Fraternity members said last week’s Spring Rush was successful despite a recent decline in interest for Greek-letter organizations on campus.
“I think it’s hard to spark interest,” said Seth Rosenzeig, vice president of Sigma Alpha Epsilon, whose G Street house was condemned in August.
Jason Grunes, sergeant at arms for Phi Kappa Si, said fraternities like his that do not own a house have a harder time recruiting members than ones that have a place on campus.
“I think with a house we could probably get bigger numbers,” said Grunes. He said having a house facilitates gatherings of all sorts, providing brothers with a location to congregate. GW bought the Sigma Nu house on G Street last week, cutting the number of fraternities occupying houses on campus to six.
Jeff Alpart, vice president and social chair of Sigma Nu, said the recent sale of their house did not hurt Spring Rush activities.
Rush events such as casino night, video games at the ESPN Zone and a blood drive at the Marvin Center aimed to bring together fraternity members and pledges, Alpart said.
“The emphasis of the evening was that we were just a couple of guys having a good time together,” he said. “That’s all we claimed to be.”
Rosenzweig said interest may have declined among students because they do not want to worry about the possibility that their fraternity may be kicked off campus.
He said he hopes GW’s administration will make an effort to promote Greek-letter life on campus. He said recent events, such as Alpha Epsilon Pi’s suspension on charges of hazing last month, have created a feeling among current and prospective members that fraternities are a liability to the University.
But some fraternity members said they believe interest in Greek-letter brotherhood is actually on the rise.
With eight fraternities reporting, Brian Finnegan, IFC president of recruitment, said 54 bids were extended this spring and 49 were accepted. He described the reported results as “pretty phenomenal.”
Bob Simon, president of Delta Tau Delta, has witnessed his fraternity’s population explode during the last three and a half years.
In fall 1998, the fraternity had 20 brothers and 24 pledges. Now, in spring 2001, the fraternity has 64 brothers and seven pledges. Simon said the pledge numbers were lower now because the fraternity focuses its attention and its money on fall rush, leaving spring for a more limited, selective engagement.
Since Sigma Phi Epsilon’s first official rush last spring, the fraternity has grown from 12 to 47 members, said Grant Bursek, the fraternity’s former rush chair. He also said the fraternity expects to add seven more brothers through rolling recruitment during the semester, as well as two students who originally deferred.
“I feel interest in the Greek system is growing,” said Justin Borodinsky, executive vice president of Beta Theta Pi. “I think that perhaps the Greek unity adds to the feeling overall . a positive one.”