Despite a new social policy placing restrictions on parties and alcohol in Greek houses, fall recruitment numbers for the Greek system were the highest they have been in the past several years.
The social policy – enacted at the beginning of this year to improve safety at Greek parties and minimize the legal liability of Greek houses – compounded with the expulsion of a sorority and a fraternity from campus last semester led many to suspect that the numbers would be lower this season.
But according to the Interfraternity Council, the number of students recruited by fraternities grew from 414 last year to 452 in this year’s fall rush season. Sororities on campus reflected the same trend, as the Panhellenic Council estimated the number of coeds recruited by sororities that increased by roughly 70 this fall
Members of the Greek community attributed these high numbers to increased Greek system publicity, the addition of two new chapters to campus and Panhel’s implementation of a higher quota for sorority pledge class size.
Mary Beth Seiler, the University’s director of the Office of Greek Life, suggested that the publicity drive may have been a chief cause of the high numbers. Seiler credited “the students who were working on public relations this year” with the rise in recruitment numbers.
Increased publicity efforts included summer mailings, posters and T-shirts, as well as events such as the Palmer Field tailgate and the screening of a film during welcome week. IFC spokesman Jon Krasnov also gave credit to members of the Greek system, saying, “When (fraternity members) go out to recruit new members, they have shown themselves to be highly successful.”
Krasnov said the increased publicity was a result of the concern voiced by some groups that rush numbers would be low due to the new social policy – which restricts the number of non-Greek students that can attend certain Greek events.
Another chief reason for the higher rush numbers is the raised quotas Panhel has instituted for sororities, Greek officials said. This year, the quota for the number of pledges class chapters can accept was raised from 41 to 50.
Aly Grossman, an LSA freshman who was admitted to the Sigma Kappa sorority this semester, said she doesn’t mind being a part of a larger pledge class but acknowledged that “it is a little bit less personal, and it takes a little bit longer to get to know everyone.”
In contrast to the sororities, some fraternities have actually lowered the size of their pledge classes to avoid the reduced cohesiveness that could result from a larger pledge class. Connor Henley, an Engineering junior and president of the Pi Kappa Phi fraternity, said his house enjoys having a close-knit community and thus took only 10 pledges this year instead of last year’s 19 pledges.
But the rise in this semester’s overall fraternity recruitment numbers suggests Pi Kappa Phi is in the minority and one of the few houses to decrease its pledge class size this fall.
Besides the social policy, another factor that contributed to the expectation of a drop in recruitment numbers was the expulsion of two of the larger Greek chapters from campus. But the removal of the Alpha Epsilon Phi sorority and the Alpha Tau Omega fraternity from the Greek system last semester was counteracted by the addition of two new chapters to the campus Greek system.
“The Greek community has shown that it can rebound and has a profound impact on campus,” Krasnov said.