Fraternities are rushing significantly larger spring classes than in previous years due to a ban on fall freshman recruitment for Greek organizations that pushed freshmen to rush in the spring.
Three of five fraternity leaders interviewed said their spring rush classes have grown dramatically compared to previous years’ classes. Two fraternities will increase the number of bids they plan to give out this spring, and fraternity leaders said they have encouraged freshmen who do not receive a bid to consider rushing again in the fall as sophomores when rush classes are smaller.
“Our chapter has encouraged several of the guys to stay in contact with Zeta Psi and to stay tuned about a fall rush,” Zeta Psi President Cameron Sandquist ’14 said. “Although Zeta Psi on campus has not typically rushed biannually, with such a large draw this spring, we have thought about readdressing that idea and running a fall campaign.”
Zeta — which will hold its first spring rush period this year — has about 45 students rushing this semester, a number nearly double that on their fall 2011 rush list, Sandquist said. Sigma Phi Epsilon has a rush class of over 60 students, compared with 40 students last spring, Rush Chair Jack Schlossberg ’15 said. Roughly 100 students are rushing Sigma Alpha Epsilon this semester, double the number that rushed last spring, said Samir Sama ’15, the SAE fall 2011 rush chair. Delta Kappa Epsilon and Sigma Chi are rushing approximately the same numbers of students they have in previous semesters, said DKE President Nick Daffin ’13 and Sig Chi Recruitment Chair John Harringa ’14.
In response to the larger rush classes, Sig Ep and Zeta will increase the number of bids they give out this semester. Schlossberg said last spring Sig Ep gave out 14 bids, and this year they will give out 25. Zeta will give out 30 bids, “higher than our normal 20,” Sandquist said.
SAE will not increase the number of bids they give out, Sama said, because fraternity members decided that expanding the pledge class would prevent the new members from forming close relationships with one another and the other members.
“We will not be giving out bids to any more than 20 rushes this semester. This is consistent with our policy from previous semesters,” Sama said. “Taking any more students than that has the potential to weaken the close bonds they will form with one another.”
Sama added that SAE members will encourage those who do not receive a bid this semester to rush again next semester. He said this spring is an “anomaly in that we have excesses,” and he thinks that the number of students rushing will return to previous numbers in the fall, when the students who were turned away in the spring rush again.
Two fraternity leaders said larger spring rush classes have made the rush process more difficult. Schlossberg said Sig Ep had to change its rush procedure to accommodate such a large group. Daffin said the ban affected dynamics among the students rushing because the spring rush class is composed of all freshmen, so students in separate class years are more segregated than in years past.
“When I was rushing, a great part of the process was hanging out with and really getting to know the sophomores rushing with the freshmen,” Daffin said. “Now, [with] the ban and the new spring rush we’ve had to institute, there is a more clearly defined separation between freshmen and sophomores.”
Daffin added that it has been difficult to coordinate spring rush for baseball players interested in DKE because of the players’ practice schedules this spring.
Students rushing said the larger rush classes have not had noticeable impact on the rush process.
“I think the rush class is a good one — well-sized,” said Josh Marx ’16, a freshman rushing SAE. “Small enough that I can make close friends, but also large enough that we can operate as a full-fledged fraternity.”
Rafi Bildner ’16 added he “loves” the size of AEPi’s rush class.
“I had never met a lot of the other people rushing before, and it’s been a great experience so far in terms of getting to know people I would have perhaps never previously met,” he said. “It’s just large enough where it definitely feels like a big group.”
The ban on fall freshman rush for Greek organizations was announced in March 2012.