WEB EXCLUSIVE: Students experience relaxed spring rush

Members of the Lambda Chi Alpha fraternity shared cigars and stories with potential pledges on the steps of the fraternity’s G Street house Thursday night during the group’s second spring rush event.

The evening, like all of the spring’s open events, was a chance for students to meet the members and learn about the fraternity.

Lambda Chi Alpha President Dan Cuzzolino said 90 percent of the fraternity’s members were against joining fraternities before arriving at GW.

“Offers like free food and cigars get people interested and motivated to come out to the houses during rush week, and when they meet the members their minds and predispositions are often changed,” he said.

Sorority and fraternity leaders said fall rush is much more aggressive and formal than the spring.

“We set aside 60 to 75 percent of our overall budget for fall rush,” said senior Aaron Brachman, who has served as rush chair for Phi Kappa Psi for the past three years. “Fall rush is always a good indicator of how spring rush is going to be.”

The two rush periods are related, he said.

“Students who rush and join in the fall often get their friends to join in the spring, so the better fall rush is, the better spring rush will be,” Brachman said.

Delta Gamma President Mary Tess Driver said most sororities do not have a spring rush.

“The only time we have one is when numbers in the fall are low,” Driver said.

Phi Sigma Sigma, Alpha Phi and Sigma Delta Tau are the only sororities holding a spring rush. This year is the first time the Sigma Delta Tau and Alpha Phi sororities are holding spring rush.

Sigma Delta Tau President Laura Heller said spring rush is much less formal than fall, spreading out over three days instead of seven, and separate from the Panhellenic Association.

She said there are no theme events, women are simply encouraged to come to events to meet the members and learn about the sororities. On the third night, the students choose the sorority they like best and ask for a bid.

In the fall, Heller said, women who are rushing must visit all of the sororities at GW, then rank them and submit first a list of all seven sororities, then the top five, then the top three and finally the top two.

“The fall is really important for sororities,” Heller said. “The entire rush process is coordinated by the Panhellenic Association on campus and events are much more elaborate, each of them often having a theme.”

She said 19 students, mostly freshmen, joined Sigma Delta Tau in the fall. Since spring rush is more informal, Heller said she expected numbers are harder to predict. She hopes for about the same number of women as the fall.

Tau Kappa Epsilon averages about five to eight new members in the spring and about seven to 14 in the fall, fraternity Jeff Consoletti said.

“Each incoming class is predominantly freshmen with a couple of upperclassmen, and we get more upperclassmen rushing in the fall than we do in the spring,” he said. “Our goal is to always outdo our previous season by one student.”

Last fall, he said Tau Kappa Epsilon added 10 new members and last spring took on five.

This spring Lambda Chi Alpha gave out five bids and obtained two new members, Phi Kappa Psi gave out three bids and took three, Sigma Nu gave seven bids and now has six new pledges, Sigma Phi Epsilon gave out six bids and has six new brothers and Tau Kappa Epsilon issued 11 bids and has 10 new members.

Other fraternities including Delta Tau Delta, Sigma Alpha Mu, Pi Kappa Phi, Beta Theta Pi and Theta Delta Chi did not submit their new numbers.

Brachman said spring rush still focuses on underclassmen.

“Freshmen who rush in the fall are in a new environment and are often unsure of where they can fit in,” Brachman said. “A great deal of exploring goes on in the first semester. In the spring students have a group of friends and have a better idea of where they want to be.”

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