Interfraternity Council members said fraternities may reorganize rush week this spring to more closely resemble the structured recruitment of the Panhellenic Association, after some Greek-letter groups experienced abnormally low recruitment this week.
Both the Interfraternity Council and Panhellenic Association reported strong Greek-letter interest this year, but many fraternities said their pledge classes were smaller than expected.
Sorority recruitment ends Wednesday as part of the new “mid-week” recruitment schedule. Panhellenic Association Vice President Alice Lingo said about 250 of the 368 women who initially expressed interest in joining sororities are expected to accept bids Wednesday, which she called “substantially higher” than last year.
Anthony Morris, IFC president, said fall rush suffered from scheduling difficulties this year. He said rush week was sandwiched between Yom Kippur and the upcoming IMF/World Bank protests, which Morris said forced potential pledges to make faster decisions about joining fraternities.
“The Jewish holidays really hurt us this year, but there’s nothing we could have done about that,” he said. “I think rush went well and we did the best we could to get people out, but we will be looking at alternate methods of recruitment.”
The Panhellenic Association began registering women in the Marvin Center for sorority recruitment Sept. 17. Female students are required to begin the week visiting all eight sororities and then make lists of sororities in which they are interested. They eventually narrow their choices to two sororities. Sororities are scheduled to hand out bids Wednesday, and then formal initiation, typically an eight-week period, begins.
Fraternities hold their own parties or outings, such as visiting ESPN Zone, Georgetown Billiards or Hooters. Potential pledges can participate at events at any chapter except for “invite nights.”
Two of GW’s largest fraternities, Kappa Sigma and Sigma Phi Epsilon, reported a bigger turnout this year. Kappa Sigma, the largest recognized fraternity with 100 active members, accepted 20 new pledges over last year’s 19. Sigma Phi Epsilon accepted 23 pledges to the 56-member fraternity, seven more than last fall.
“We felt like it was a pretty good turnout this year,” Kappa Sigma president Matt Wolf said. “In the spring, we’ll just do the same thing and see who comes out.”
Despite promising numbers among the largest fraternities,
some smaller fraternities said they had difficulty recruiting new pledges.
Phi Sigma Kappa, with 36 members, attracted only 15 pledges this year, down from 18 last fall.
“We had a couple nights of bad luck,” rush chair Scott Bialick said. “But there was lots of interest in spring rush from lots of guys who just couldn’t come to fall events.”
Tau Kappa Epsilon also experienced a decrease in recruitment numbers. Chapter President Jeff Consoletti said of 10 bids given, about eight pledges are expected to accept.
“Our numbers were down a little bit,” he said. Last year the fraternity took 10 pledges in the fall.
“I think talking to other presidents, we were all surprised that rush didn’t seem as popular this year,” Consoletti said. “There wasn’t the usual excitement.”
He said rush should be made more visible at Colonial Inauguration.
“There seemed to be more sophomores in rush this year,” Consoletti said. “It’s hard when you have only three days before invite nights start.”
Some fraternities said they were hoping to increase membership in order to fill the Greek Village townhouses GW is constructing for next fall. Phi Kappa Psi, with 38 members, offered 26 bids. Rush chair Brett Diamond said 25 accepted.
“Last year we had twelve in the fall. This is our biggest year ever,” he said. “We are actively pursuing a house in the Greek Village, and this will definitely help us.”
Morris said despite low numbers for some fraternities, the total number of pledges will probably exceed last year.
“Overall it went well, though some didn’t get the large numbers that they have in the past,” he said. “It balanced out, just in a different way for everybody.”
–Helen Wei contributed to this report.