Sororities, fraternities see jump in recruitment participants

Sammy Caiola

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Members of Northwestern’s Greek community are opening their doors extra wide to welcome a record number of men and women during fraternity and sorority recruitment this week.

Registration for sorority recruitment increased from 605 last winter to 657 this year, said Kirstin Nordhaus, SESP senior and president of the Panhellenic Association. Dominic Greene, director of Fraternity and Sorority Life, said this is the highest number he has seen since he began working at NU in 2006.

According to Nordhaus, the sorority recruitment process, which starts Thursday night and continues until Tuesday night, will not change to accomodate the increase this year.

“It’ll be very similar overall,” Nordhaus said. “We’re definitely looking to have everyone going through recruitment have a positive experience. I don’t think the larger number will decrease the quality.”

Fraternity recruitment, which started Jan. 4, did undergo some changes this year with the addition of preregistration. For the first time, men were able – but not required – to sign up online with a profile. Greene said 375 men were signed up as of Wednesday.

On the first night of recruitment, a record 225 students dropped their bids at fraternities, according to a news release from the Interfraternity Council. It was a 30 percent increase from last year’s first-day tally at 156.

Additionally, Delta Tau Delta will return to campus this year and participate in recruitment, raising the total number of IFC-recognized fraternities at NU to 18. Greene said he hopes the potential new members are happy with the results of recruitment and become contributing members of their new chapters.

“I want the week to go smoothly and have as many people placed where they want to be as possible,” Greene said.

Allie Gullquist, vice president of membership for PHA, said this year fewer women dropped out of registration between preview Nov. 6 and the official start of recruitment than in previous years. She attributes this change to the performance of this year’s recruitment counselors, a committee of temporarily disaffiliated women who are available to potential new members that may be unsure about the process.

“I think it’s generally a lack of information that causes people to drop,” said Gullquist, a Weinberg junior. “It can seem like a very overwhelming and daunting process when you are unaware of exactly what you’re going to be going through.”

Arianne Milhem, a Weinberg freshman who is registered for sorority recruitment, said her recruitment counselor seems friendly and helpful. She said though she is not looking forward to the process, she feels prepared.

“I think it’s a stepping stone to the good part,” Milhem said. “It’s overwhelming. There’s a lot of estrogen. But I think it will be a positive experience overall.”

Fraternity recruitment is programmed individually by chapter and typically includes dinner and an activity nightly. But sorority recruitment is more regimented.

For sororities, the process starts with “set one,” during which women will visit all 12 sorority chapters between Thursday and Friday. For each round, both Potential New Members and sororities put their preferences into a computer system, narrowing down the number of houses that women visit each day until Tuesday, when eligible PNMs receive an official bid from only one sorority.

During the weekend, current chapter members must have their houses and members ready to talk to the large number of women streaming through. Each house will hold “parties” from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Thursday and Friday and noon to 8 p.m. during the weekend, Nordhaus said.

Though there are currently no plans to alter the length or size of these gatherings, PHA and the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life may discuss changes in the future if the numbers continue to increase. For now, PHA members are excited to talk to an increased number of participants, Gullquist said.

“It’s kind of an all-hands-on-deck thing to be able to handle the large numbers of women coming through,” Gullquist said. “Having more women going through the process means that our PHA community is going to be that much bigger and that much greater.”

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