Beginning next fall the Panhellenic Association will no longer allow sororities to hold recruitment activities off campus, organization president Sarah Sutton said.
Previously, sororities had the option to host their “preference nights” – invite-only events where rushes decide whether or not they wish to join a specific sorority – at a number of area restaurants and hotels.
Recent changes by the National Panhellenic Association to make the recruitment process fairer to all sororities have driven GW chapters to reconsider the locations of these events.
“The whole ‘no frills’ idea really levels the playing field for each chapter,” said Sutton, a junior. “It makes preference night more about the bonds you form and the conversations you have rather than the aesthetic level.”
Dean Harwood, director of Greek Life, said he is in full support of the upcoming modifications.
“The changes to Panhellenic formal recruitment process for the fall are designed to improve the process,” Harwood said. “I am confident that these improvements benefit all involved.”
Another driving force behind the change has been safety issues. Last fall during the rush process, a prospective member passed out and was taken to a nearby hospital.
With all preference nights held on campus, the events will be under UPD jurisdiction and any health issues will be taken care of at the GW Hospital, Sutton said.
Sorority members also questioned the costliness of hosting such events. Sutton said chapters spend between $800 and $4,000 on preference nights.
Next fall, GW’s 10 sororities will rank 14 choices of venues on campus to hold their preference nights. These include the Marvin Center, E Street Terrace and Post Hall on the Mount Vernon Campus.
To make the assignment process fair, these preferences will be entered into a computer program equipped with an algorithm to blindly designate the rooms.
This article appeared in the April 9, 2009 issue of the Hatchet.