Greek-letter interest up

Despite the cancellation of Thursday night recruitment events because of Hurricane Isabel, fraternity leaders said they are pleased with this year’s turnout and pledge classes.

Several fraternities, including Delta Tau Delta and Lambda Chi Alpha, saw significant increases from last year’s fall recruitment. Delta Tau Delta accepted 18 pledges this year versus 8 last year, and Lamdba Chi took in 18 pledges as opposed to last year’s four.

Delta Tau Delta President Clifton Coffey said the fraternity “put a lot more focus” on recruiting members this year. He said in the past the fraternity has seen pledge classes of 20 to 25 students and called last fall “one bad semester.”

“We downsized from 70 to 45 guys (last year),” Coffey said. “(This year) we needed to take a big pledge class and make sure the house is full of brothers.”

Lambda Chi Alpha President Anthony Guarnaccia said the “hard work of our brothers and our campus involvement” helped the fraternity gain 14 more pledges this fall.

Hurricane Isabel caused the Interfraternity Council to cancel its Thursday night events, which upset several fraternity leaders.

“The loss of Thursday night robbed us of that crucial extra day to answer questions that the guys might have had,” said Zak Babcock, president of the Beta Theta Pi fraternity. “Guys that came to the first few events but still weren’t sure didn’t have that one last push to make up their minds.”

Beta Theta Pi accepted 10 pledges this fall, one more than last year.

“I think the weather hurt some numbers,” said IFC President Norman Pentelovitch. “The ability to have rush Friday and Saturday was helpful. It shows us who really wants to come out.”

Phi Kappa Psi took the largest dip, down nine pledges from last year, and Kappa Sigma accepted seven fewer pledges.”The (new townhouse) didn’t play as big of a role as we thought it would, but it was certainly not a negative,” said Justin Grossman, president of the Phi Kappa Psi fraternity.

Phi Kappa Psi and two other fraternities moved into the University’s new Townhouse Row this August. Five sororities also live on the row.

Despite initial concerns of recruitment tactics performed by unrecognized fraternities, Pentelovitch said the groups did not prove to be a threat.

“I feel like the initial concern did not get a chance to manifest itself,” Pentelovitch said. “Basically most of the people who rushed them were not impressed after the first day when the kids saw what they were about.”

But Pentelovitch said the IFC and University officials are still conducting an investigation as to whether off-campus fraternities were using IFC recruitment as a “springboard” for their own recruitment.

But Brian Koffler, president of the unrecognized APES group, said he was pleased with his organization’s numbers, taking 20 new members.

IFC officials said they were also impressed with the quality of students who came out for recruitment.

“Our rush went really well,” Pentelovitch said. “We’ve accepted a good quality of people.”

This sentiment was true among fraternities who had slight membership decreases.

“This year we were looking for a class that was not too big but not too small – just very strong,” said Chris Derderian, president of the Phi Sigma Kappa fraternity, which took 15 new members last fall and 10 this semester. “We’re very happy with the quality of the class we have this year.”

Elizabeth Chernow and Julie Gordon contributed to this report.

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