Fraternities prep for rush

Spring fraternity rush begins Monday, bringing revitalized advertising, high expectations and a host of activities. After fall rush failed to fill the expectations of some fraternities, the University is making a serious commitment to expanding Greek life on campus.

“The publicity is 100 times better than it was last spring,” said Laura Taddeucci, director of the Student Activities Center.

From a full page ad in The Hatchet last Thursday to posters around campus and a kickoff event in Thurston Hall Monday night, the University and Interfraternity Council are making a coordinated effort to attract students and increase turnout.

While there was an increase in total turnout in fall rush compared to previous years, some fraternities complained that they did not get the number of pledges they had expected.

Only eight students pledged Delta Tau Delta last fall, compared to 16 pledges in the fall of 2001 and 25 pledges in the fall of 1999, said fraternity president Clifton Coffrey. Numbers were also down at Tau Kappa Epsilon, with only seven students pledging in the fall, fraternity president Matt Heider said.

However, other fraternities said they had a very successful fall rush. Kappa Sigma gained 19 new pledges and Phi Sigma Kappa had 12 new pledges.

Despite meeting his expectations, Phi Sigma Kappa president Kris Hart noted that “advertising was poor last semester. I am expecting the IFC to be more involved this semester.”

While spring rush is traditionally deemed smaller and more informal than fall rush, the renewed publicity push by the IFC has generated high expectations among many fraternities for a large spring turnout.

Rennie Friedman, IFC vice chair of public relations, said he expects about 150 men to rush this spring and about half to pledge a fraternity.

“IFC is doing a great job at promoting it,” Coffrey said. “(Delta Tau Delta) expects to gain 12 to 15 new pledges this spring.”

Kappa Sigma members said they are also looking to expand.

“Spring rush is great,” fraternity president Paul Kennedy said. “We had 16 new brothers (in the fall), and we count on them to bring their friends out.”

Despite some individual fraternity rush numbers decreasing in the fall, the number of overall students in GW fraternities has risen in recent years.

In fall 2002, 143 students joined fraternities, compared to 122 in the fall of 2001. Since 1999, student participation in Greek life has increased from 13 percent 15 percent in 2002.

The increase in the number of fraternities at GW in the past year provides a greater challenge for fraternities to meet recruitment goals.

Pi Kappa Phi colonized on campus last year and Pi Kappa Alpha will be re-establishing a GW chapter this spring. In addition to the 11 officially recognized fraternities on campus, at least four other unrecognized fraternities will be recruiting this spring.

Alpha Epsilon Pi, which colonized last fall, has 32 members. Sigma Alpha Mu, which started a chapter at GW in fall 2001, has 42 members and hopes to gain another 15 members this spring, fraternity president Scott Silver said. Sigma Alpha Epsilon and the “APE” fraternity are also recruiting.

Some fraternity members said Townhouse Row, set to open this fall, may give greater visibility to fall rush, with three fraternities set to receive houses.

“Townhouses will have a huge, positive impact on recruitment,” Taddeucci said.

Yet some fraternity presidents expressed concern over how the townhouses would affect smaller fraternities.

“I’m a little worried about frats who don’t have houses because it’s going to be a really tough situation now that so many (fraternities) do,” Hart said. “It’s going to be an interesting issue that the IFC will have to deal with.”

After Monday’s opening rush event in the Thurston TV lounge, each fraternity will hold four days of events intended to attract members. While most events involve mingling with fraternity members, some fraternities are planning barbecues and excursions to restaurants and hockey games.

The last two nights of rush are usually invite only. At the end of rush, fraternities extend select invitations to students to join the fraternity. If the student accepts the invitation, he can begin pledging.

“The goal of the University is to have 25 percent of the student body involved in Greek life,” Taddeucci said.

While IFC president Norman Pentelovitch doubted the possibility of reaching that goal in the near future, he said, “expanding fraternity life is one of my most important goals as president of the IFC.”

The Panhellenic Association does not hold formal spring recruitment, though some sororities will be individually recruiting students next week.

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