Fraternities debate open recruitment

Fraternity leaders will spend the next few weeks considering how much to overhaul the formal rush process to draw more men into Greek life.

The Interfraternity Council charged chapter presidents Monday with planning changes to GW’s recruitment, officially bringing it in line with national policies that allow chapters to give out bids 365 days a year.

“By opening up bidding, we’re trying to lessen disappointment and increase the number of young new members that are excited to be a part of this community,” Interfraternity Council President Casey Wood said.

Wood said he expects any policy changes to be approved by May – more than a year after the Northeast Greek Leadership Association amended its bylaws to offer year-round recruitment. The organization has granted campus leaders some latitude in determining their recruitment structure.

Chapters have been permitted to offer bids in between recruitment periods since last fall, but several chapter presidents said their understanding of the policy was still hazy. Wood said he expects the most contentious part of the new policy to be whether to scrap formal rush periods.

The Greek community sometimes gets nervous when tradition is challenged, Wood said. While smaller fraternities would more willingly embrace open recruitment, larger fraternities might be warier of the process, he said.

He said he hopes the group will strike a balance between the regional policy and the GW community’s needs.

“No structure is scary,” Wood said.

Beta Theta Pi President Colin O’Brien said he’d like to see GW keep formal recruitment in the fall, but nix the spring process.

Cutting down on events would also cut costs, O’Brien said. He added that allowing IFC’s 17 chapters to hand out bids throughout the year would help members focus on more “meaningful” recruitment.

“This would allow those who are interested in Greek Life from the get-go to jump right in, but would give those who need more convincing the proper avenue for that,” O’Brien said.

The University’s director of Greek life defended the current recruitment model, with twice-yearly events.

“I believe a period of time set aside each semester is helpful to connect potential new members to interested chapters,” Christina Witkowicki, the IFC adviser, said.

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