Two new fraternity townhouses and the largest freshman class in GW history may lead to heightened interest in fraternities as rush begins this week. The two-week recruitment period began Sunday night.
Two fraternities, Beta Theta Pi and Alpha Epsilon Pi, moved into their new GW townhouses in late August. The University chose the fraternities, along with the Phi Sigma Sigma sorority, out of a pool of 10 Greek-letter groups who applied to live in the houses.
Both Beta Theta Pi and Alpha Epsilon Pi said they anticipate more students to be interested in joining their groups as a result of the new townhouses, located at 603 22nd St. and 605 22nd St., respectively.
“We love the new house and are excited that the University chose us,” Adam Croley, president of Beta Theta Pi, said. “The house enhances the tight-knit bond we already had, and provides us with a new tool to foster brotherhood.”
Scott Liftman, president of Alpha Epsilon Pi, said his group’s house offers a “centrally visible location” where “guys can walk by and see our letters.”
He said the house has helped the fraternity feel like a “bigger part of the community” and gain “more respect” within the Greek-letter community. Alpha Epsilon Pi returned to campus in 2003.
Both nine-bed houses are currently full; some new members may have the opportunity to move in during the spring semester if students choose to study abroad or graduate a semester early.
Croley said “negotiations are currently taking place with the University” to allow more members to move into the house next semester.
The freshman class of nearly 2,600 may also lead to a heightened interest in rush. About 14 percent of GW students are currently members of fraternities or sororities.
Liftman said “with a larger freshman class, rush can go one of two ways: fraternities will become more selective” or “fraternities will accept as many guys as they think will benefit from the fraternity.” Last fall, Beta Theta Pi took nine new members and Alpha Epsilon Pi accepted 23.
SAC Director Tim Miller said the size of the freshman class does not necessarily determine rush interest.
“We obviously hope there will be a bigger rush, but I don’t know that a larger freshman class dictates that,” Miller said. “Last year’s freshman class was bigger than the previous freshman class and the same number of men pledged.”
This year’s Interfraternity Council-sponsored recruitment period is a week longer than in previous years. Miller said the IFC voted to lengthen the recruitment period so prospective members could learn more about the fraternities.
“Instead of twelve groups holding events on the same night, only four or five will be, so prospective members can visit every house during rush,” Miller said.
As one of the smaller fraternities on campus, Sigma Nu is “looking for a good size bunch” of new members, Jordan Peterson, the fraternity’s president, said.
“One night we are taking rushes to an Orioles game, and another night we are going to relax and play pool,” Peterson said.
Sigma Alpha Mu and the other two unrecognized fraternities on campus, Sigma Alpha Epsilon and APES, will also hold recruitment events in the weeks ahead. The University recognizes 12 fraternities.
Unlike Sigma Nu, Beta Theta Pi and Alpha Epsilon Pi, Sigma Alpha Epsilon is “not looking to take more people” even though GW has a larger freshman class, Sigma Alpha Epsilon member Andrew Cart said. Last year, Sigma Alpha Epsilon accepted eight new members.
Unrecognized groups do not receive University funding or housing and are not held to IFC guidelines, which prohibit hazing.
Sigma Alpha Mu member Glen Dym said his fraternity “does not want to interfere with plans made by the IFC” and “does not want to cause concern.”
Cart described his unrecognized fraternity’s recruitment plans as “similar to the past,” involving “standard activities” like “going out and playing pool with the rushes” and “having a barbecue one night.”
Last year, the actions of some unrecognized groups worried University administrators. Group members, who are not allowed to recruit at University locations, attended an IFC-sponsored barbeque and handed out flyers in front of Thurston Hall.
–Katie Considine contributed to this report.