‘Go Greek’ continues to be a popular slogan on campus, with about 1,300 University students joining the Greek community last week.

After about a month of recruitment, 797 women accepted bids from one of the 16 Panhellenic Association sororities and about 500 men accepted bids from one of the 31 members of the Interfraternity Council.

Though IFC fraternities have not yet completed their recruitment process, LSA senior Rick Stepanovic, the IFC’s vice president of recruitment, said he expects the number of men who accept bids to increase beyond the 500 who have already accepted. He said he projects the number to be higher than last year’s 542.

The IFC is welcoming a new chapter to campus this year, Acacia, which is one of the chapters still recruiting, according to Stepanovic.

The number of women accepting bids for Panhel sororities is the highest on record, surpassing last year’s record of 790 women. Upon completion of the recruitment process, 85 percent of women who went through the recruitment process accepted bids. This represents a 5-percent increase from last year and 7-percent more than the national average.

One difference during this semester’s Panhel recruitment was the emphasis the organization placed on ensuring the safety of potential new members, according to Sarah Smith, Panhel’s vice president of public relations and a former Michigan Daily columnist.

In response to the sexual assaults that occurred over the summer, Panhel organized several programs in an attempt to increase safety during recruitment, Smith said. One of these efforts — spearheaded by Adam Davis, IFC’s executive vice president — involved fraternity members who walked prospective sorority members back to their residences after recruitment activities.

Panhel also kept the William Monroe Trotter Multicultural Center open late at night during recruitment so students had a centrally located and well-lit place to go between house visits.

Overall, the Greek community saw a 1-percent increase in membership for Panhel and IFC this year. Though the University has seen an increase in freshman enrollment in recent years, Director of Greek Life Mary Beth Seiler said she doesn’t think this influenced the growth in Greek Life membership.

Similarly, Stepanovic said he doesn’t think freshmen enrollment caused the increase in new IFC members.

“It is my impression that the number of freshman coming to the University was significantly lower this year,” Stepanovic said. “So the fact that our numbers stayed roughly the same, I think was a huge success.”

Despite the fact that sorority and fraternity members are required to pay dues to their organizations, the country’s ongoing financial crisis hasn’t made a noticeable impact on Greek Life numbers.

“Evidently (the economy) has not really affected our recruitment in Michigan,” Seiler said.

Still, fraternities and sororities have made an effort to make Greek Life more affordable. Along with offering scholarships, potential sorority members are required to view a presentation about the financial commitment of joining Panhel.

While fraternities tend to have less expensive dues than sororities and offer a degree of leniency for members struggling to pay, the benefits outweigh the costs, Stepanovic said.

He added that he thinks the reason for the increase in students interested in fraternities and sororities is due to Greek Life programming and the community’s involvement in other areas of campus, as well as the connections being in the organization offers. Stepanovic said he’s particularly happy with IFC’s numbers this year because the council has lost a chapter since last fall. In March, Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity was expelled from the IFC after alleged hazing activities surfaced.

“I think our numbers are great, especially considering that we expelled a fraternity in the past year,” he said. “They’re trying to recruit outside of us. I don’t think they dampened our efforts at all.”

LSA freshman Connor Toohey, a Sigma Chi fraternity pledge, echoed Stepanovic’s sentiments about the benefits of Greek Life.

“I kind of think that being (in) a fraternity would give me a brotherhood, as cliché as that sounds,” Toohey said. “The connections you can make in a fraternity are pretty unique.”

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