For the first time, freshmen are not allowed to rush fraternities in the fall semester. While freshmen are still a large presence on the Fraternity Quad, they will not be able to participate in rush events until the spring semester.
However, the change does not affect all of the Greek organizations. “The chapters most affected by this change are the 12-member chapters of the [Fraternity] President’s Council,” Director of Fraternity and Sorority Affairs Monica Miranda-Smalls said.
For many Greek groups on campus, this policy is nothing new. “The sororities of the Multicultural Greek Council nationally are mandated by their national organizations not to allow first-semester freshmen to join their organizations,” Smalls said. “On another note, only two of the five fraternities in the Multicultural Greek Council (MGC) are affected by this change because the other three have national mandates similar to those of the sororities in MGC.”
Smalls cited two main reasons for the change. The first reason was a need for a more unified Greek system.
“A key reason to move the fraternities to the deferred recruitment system is to maintain a coherent fraternity and sorority community and a consistent recruitment season,” Smalls said. “There are three governing fraternity and sorority councils, and out of those three, the FPC was the only group where all or most of their chapters were not on the deferred recruitment system.”
The second reason for the administration’s decision was more concerned with easing freshmen into college life. “Due to this move, more first year students are allowed the opportunity to take a semester to acclimate themselves to the campus prior to making a life-long commitment to a particular fraternity or sorority or choosing not to do,” Smalls added.
Freshmen reaction to the decision is mixed. “[Rushing] is a good way to meet people,” freshman Jon Shah said. “I had a friend who joined a frat here fall of his freshman year, and he knew everyone. It’s a good way to meet people with similar interests, namely drinking.”
Another freshman pointed out scheduling conflicts that arose due to the change. “For baseball we won’t be able to rush this year,” freshman Devin Shane said. “We have to wait until sophomore year because our season is in the spring and our coach doesn’t want rush to conflict with our studies and our practices.”
Not everyone agrees that fall rush is a good idea, though. “I think it’s good to have it in the spring. You can have more time to consider your options,” freshman Alicia Citro said. Her friend, freshman to rush makes it easier to meet a variety of friends,” Robin said.
Some freshman are completely unaffected by the change. “Actually, I really just don’t care about the [fraternities],” freshman Nick Wrem said.
Vice Chairman of Recruitment for the FPC and junior Matthew Goldblatt agreed that opinions varied widely. “I’ve seen a variety of responses,” Goldblatt said.
“[I have heard] from freshmen who are disappointed and wish they could rush this semester to freshmen who are content with waiting a few months to see how things pan out for them,” Goldblatt added.
However, some fraternities themselves did not entirely support the idea at first. Those groups worked on an appeal that delayed the change for a year. Even now, there is some resistance from fraternities.
“I think the deferred rush program for fraternities is an extremely bad idea,” Delta Kappa Epsilon President and senior Tyler Ballew said. “As someone who rushed first semester freshman year, it was a really exciting time to become a part of something so important.”
He also emphasized the positive social connections that come from rushing. “I also believe the fall rush is important because it allows a freshman to bring in a whole group of people into their circle friends who have been around a lot longer and can provide a lot of helpful advice on navigating one’s first semester at college,” he said.
Maintaining a certain number of brothers also has a financial impact on a fraternity. “There are numerous fiscal advantages – especially to fraternities who support their own dining plans – to having a brotherhood of four full classes during spring semester,” Ballew said.
Despite reservations about deferring rush, there is not much concern that rush numbers will be too low. “I don’t think it will have a negative effect on rush turnout, but I do think rush will become a trickier process when freshmen come to rush in their own pre-established cliques,” Ballew said.
In fact, most fraternities don’t seem to be too affected by the decision. “Rush has been going well,” Goldblatt said. “There have been interests on behalf of sophomores and every chapter has reported decent to good turnout.”
Sorority fall rush has generally been successful so far, despite the lack of freshmen. “From the numbers of sophomore through senior class women that have attended or signed up for recruitment events this fall, there is not a lack. The number is actually higher than it has been in past fall semesters,” Smalls added.
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