Student groups, freshmen disappointed by recruitment freeze


Caroline Olsen/The Daily Northwestern

Students browse tables at the activities fair, which was held later this year because of the recruitment freeze. The freeze was intended to reduce the stress freshmen may feel when confronted with hundreds of student groups upon arrival on campus, but reactions have been mixed.

Becca Sanchez, Reporter

Andrew Carlson said he found himself displeased throughout the last two weeks when students asked him about joining his student group, Northwestern University Model United Nations.

“People (were) saying that they’re interested in it, but I can’t give them an application,” the McCormick senior said. “I can’t get an interview spot for them yet because of the freeze, so that was a little inconvenient.”

NUMUN was one of many student groups affected by the new recruitment freeze announced by the University in July to keep new students from being inundated by the extracurricular groups marketing their activities.

The freeze prevented groups from releasing applications and holding formal recruitment events during Wildcat Welcome and the first week of classes. Some groups’ executive members and new students told The Daily they found the rule unnecessary and confusing, and they were unsure of what protocol to follow.

“The rules were very ambiguous,” said Happiness Club co-chair Blake Disiere.

Disiere, a Weinberg junior, said he also did not know how to respond to students who requested information about joining his organization. He added that rules about posting flyers and holding events without auditions were unclear.

Carlson, who serves as chief of staff for NUMUN, agreed.

“Unless everyone was following it exactly the same way, then you’re going to have some kind of bias and unfairness,” Carlson said.

Hope Wallace, assistant director of student organization resources at the Center for Student Involvement, told The Daily in July that the recruitment freeze was implemented to help new students adjust to life at NU.

Although some student group leaders said they understood the freeze was meant to prevent freshmen from feeling overwhelmed, they argued they did not believe it was necessary.

Disiere said the reasoning behind the freeze was sound, similar to the Freshman Freeze for Greek organizations.

“It’s a little different for student organizations, and I don’t think we should have that same precaution taken on us as Greek organizations because their terms of involvement are a little different,” he said.

Weinberg freshman Sofia Montoya said she “didn’t understand the secrecy” that seemed to surround the freeze.

“I understand why it’s put in place for Greek life, (but not for clubs),” she said.

About 10 freshmen interviewed said they would have preferred to have club information upon arriving on campus.

McCormick freshman Amanda Keresztesy said it was overwhelming to think about extracurricular activities after already starting classes. She said she wanted information about student groups before the activities fair and even tried to do research on NU’s clubs to get a better idea of what she was interested in.

“I would have been able to handle it,” she said.

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Twitter: @DanBSanchez