IFC adds fall open events to spring fraternity recruitment

| Contributing Reporter

Following the Interfraternity Council’s decision to add a week of open events in November to the spring recruitment process, 128 men have registered to participate in spring rush for fraternities.

Washington University prevents students from joining a fraternity or a sorority before they have completed 12 credit hours and have a 2.5 GPA or higher to ensure that they can handle the time commitment of a fraternity or sorority. In the past, recruitment for fraternities has taken place over a two-week period in January during which each fraternity has an open house and an open event, followed by two closed events before they extend bids to new members.

The new structure for fraternity recruitment, where students can attend open events in November before the remainder of the rush events in January, still adheres to this policy, David Stetter, coordinator of student involvement and leadership and an advisor to the fraternity and sorority life community, said, as students do not receive a bid until their spring semester.

The Interfraternity Council changed the recruitment structure in response to last year’s trial fall open house, as well as feedback from all students who participated in the recruitment process, whether or not they received a bid.

“Overwhelmingly we heard that students who participated in recruitment last year experienced that it was too much too fast; they didn’t have the opportunity to really get to see all the chapters. They felt like it was so condensed,” Stetter said.

Stetter also mentioned that many students reached out to fraternities informally in the fall before this change, and providing open events in the fall gives this experience more structure.

“[These fall rush events] gave men who are interested an opportunity to meet fraternities formally,” Stetter said. “When freshmen return to campus in the spring, if those students are interested in participating in recruitment still, they have an idea now [that they] can focus on these four, these five, as opposed to…starting spring semester and…still have all 11 to figure out.”

Junior Alex Karol, director of recruitment for the Interfraternity Council and a brother in Zeta Beta Tau, agreed that the new process gives students more time to make an informed decision about whether or not to participate in Greek life.

“You don’t want to be rushed like that, especially with all the peer pressure of everyone else going out,” Karol said. “So now what happens is if you know people two months before that time, you’ll have more time to digest and see if this is for you. If it is for you…you can make more meaningful relationships.”

Karol also mentioned that spreading out the rush process makes it easier on fraternities as well.

“It’s financially beneficial because you don’t have to throw in all this money for two weeks; you can spread it out more,” Karol said. “It’s also easier on brothers because they can have more time to meet people.”

Sophomore Franklin Ohemeng, a brother in Sigma Nu, had a different perspective on the change. While he understood the reasoning for the change, Ohemeng felt that it worked less smoothly in practice, promoting less formal recruitment processes.

“Watching from the inside, the two-month gap between open rush events creates the awkward situation where we know we should still be looking to meet potential rushees, but we don’t quite have the formal means to do so,” Ohemeng said. “It seems as though the new three-month rush process promotes more of fraternities using independent means to discover their favorite rushees, and less of fraternities primarily using formalized rush events to decide their new bid recipients.”

Matthew Kreutter, a sophomore and a brother in Beta Theta Pi, also felt ambivalent about the change. For Kreutter, delaying all rush events until the spring was an important part of his first semester as a freshman.

“Something that I really liked about Wash. U. when I came here was that they had solely spring rush so that the spring was way more important so that you could kind of find your foundations, find your new home at Wash. U. first semester and get over all the stereotypes about each chapter,” Kreutter said. “Then after winter break you’d come back with a fresh mind and be able to rush ‘better.’”

Kreutter felt that, had this rush structure been in place last year, it might have affected his decision to rush.

“I probably wouldn’t have ended up coming to those first couple events, because I didn’t know if I wanted to be a part of Greek Life,” Kreutter said. “I may not have even ended up rushing.”

However, Stetter believes that attending fall events is not imperative to receiving a bid.

“Every year I get pushback from fraternities saying, ‘Well, what if we meet somebody on the 23rd of January when the 22nd was the deadline,’” Stetter said. “They wouldn’t be asking that question if they’re not meeting people in the middle of the recruitment process.”

Stetter said that entering the recruitment process early is useful, but not the only way to receive a bid from a fraternity.

“It’s about making good, genuine conversation and talking about how you can benefit the organization and what you can give back to them,” Stetter said. “I don’t think if someone missed this week that they’re at a disadvantage. They might have to work a little harder, but I don’t think it’s not possible to get in at this point.”

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