Lower-than-expected fall rush numbers have led many UR fraternities to do something they very rarely do 8212; hold a second rush period in the spring.

Of the 12 Fraternity Presidents’ Council-recognized fraternities at UR, 10 are holding a spring rush. Only Delta Kappa Epsilon and Theta Chi aren’t planning on holding a rush this semester.

“The spring rush isn’t typical for a lot of the Quad fraternities,” junior and FPC Chairman of Rush Gregg Chesney said. “The reason a lot of them are having one this spring is that fall rush was not as successful as it has been in the past.”

Reasons for the drop in rushees this fall are varied but Chesney believes it can largely be attributed to this year’s later rush period. Typically, the FPC rush happens during the second or third week of September. This year the rush happened several weeks later, beginning the first week of October.

“By October, the first set of midterms have come around. Freshmen start to develop their own set of friends, so there is less of a need for fraternities and they are no longer riding the wave of excitement from the first week of school.” Chesney said.

The FPC pushed back the rush period based on a suggestion from the Freshman Advisory Committee’s subcommittee for Special Interest Housing and Greek Affairs.

Chair of the subcommittee and Professor of Political Science Gerald Gamm said the committee’s decision was reached in part to give freshmen the opportunity to settle into college life before presenting them with the important decision of whether to join a fraternity.

“Greeks groups are very powerful and important subcommunities on campus,” Gamm said. “Once someone starts getting involved with rushing and pledging you start making a whole new set of friends. We thought it would be important for freshman housing to give the freshmen time to settle in together before looking at fraternities.”

Gamm also pointed out that the decision to move the rush period back was just a suggestion from the college. The FPC made the decision voluntarily and Gamm said that he was surprised the FPC took to the idea.

Junior and Chair of the FPC Matt Davison also attributed the drop in the fall rush numbers to the events on Sept. 11.

“The unique events that took place in our country on Sept. 11, led many to turn to isolationism almost and to fall back into their comfort zones of friends on their halls,” Davison said. “I think it really hurt people going out and exploring new things like Greek life.

“Between the delayed rush and Sept. 11 it definitely hurt our numbers in the fall,” Davison concluded.

Some have argued the fall could have happened in part due to freshman housing. Gamm disagreed with this argument, and pointed out that rush numbers haven’t been negative across the board. For example, Delta Upsilon posted record fall rush class and in January the Panhellenic Sorority recruitment process posted huge

See RUSH, Page 20

numbers of interested freshmen.

Over one-fifth of freshman class girls decided to rush sororities, he said.

“It is clear that we just don’t have enough information to know why some fraternities had a good rush and others had problems,” he said.

Dean of The College and Chair of the FAC committee William Green agreed.

“I don’t think that it is freshman housing,” he said. “For all we know, it could be just a blip.”

Davison agreed. “In the future, without Sept. 11 and delayed rush, I think that fraternities can cope and even take advantage of freshman housing to make our numbers even greater.”

As for the spring rush, Chesney said it is too early to evaluate how successful the spring rush will be given that many of the fraternities on the Fraternity Quad are in uncharted territory because they aren’t used to doing a spring rush.

Davison believes in the case of Psi Upsilon, of which he is a brother, the spring rush should be very beneficial.

“There are a lot of guys out there that have interest but never really pursued it in the fall,” he said. “We hope that the [spring rush] can reinstate that commitment and get them connected to the house so they will stay with it.”

Both Chesney and Davison hope that potential rushees are able to look past the negative publicity that has swirled around the Fraternity Quad in recent weeks after the body of the mutilated cat was found at the Sigma Chi fraternity house.

“I know it is something in the back of their mind but I would hope they can look past it,” Chesney said.

“They need to keep in mind that right now there might be some turbulent times,” Davison said, “but in the future, they will be more than pleased with their choice to join the Greek community.”

Chesney said that he strongly urges any students interested in the Greek community to attend rush, citing brotherhood as the primary benefit to joining a fraternity.

“I don’t know if anything in my life will come close to approximating the fraternal bonds I’ve formed as a member of a fraternity,” he said. “There exists an inexplicable sense of familiarity and friendship without expectations amongst the brothers. There are a lot of benefits to being in a fraternity but it is ultimately the brotherhood that makes the experience worthwhile.”

Rush concludes with bid night on Feb. 28. For more information, contact Chesney at gc001i@mail.rochester.edu.

Hildebrandt can be reached at thildebrandt@campustimes.org

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