Letter to the Editor: Keep Greek recruitment in the Fall

Mike Massaroli, a senior majoring in political science, is a member of Beta Theta Pi.

I’m writing in response to the article, “Greek life leaders left out of deferred recruitment decision” by Natalie Maher, (p. 1, April 10).

I’ve been a part of several organizations on campus, and I’ve made great memories and friends in each of them. Ultimately, though, no other organization or experience can compare to my time in my fraternity, Beta Theta Pi.

Before I joined Beta, I spent my first few weeks at GW unmoored, looking for a place where I’d fit in and feel at home. I ran for a freshman senator position in the Student Association and a Hall Council position in Residence Hall Association but didn’t get either. I felt like I’d made the wrong choice when I picked GW. There were times I’d sit in my room and cry, believing my four years at GW would be just like this – four years without any connections truly made. A long-dormant anxiety disorder sprung back to the forefront of my life.

This all changed when I took the plunge and joined Greek life during fall rush. Immediately, I knew that I was at home in Beta and that there was truly a place for me in the GW community. Since then, Beta has continued to improve my experience here at GW in innumerable ways.

I’m frustrated by GW’s recent decision to move toward ending fall recruitment for first-year students. First and foremost, I believe this decision will take away the opportunity for future first-semester freshmen – especially those in situations like the one I faced – to enjoy the supportive community that our fraternities and sororities provide.

Additionally, though, this decision presents several procedural concerns. It’s likely that, because of a lack of formal recruitment in the fall semester, we’ll see an increase in “dirty rushing” activities on campus. If rogue organizations seek to recruit underground fall classes, chapters that choose to abide by the rules will be left at a marked disadvantage in the spring.

The current new member process provides some of the most steady and engaging programming for both new members and initiated members alike. Taking away an entire semester of these structured and productive programs each year will likely lead many members to spend less time with their chapters, other than at social events or chapter meetings. Coupled with the recent move away from Greek affinity housing, this means that GW is effectively hamstringing Greek life’s ability to be more than a bunch of glorified social clubs.

The biggest issue with this change, perhaps, is a philosophical one. The move to deferred recruitment carries a rather large implication with it: that Greek organizations are uniquely harmful for a student to join and that these harmful effects must be tempered as much as possible. It only takes a cursory look around campus to know this is not true – from the SA to RHA, from your resident advisers to your teaching assistants, from GWTV to WRGW – Greeks have shown themselves to be extremely involved, engaged members of the GW community.

It’s time that GW stops hampering our Greek community’s ability to move forward and truly excel. The move toward deferred recruitment does just that, and student leaders should continue to push back against it.

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