Gender-inclusive fraternities offer bids

by Paulomi Rao | 10/11/15 6:41pm

Following its elimination of dues earlier this term, Phi Tau gender-inclusive fraternity saw a slight increase in number of bids offered. Overall, 32 students were offered bids at coed Greek houses this year, officers of Phi Tau, Alpha Theta and the Tabard gender-inclusive fraternities said.

Unlike fraternity and sorority recruitment, there is no standardized rush process for the members of the Gender-Inclusive Greek Council. At press time, it was not clear how many of the 32 students who had received bids would join the three houses.

Although the “Moving Dartmouth Forward” policy changes affected many Greek organizations, the culture at GIGC houses remained largely unchanged, Phi Tau president Justin Halloran ’16 said. The GIGC recruitment process remained fairly consistent, and some houses increased the number of bids they offered.

At Phi Tau, seven people were offered a bid; at Alpha Theta, 15 people received bids and at Tabard 10 people received bids.

Phi Tau saw an increase in bids offered after seven new members joined in the entirety of the 2014-2015 academic year, Halloran said. The Tabard saw a decrease in the number of bids offered, extending 12 fewer than the previous year, co-president Daniela Pelaez ’16 said. Alpha Theta extended 14 bids last year — one fewer than this fall — and 12 were accepted, Alpha Theta president Noah Cramer ’16 said.

Cramer said that Alpha Theta expects to have six of the 15 offered bids accepted this term, with several more anticipated acceptances in the following term.

Phi Tau — which abolished all dues last month and will fund its activities through rents collected from people living in its house — has an ongoing recruitment process throughout the year, an idea that Halloran said most members find rewarding and welcoming in comparison to more formal rush processes at other houses.

To begin the process, each potential new member attends rush meetings where they are able to meet current members. After the members deliberate whether the potential member is a good fit for the house, many of the rushees receive bids, all which are valid until graduation, Halloran said.

Anyone who chooses to accept a bid must “bid back” to the house, usually through a scavenger hunt or video game competition that requires current members to find the bid hidden by the new member in the house, Halloran said.

“The rise in members is because we don’t have dues anymore,” he said. “What we have is something that is straightforward and appealing.”

Phi Tau’s non-discrimination clauses and open events like Milque and Cookies help to break down barriers between the house and other students, Halloran said.

“The house is a great way to meet people and get social support, all which is very rewarding,” he said.

Phi Tau’s values of community make it accessible to members and other students alike, Phi Tau member Ethan Klein ’16 said.

“My Dartmouth experience has been a lot richer for being here,” Klein said. “I feel like I have a home to go back to.”

Alpha Theta hosted open rush events on Tuesdays and Thursdays concurrently with Interfraternity Council and Panhellenic Council rush week, Cramer said. These events are hosted once per term, rather than just in the fall and winter, he said.

Potential new members at Alpha Theta are given the opportunity to spend time with members and eat a meal at the house during the events, he said. During the events, potential rushees get to know current members through storytelling focused on the chapter’s history, Cramer said.

Later that night, they find out whether they received a bid, The offer is valid for the following four terms, he said.

Alpha Theta is proud of the open space the house provides for a diverse group of people, Cramer said.

“With a nurturing community, Alpha Theta is a special place that is very strong and close, combining different people from different places to have a good time — it is this concept that is special to the house,” Cramer said.

Openness and community are also core values of the Tabard, Palaez said. The Tabard extends invitations of membership to all students who wish to join the house, she said.

“We hope to follow a similar spirit of ‘The Canterbury Tales’ and do so in events like lingerie,” she said. “It is the idea of no deliberations and bids that make us pretty laid back and a place where we can meet people with different backgrounds and minorities.”

The Tabard is named after an inn featured in Geoffrey Chaucer’s “The Canterbury Tales.”

In winter 2015 — the last term for which numbers are available — Alpha Theta had 42 members, Phi Tau had 21 and the Tabard had 58, according to the Greek Letter Organizations and Societies website.

GIGC houses have seen an increase in membership last year, increasing from a total of 106 in fall 2014 to 121 in winter 2015, according to GLOS.

Klein said he thinks the growth is a reflection of more diverse students looking for open communities to become involved in and many not finding it in a single-gender system.

“I was definitely not a person who was looking to be involved in Greek life, but I’ve realized people shouldn’t completely overlook Greek life,” he said. “I almost did but I’m happy I found a house that really fits. It has dramatically changed my Dartmouth experience.”