NU pre-professional fraternities, clubs reform recruitment practices in response to Abolish Greek Life movement

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Daily file photo by Caroline Olsen

Students visit tables at a club fair. This year, many organizations are adjusting their recruitment processes to be more inclusive.

Emily Sakai, Assistant Campus Editor

As Panhellenic Association and Interfraternity Council chapters face criticism for their exclusive recruitment practices, other organizations on campus are moving to reform their own recruitment practices in an effort to be more inclusive.

Northwestern’s chapter of co-ed business fraternity Alpha Kappa Psi, had conversations around abolition this summer but ultimately favored reform, said Hajin Jang, the chapter president. The Weinberg senior said pre-professional aspects of AKPsi make it distinct from social fraternities.

“At the end of the day, we’re all about helping underclassmen going into business,” Jang said. “Most of us thought that it’s best for Northwestern and the Northwestern business community if we stay and keep trying to do what we’re doing.”

AKPsi has been emphasizing diversity and inclusion in the recruitment and pledge processes this year. They have been implementing mentorship programs and bias training, Jang said, to help members of marginalized communities feel more comfortable in the chapter.

The fraternity also hosted an information session this year specifically for women, where women in AKPsi spoke about their experiences and prospective members could ask questions, Lauren Risenhoover, a Weinberg sophomore and member of AKPsi, said.

This year, Risenhoover said, AKPsi’s pledge class is split 50-50 between men and women, when in previous years there have been slightly more men than women.

“AKPsi is a really valuable resource that has allowed me to meet a lot of other women who want to go into business and learn a lot about different fields,” Risenhoover said. “Although we definitely recognize the necessity to reform the system, overall, there are benefits that could potentially come from AKPsi in terms of allowing access to opportunities.”

Phi Alpha Delta, a co-ed fraternity focused on law, changed their recruitment this year by completely eliminating interviews from the process. Daniel Rodriguez, a SESP junior and PAD’s marketing chair, said the group is recruiting anyone interested and wants PAD to be a community “where everyone is welcome.”

“We want to be accessible to everyone. Interview applications are already inherently intimidating for some students,” Rodriguez said. “Opening it up by not having such a rigorous process really helps students be able to approach us easier.”

Organizational changes have not been exclusive to pre-professional fraternities. Northwestern’s Chinese Students Association has made major changes to its recruitment process as well.

In order to join in the past, Isabell Liu, Weinberg junior and CSA’s cultural chair, said the organization required a more serious application process and interview. They still have these components, Liu said, but they are more casual and more focused on matching new members with a mentor.

Liu said she was uncomfortable with the organization’s exclusionary system.

“I personally did not realize the parallel between the harm that is caused by the exclusionary practices of Greek life and CSA,” Liu said. “I’m not saying that they are the same thing. But there are definitely some parallels in terms of our application process, and more importantly, just how people felt after walking out of CSA.”

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