The spring semester rush for fraternities and sororities on campus kicked off this last Thursday,with an average turnout and a successful series of open rushes.
“The turnout this semester was just about average, although the Panhellenic Association did get a better turnout than the Multicultural Greek Association,” Director of Fraternity and Sorority Affairs Monica Smalls said.
“The fraternities on the other hand, have so far managed to pull off a slightly better than average turnout,” President of Delta Upsilon and junior Ian Areces said.
“There are two different councils for the sororities, and the schedule of events depends on the council,” Smalls said.
“The Panhellenic Associaltion, which is comprised of six sororities, had its formal rush from Jan. 21 to Jan. 25. On Jan. 25, the women were called to Haven’s Lounge between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. to pick up their invitations to the sororities that had accepted them,” Smalls said.
“The Muticultural Greek Council, on the other hand, works on an independent schedule. They usually choose to rush at any time of their liking, with two or more formal events,” Smalls said.
“Sigma Delta Tau, for instance, chose to rush the same time as the sororities under the Panhellenic Association, with a week long recruitment process of events,”Smalls said.
“Students can attend an informational session if they are very much interested in pursuing a group under the Multicultural council,” Smalls said.
The rules for the Panhellenic Association also underwent a small change in that the rules have been relaxed a little.
“The only difference is that the rules have been made a lot less strict,” Smalls said. “The formality of the events remains unchanged.”
Fraternity rushes are also being held simultaneously along with the sororities.
“The fraternity rushes are a lot less formal,” Areces said.”The entire process lasts a few weeks. We usually hold open rushes, and the groups then invite you back for closed rush.”
However, the decision of deferred rush which was imposed on the fraternity community and took effect last fall, has caused a stir of disagreement amongst
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the various fraternities on campus.
“Last year, a committee was set up to look into greek life on campus. This committee included Monica Smalls and Jody Asbury. Deferred rush, disallowing the pledging of first semester freshmen, was one of the changes made as a result of this inspection.
When asked about the repercussions of this decision, Areces replies that it will put a considerable amount of strain on the fraternity groups. “We have to have a minimum of 33 members to keep house. It’s going to be hard to maintain what the university expects out of us in terms of programs when we are trying to rush new members. Even though the turnout was good, it was only this spring semester, (in other words) half of the turnout we would get had we been allowed to rush first semester freshmen,” Areces said.
He believes that academic reasons may have caused the committee to come up with such a decision. “They probably don’t want people to be too involved and neglect their academics. However, I don’t see how becoming involved in a club sport is an issue.”
“The deferred rush will hurt chapter numbers overall,” Fraternity President Council’s Vice Chairman of recruitment Matt Goldblatt said. “While deferred rush may give some freshmen a semester to evaluate what their interests are before they rush, some who may want to get involved right away could get disheartened when they realize that they can’t join their first semester. FPC worked on having programs and initiatives during the first semester to expose freshmen to greek life which were successful, but nonetheless, overall deferred rush still reduces the opportunity during the first semester for freshmen to become familiar with chapters while making these decisions.”
Smalls on the other hand, states that this shouldn’t pose a problem because fraternities can still certainly rush in the fall, just that they can’t pledge freshmen in the fall. The only restriction is that the students have to be upperclassmen.
“Deferred rush was pushed by a year due to the efforts of all the frat brothers. If we find that this semester’s turnout is unsatisfactory, we plan to fight the deferral. If not, we’ll see how it goes. All the fraternities, however, are not very pleased by the decision,” Areces said.
Freshmen on the other hand, have mixed reactions to the rushes with opinions ranging from excitement to plain detachment. “While I knew the brothers from Delta Phi Upsilon already from the parties I attended during freshman orientation week, I found all of the open rushes so far a lot of fun, and not much of a time commitment,” freshman Ryan Havenec said.
“The whole point of the open rushes is to get to know the brothers well. Though it was kind of pointless for me since I already knew them well, I would have rushed last semester itself, only we weren’t allowed to. So I had to do it this semester,” Havenec said.
Freshman Mansi Shah on the contrary chose not to rush since she didn’t see any exceptional advantages of doing so. “What you can do in a sorority, you can always do by yourself. You could throw parties and raise money without them,” Shah said. “If I join, it’s just me paying an extra $200 a year to do all this.” “I’m just not interested in the whole greek life thing, its just that simple,” freshman Emily Butzi said, speaking out for the disinterested section of the freshman community at UR.
Smalls however was pleased that the weather did not discourage the students from attending the various rushes and hence decrease the volume of students who participated.
“I can comment on the numbers and overall event only after a couple of weeks. We have already welcomed about 70 new members into the Panhellenic Association, while the numbers for the fraternities continue to come in. But I would definitely like to say that the bad weather this past week did not scare anyone away, and the turnout was great,” Smalls said.