About 350 men join fraternities during rush

by Sonia Qin | 10/4/15 8:03pm

Marked by new open house events and the absence of Alpha Delta fraternity, men’s fraternity recruitment concluded this weekend following two nights of shakeouts and deliberations. Overall, Interfraternity Council president Sam Macomber ’16 estimated that 350 men accepted bids.

Twenty-seven men accepted bids at Alpha Chi Alpha, 29 at Beta Alpha Omega, 37 at Chi Heorot, 36 at Sigma Phi Epsilon, 13 at Chi Gamma Epsilon, 30 at Phi Delta Alpha, 35 at Psi Upsilon and 35 at Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternities, according to the president of each fraternity.

With the exception of Chi Gam, all houses — of those who reported numbers — either increased or maintained the number of bids extended from last year.

Representatives of Bones Gate, Gamma Delta Chi, Kappa Kappa Kappa, Sigma Nu, Theta Delta Chi and Zeta Psi fraternities did not respond to requests for comment by press time.

As opposed to the week-long women’s recruitment process, men’s rush only takes place over the course of two evenings, and includes a “shakeout” during each evening. The shakeout occurs near the end of each night, when rushees head to their top choice house and shake the hands of all the brothers in that house to indicate their commitment to the fraternity. The fraternities then hold deliberations and offer bids the same night.

While the overall men’s fraternity rush process has remained largely unchanged for decades, there were some alterations made this year, including the addition of open houses in the week prior to formal recruitment.

“These open houses are meant to lower the threshold of discomfort for potential rushees,” IFC recruitment chair Felipe Jaramillo ’16 said.

Jaramillo said he thinks it is easier for students to visit new houses if they feel like they have an explicit invitation. Before, sophomores were invited to indicate which houses they would be interested in visiting, and then the fraternities extended formal invitations.

The open houses brought “more fresh faces to houses” and “cast a wider net” in terms of potential members, Jaramillo said. He also believes that the open houses helped rushees select a house, which in turn made this year’s rush more organized.

Barry Yang ’18 and Cesar Rufino ’18, who both participated in rush, agreed that the open houses helped ease the rush process.

“They were definitely super helpful because rush can be awkward when you’re trying to make small talk with brothers you already know,” Rufino said.

Yang added that chatting with fraternity members at the open houses and getting to know more about their experiences being Greek benefited him.

“Before, I was on the fence about rushing,” Yang said. “I didn’t really have an idea of what Greek life was about other than the basement scene.”

While Jaramillo said he is unsure whether or not the open house concept has been implemented at other colleges, he believes that the College’s Greek system is unique because rush takes place during sophomore fall, which allows fraternity brothers to form relationships with rushees before the actual rush process. He said, however, that the previous system was not as inclusive as possible.

“That’s what we’re really trying to do — to never force a house to take someone they don’t want to take, and to make sure that people aren’t falling through cracks because they don’t have pre-existing connections or don’t feel comfortable just walking into any house,” he said.

Another difference between this year’s rush and previous years was the absence of AD, which was derecognized by the College in the spring for violating College policies during the previous fall. When asked about the effect of one fraternity’s absence, Jaramillo was hesitant to comment without specific statistical comparison, but he suspects that the class sizes this year are slightly skewed.

“I don’t really know if the houses’ response was to make [rush] more selective or to make the classes bigger, but it seems like the latter did happen,” he said.

Some students found the process to be more laid-back, especially compared to the more formal women’s recruitment process, and said they appreciated the speedier nature of men’s recruitment.

“The whole rush process was just going to the house and talking to brothers and so I was kind of saying the same things over and over again to different people, but it wasn’t very stressful,” Evan Griffith ’18 said.

Not all sophomores found rush as relaxing as Yang and Griffith, however.

Rufino, who accepted a bid at Tri-Kap, said he found it difficult to decide to which fraternity to commit himself. Nonetheless, when he finally did make his choice, Rufino said he was satisfied.

“Personally, I was just looking for a way to solidify my place on campus, and I think Tri-Kap is going to be perfect for that,” he said.

When asked about advice he would give to current first-year men looking to rush next fall, Yang advised freshmen to not start thinking about rush until the spring, adding that there can sometimes be concerns regarding the time investment and paying dues.

Rufino said men considering joining a fraternity should keep an open mind rather than allowing external influences to cloud judgement.

“Ultimately, it’s where you want to be, where you’re most comfortable and where you think you’re going to succeed for the next two and a half years,” he said.

All three sophomores, as well as Jaramillo, agreed that Greek life should not define one’s time at the College, and that enjoying one’s time in Hanover should not be contingent on Greek affiliation.