PHA, IFC see consistent turnout in bids following recruitment revamps


Sam Schumacher/The Daily Northwestern

Two students embrace outside Technological Institute after receiving bids during Tuesday night’s culmination of Panhellenic Association’s winter recruitment. This year, PHA gave out more than 600 bids, while Interfraternity Council reported 383 dropped bids.

Alice Yin, Managing Editor

Despite the onslaught of subzero windchill, the Panhellenic Association and Interfraternity Council saw about 1,000 students head to the sorority and fraternity quads during the last two weeks for this year’s winter recruitment.

Compared to last year, PHA gave out 14 fewer bids, while IFC bid numbers jumped up by 15, Greek life leaders said. PHA had 609 women register for recruitment — consistent with last year — and offered 459 final bids, said Vice President for Membership Abby Cunningham, a Weinberg senior.

So far, IFC chapters have given out 383 bids, with Zeta Beta Tau taking home the most at 38 dropped bids. All IFC chapters but one participating in winter recruitment wrapped up their process last week; the returning Delta Upsilon chapter remains in the midst of its deferred recruitment process until Friday.

Joe Sauer, IFC’s vice president for recruitment, said IFC’s structural changes in the fall influenced the increase. In previous years, Sauer said fraternities saw Fall Quarter packed with weekly Sunday night dinners for about eight weeks. This past quarter, each IFC chapter scheduled bi-weekly instead of weekly Sunday night dinners, staggering them to allow potential new members to visit different fraternities, the Weinberg senior said.

“It gives (PNMs) a better picture of Greek life,” he said.

Michael Foulkes, president of NU’s Lambda Chi Alpha chapter, said the adjustment benefited both sides of fraternity recruitment.

“It was quite a burden financially for chapters to provide huge meals every day,” the Weinberg junior said. “Brothers were also given some weeks off from recruitment so they have Sunday to themselves.”

This year, IFC bumped up its official recruitment period to begin on Monday instead of Tuesday, Sauer said, adding that it allowed chapters an extra day of recruitment and that most fraternities were prepared to begin the first day.

Foulkes said he presumes the shift was largely an effort to compete with off-campus fraternities, which he said are known to recruit early in the week. IFC declined to comment on the influence of off-campus fraternity presence.

“I’m really thrilled just because so many people participated,” Foulkes said. “Lambda Chi was really thrilled to recruit its largest and most diverse class, and that was our goal.”

This year PHA saw a turnout consistent with previous years, said PHA President KK Doyle. However, the Medill senior said PNMs benefited from a stronger focus on values from PHA.

This quarter’s recruitment process incorporated a revamped Panhellenic Values Assessment designed to prepare women for “openness to vulnerable conversations,” she said. The 17-page guide invited PNMs to fill out multiple exercises exploring identity and was meant to serve as a framework going into recruitment conversations.

“The whole movement is moving away from frills and more towards values-based conversations,” she said. “I think (PNMs) really believed that recruitment conversations could be a two-way street … without feeling anything was taboo.”

Karalyn Berman, the incoming president of Delta Zeta, said that although there was not a drastic shift in atmosphere, the identity workshops from this year’s values assessment proved effective in conversations with PNMs.

“Last year it was a really good discussion that we had before recruitment started,” the Weinberg sophomore said. “And it only got better this year.”

This was also the first recruitment process in which all 12 PHA chapters had an active diversity and inclusion chair, Doyle said. Though the chairs did not actively lead recruitment efforts, she said, their presence elevated the level of conversations during the past few days.

This year, Doyle said she witnessed the most communication between PHA’s executive board and its chapters regarding recruitment, and that the recruitment process is moving toward a more definitive framework for PNMs.

“It’s an imperfect system … but I was really proud of our talented student board and recruitment counselors for really making the most of the process that’s set and making it unique to Northwestern,” she said. “We touched people’s comfort zones and empowered them with meaningful conversations.”

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