Northwestern fraternities, sororities begin recruitment amid ongoing Abolish Greek Life movement


Daily file photo by Colin Boyle

Northwestern’s sorority quad. Although the Panhellenic Association cancelled formal sorority recruitment, some chapters are individually recruiting members in the fall.

Ejun Kim, Reporter

After months of contending with the Abolish Greek Life movement, many Northwestern fraternities and sororities plan to continue with recruitment this winter. 

Although NU’s Panhellenic Association voted to cancel formal PHA-sponsored recruitment this academic year, individual chapters are hosting virtual informal recruitment. The Interfraternity Council is also recruiting virtually. Previously, IFC allowed for small in-person events as long as they met University rules and kept contact tracing logs. In a statement to the Daily, IFC President Nick Papandreou said the policy was changed this week to ban all in-person events until future notice. 

According to each chapter’s leadership, Northwestern chapters of Delta Tau Delta, Sigma Nu, Sigma Phi Epsilon and Zeta Beta Tau are officially holding recruitment.  Though other chapters are listed on the IFC interest form, they did not respond to the Daily’s request for a comment on whether they will recruit classes. 

Colin Tichvon, president of Northwestern’s Sigma Nu chapter, explained how the coronavirus pandemic has changed the recruitment process. 

With in-person classes and activities cancelled and underclassmen barred from campus for Fall Quarter, Tichvon said meeting potential members was difficult. After a wave of mass deactivation from the chapter this past year, Sigma Nu is looking to bolster their numbers.

“We just want to make sure this organization we’ve put a lot of effort into and a lot of work into and that we’re dedicated to will continue to grow over the next couple of years,” Tichvon said.

Judd Moss, president of Northwestern’s Zeta Beta Tau chapter, agreed, citing the pandemic and recent deactivations as difficulties in the recruitment process. Moss and Tichvon hope that their fraternities can reform their chapters, acknowledging and implementing critiques from the Abolish Greek Life movement. 

“We do have this new opportunity to change the way campus perceives ZBT,” Moss said. “And I think getting to recruit a certain type of member who shares this vision with us will definitely be helpful in making ZBT a fraternity that isn’t facing all this backlash, but helping these social justice causes.” 

On the other hand, PHA chapters can choose to accept new members through an informal recruitment process called continuous open bidding. While PHA will create a database of students interested in the COB recruitment process, individual chapters are responsible for managing recruitment and contacting interested members.

Ashton Welch, president of Northwestern’s chapter of Alpha Phi, said she prefers the new recruitment process. Moreover, in traditional PHA recruitment, potential new members visited chapters every day, engaging in brief conversations and presentations. The COB process, Welch said, allows members to engage in deeper, “more genuine” conversations with potential new members.  

Welch also said her chapter intends to move away from Alpha Phi International’s recruitment criteria and scorecards. 

“We’re really excited about COB because we get to talk to (potential new members) for 45 minutes one on one, versus five minutes and they’re gone,”  Welch said.

For Northwestern’s Delta Gamma chapter, recruitment is still a possibility. President Soumya Jhaveri said that she is still unsure if Delta Gamma will participate in COB. The decision is contingent on where current members will want to participate.  

Though they expect backlash from the NU community, Greek life leadership remains hopeful for the future of their chapters. 

“I really think that the mindfulness of our members, and just the awareness we all have as Northwestern students, really makes it possible for us to do this,” Tichvon said. “To dedicate ourselves to providing a positive experience for not just our members, but everyone on campus.”

A previous version of this article omitted Sigma Phi Epsilon from the list of fraternities holding recruitment and misstated the Interfraternity Council’s policy on in-person recruitment. It was been updated to include Sigma Phi Epsilon in the list and reflect the policy change. The Daily regrets the error.

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @ejun_kim 

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