By Kyle Woosley
Fraternity recruitment this fall has almost been cut in half. Sorority recruitment has slightly increased.
The number of potential new fraternity members accepting bids dropped from 170 to 96 this year.
Jacob Powell, Interfraternity Council (IFC) president, said he thinks the decrease in fraternity recruitment is because of an overall decrease in enrollment.
“For one, there was a 15 percent decrease from the amount of students at Eastern this year,” Powell said. “I know the number of freshmen students were down a lot.”
The number of students registered to participate in recruitment also dropped to 174 this fall, which means 78 people did not accept bids to join. Powell said the majority of those were ineligible because of grades.
“The majority of them were cut for grades,” Powell said. “I guess we could have raised numbers and lowered the standard, but we didn’t want to do that.”
Powell said the numbers may have been negatively impacted because of the time rush week occurs, which took place the week before the Labor Day holiday.
“I think being on Labor Day weekend hurt us,” Powell said. “A lot of people didn’t sign this bid that Friday because of the holiday. I know a bunch of chapters have been doing open recruitment.”
Even though the statistics from rush week were official and accurate, Powell said he still considers them “very incomplete” because of the holiday weekend.
A few changes have been made to the way fraternities recruit new members this past year, Powell said.
“One of the big things we’ve pushed is recruitment 365 days a year,” Powell said. “So if you can’t sign Friday, you could sign next week or the next or whenever.”
Lindsay Greenwell, associate director for Student Life, said the chapter numbers reflect differently than the overall statistics.
“When you look at the overall chapter, we’re still right around that same number,” Greenwell said. “I think a lot of that is related toward maintaining our retention.”
Greenwell said many different fraternities are still having open recruitment events for their chapters.
Last semester, three fraternities were suspended with two being kicked off campus after reported hazing incidents. However, Powell said he doesn’t believe the hazing incidents had a strong effect on recruiting numbers.
“I don’t think the hazing reflected badly on Greek life as a whole because we handled it very well,” Powell said. “I honestly don’t think that had anything to do with it.”
In regards to the hazing incidents, Greenwell said she believes the impact, good or bad, has an effect on people’s mindsets.
Powell said he thinks the hazing incidents gave Greek life an opportunity to show what the community is all about.
“I think the hazing thing was a pretty good indication of what Greek life’s about,” Powell said. “Two chapters were doing something unacceptable to Greek life and Greek life got rid of them.”
The media also has a strong impact on what student’s think about Greek life, Powell said.
“Almost every question when a freshmen comes to a Greek life event is ‘Do you guys really haze like in the movies?'” Powell said.
Sorority recruitment numbers, on the other hand, improved. Potential new sorority members increased from 147 to 162 this year.
Elizabeth Horn, panhellenic president, said sororities have been pushing hard on recruitment since January.
“I think that our recruitment has gone up because we made a good effort this year,” Horn said. “We really pushed things before recruitment began. Our hard work paid off.”
Sorority recruitment also has a much different process than fraternity recruitment.
“Sorority recruitment really runs like a machine, and we have a lot of rules and regulations,” Horn said. “The way we do things is completely different.”
Horn said this is one of the smoothest recruitment seasons she’s seen for a few years.
“I think the quality of women we have in our chapters right now are phenomenal,” Horn said. “This is the first time in a couple of years there hasn’t been a major infraction during recruitment.”
Horn said she thinks the fraternities have a more difficult time recruiting than sororities because women are more eager to be part of the Greek community.
“Sometimes it’s just easier to recruit sorority women over fraternity men,” Horn said.
Horn said her advice to fraternities would be to do more recruitment within the chapters rather than relying on IFC to bring the potential new members.
Powell said he wants to start doing more events focusing on the Greek community at large, as opposed to individual chapters.
“We want to have more positive events rather than recruiting ones,” Powell said. “I think we’re going to focus a lot more on what Greek life’s about, rather than just what the chapter’s about.”
For more information about Greek life, contact Lindsay Greenwell at firstname.lastname@example.org.