycle but remained characteristically smaller than the fall cycle, according to IFC executive board members.

LSA junior Rick Stepanovic, IFC vice president of external recruitment, said 245 men accepted bids out of the 383 who registered. He added that 101 students who originally signed up either didn’t complete the rush process or didn’t receive a bid.

Stepanovic said these numbers set records for winter rush.

This semester’s rush also introduced a strict ban on alcohol during the entire recruitment process. The IFC amended its bylaws in November to ensure locations not officially affiliated with fraternities, like senior houses, are prohibited from giving alcohol to students who are completing the rush process, according to Stepanovic.

“No chapter shall serve or provide alcohol to recruits nor allow anyone on behalf of the chapter to provide alcohol to recruits during the recruitment period,” the amended bylaw states.

LSA sophomore Dylan Handelsman, IFC vice president of internal recruitment, and Stepanovic said there have been no reported infringements on the ban.

Winter recruitment has been particularly important for the University’s newer fraternities like Beta Theta Pi, which returned to campus this fall after a four-year hiatus.

Phil Fernandez, director of re-establishment for Beta Theta Pi, wrote in an e-mail interview that the fraternity has been recruiting steadily all year and has extended its efforts beyond the “sometimes awkward process of formal rush,” which Fernandez compared to herding cattle.

“In our case, since many of our new members never saw themselves ‘going Greek’ before this opportunity, it was important for us to recruit outside of the standard rush parameters,” Fernandez wrote.

But Handelsman said most of the students rushing this semester are friends and acquaintances of current fraternity members as opposed to students with little or no connection to the Greek community — as is often the case with fall recruits.

“It’s mostly people who already have the connections,” Stepanovic said. “Generally the guys know where they’re headed or have a good idea of where they’re headed.”

School of Music, Theatre & Dance freshman Jordan Golden rushed four or five fraternities this semester before accepting a bid for Sigma Phi Epsilon. He said several of his friends who were in Sig Ep encouraged him to rush but also suggested he try out other chapters in order to find the right fit.

“I saw how much fun all my friends were having, and I wanted to get involved,” Golden said.

Two sororities at the University also participated in activities outside the University’s Panhellenic Association formal recruitment this semester to gain new members. While Panhel doesn’t hold an official winter rush, both Alpha Epsilon Phi and Phi Sigma Rho sororities undertook winter recruitment.

The University’s chapter of AEPhi opened its doors in fall 2008, and currently has 43 members, according to LSA sophomore Dana Schneider, the University chapter’s president.

LSA sophomore Jillian Weyman, AEPhi vice president of recruitment, said the sorority is looking to increase its numbers.

“Because we are a growing chapter, and we’re working our way back up toward the sorority total number, the Panhellenic Association gives us the opportunity to do winter recruitment and the ability to grow during winter,” Weyman said.

Since the sorority’s recruitment events are still ongoing, Weyman said she doesn’t have a concrete idea of how many women AEPhi will extend bids to this semester.

“We’re just looking for quality girls, and whether we find five or 100, we’re just keeping it open and having a good time with it,” she said.

Unlike AEPhi, Phi Sigma Rho doesn’t participate in the Panhellenic Association’s formal recruitment process because it’s only open to College of Engineering students, according to Engineering junior Kelsey Kaplan, president of the University’s chapter of Phi Sigma Rho.

Every year, the sorority holds its own informal rush events in both fall and winter semesters, Kaplan said. She said the sorority also depends on its current members to reach out to people they know in order to recruit new women. This semester, the chapter added seven members to its current membership of 38 women.

“Since we’re so small, we have to do it both semesters to keep our numbers up,” Kaplan said.

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