Frat rush mixes fun, tradition

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September 7, 2007

4:18 AM

Greek life is buzzing on campus. On any given day, one can see a parade of Greek letters emblazoned on T-shirts or perched atop campus housing in the Units. Amidst all the Greek letter frenzy lies a motivation — fraternity recruitment for the fall semester is underway. All 16 fraternity chapters officially recognized on campus are seeking new members for their brotherhoods.

p. Approximately a quarter of all men on campus are Greek. That is to say, they are affiliated with a nationally recognized fraternity. Since the establishment of Phi Beta Kappa, the first Greek letter organization in America, the College has sustained the inclusion and growth of Greek life on campus. PBK has evolved into a prestigious co-ed honors fraternity reserved for qualified seniors at the College. Its inception on campus, however, pioneered the presence of Greek social life that is so popular today.

p. Fraternities are identified as selective brotherhoods that belong to an individual chapter that is encompassed by a larger, national organization. At the beginning of each semester, chapters participate in a recruitment process in which they host open events for prospective brothers. On a certain date, fraternities can begin to extend bids, or invitations, for men to pledge a particular fraternity. Men can choose to accept, defer or decline a bid.

p. Delta Phi is the only fraternity that deviates from the bid process by offering bids only in the spring. Delta Phi Recruitment Chair Josh Cromwell ’09 emphasized that they do, however, engage in and encourage fall recruitment events and continue them throughout the year. Bids will be extended beginning Sept. 17 and must be accepted, declined or deferred within 10 days. Men may receive more than one bid in the process, but may only pledge one fraternity. A rite of passage is the signing of their official pledge cards in the Council for Fraternity Affairs office in the Campus Center, through which the recruitment process ends and pledging begins.

p. Fraternity recruitment, unlike sorority recruitment, is an individualized process. Fraternal Greek life on campus is governed by the CFA, a board represented by multiple chapters on campus. The CFA mandates that each chapter attend Meet the Greeks and host four open houses. These open houses are often called “smokers,” where interested students can meet the brothers and eat free food.

p. Kappa Sigma Rush Chair Evan Brown ’09 said that freshmen can expect to meet many other freshmen, and enjoy free food and abundant social opportunities during recruitment. He stressed, however, that familiarity with a chapter is not limited to general recruitment events. Kappa Sigma promotes meeting potential brothers beyond the standard open houses to better understand and familiarize themselves with prospects.

p. “We try to meet up with interested individuals outside of these events, whether it’s at the Rec Center for basketball or just hanging out in the house,” Brown said. “These more personal activities give both the brothers and the prospective a better idea of whether or not there is a good fit for both sides.

p. Rob Tisdale ’08, Theta Delta Chi recruitment chair, echoed the sentiment that recruitment is an ideal opportunity for any and all men interested in Greek life. Engaging in a casual activity such as bowling underscores the kind of events “that are behind the scenes that are a vital part of the sustenance of the brotherhood,” he said. Recruitment is a time not only for unaffiliated men to familiarize themselves with chapters, but also for chapters to familiarize themselves with potential brothers. It is an equally educational process for both Greek and non-Greek men.

p. “What is so nice about fraternity rush is the combination we take to mix a casual and friendly atmosphere with the important and serious principles we hold dear and expect to find in our potential new boys,” William McClain ’08, brother of Beta Theta Pi, said.

p. Many of the 16 fraternity chapters are housed in the Units. Others opt to reside in alternative locations such as the Lodges or off campus. This year, Kappa Alpha regained residence in the Units after spending last year off campus. Kappa Sigma secured Unit housing after their colonization two years ago. Beta is also new to the Units, now occupying what was formerly residential housing. It is not required that all brothers live in designated fraternity housing; however, chapters must fill their housing to be eligible to continue occupancy. For this reason, many brothers do reside in their chapters’ houses.

p. For further questions about the fraternity recruitment process, contact the CFA office or visit them online at www.wm.edu/so/greeks.

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