Sororities, all but two fraternities decide against spring rush

The majority of the Class of 2023 will have few additional opportunities to rush this year.

by Daniel Modesto | 4/8/21 2:00am

4-7-2021-webster2-nainabhalla
by Naina Bhalla / The Dartmouth

Though Greek houses typically host two rush terms per academic year, sororities and all but two fraternities — Zeta Psi and Kappa Kappa Kappa — have decided to forgo spring rush this year. Instead, some houses have opted to hold pre-rush events, with others opting to participate in continuous open bidding. Gender-inclusive Greek spaces will conduct spring rush, as is typical for their houses. 

Inter-Sorority Council president Molly Katarincic ’22 said the ISC does not typically hold rush in the spring because there are normally two rounds in the fall and winter. This year, both the ISC and IFC held virtual rush just once, in the winter.

Katarincic said that for the typical in-person format, two cycles of rush exist to “accommodate all D-Plans.” Potential new members are also typically required to be on campus and enrolled in classes during rush, though the ISC opted to waive this requirement for this year’s virtual process, according to Katarincic.

While most Greek houses typically do not hold rush in the spring, Katarincic said the ISC initially considered deviating from the practice this year due to the pandemic, but in a unanimous vote ultimately decided against adopting the measure.

Interfraternity council president Danny Gold ’22 said that the IFC’s previous executive board decided to cancel fall rush to allow houses more time to prepare for a virtual rush process in the winter and get to know potential members, with whom they had not had the chance to meet during spring rush events.

Gold added that the previous executive board had already decided to keep spring rush open “as an option” for any houses that were interested, and it was a matter of “just communicating [the decision] to [the] IFC.”

Tri-Kap president Max Pumilia ’22 said that Tri-Kap made the decision to hold spring rush in order to recruit more members. During winter rush, the house added six new members, down from 24 last year.

Pumilia added that Tri-Kap’s spring shakeout — traditionally, the night where students indicate their preferred fraternity by shaking hands with each member of the house — will still be held virtually and follow the same procedure as winter term. Students will participate by filling out a form sent by the IFC to eligible students the night of shakeout.

Although sororities will forgo spring rush, some will participate in continuous open bidding, a process allowing students to join a sorority outside of the traditional timeline. According to Katarincic, COB is an option available to chapters who are under the median number of members on campus. While four chapters qualify for COB, only two — Epsilon Kappa Theta and Kappa Delta — have expressed interest in pursuing the option.

EKT President Laurel Semprebon ’22 said that normally, formal rush consists of three rounds in which prospective members visit every sorority house, and culminates in preference night, when rushees rank houses in order of preference and sororities make their final decisions. COB allows students to bypass this process by visiting specific houses, with each house then deciding whether to extend a bid to a potential member.

She said that last spring, EKT held game nights over Zoom for the house’s COB events and will most likely do the same this spring.

Gender-inclusive Greek houses — Alpha Theta, Phi Tau and Tabard — will be holding rush this term. Vice president of the Gender-Inclusive Greek Council Mara Kotz ’22 said that the three houses typically hold rush every term, noting that they are “always looking to have new members.”

GIGC president Tanvir Islam ’22 said that while the three houses conduct rush differently, all houses will partake in a virtual Q&A session hosted by the GIGC for prospective members. Kotz added that Phi Tau conducts a rolling rush, where prospective members can express their intention anytime during the term, as opposed to one set rush date.

Kotz, who is also president of Alpha Theta, said that Alpha Theta and Tabard will hold interest events, such as game nights, before their formal rush dates. On those days, prospective members can join a Zoom meeting and express their intention to be considered for a bid. Decisions will be released a week later.

Both Islam and Kotz clarified that the interest events were open to ’24s, even though they can’t rush this term.

“We're always excited to meet new people, even if they're not interested in the house,” Kotz said. “We always want to meet new people and just be an alternative to mainstream Greek life on campus.”

Both the IFC and ISC are planning pre-rush events. According to Gold, the IFC is considering hosting an information session for ’24s about the rush process to answer potential members’ general questions about fraternities.

Katarincic said that the ISC will hold pre-rush events for ’23s and ’24s this spring and summer, in line with an ISC requirement that sororities hold these events.

Semprebon added that while EKT’s itinerary for pre-rush events has not been finalized, the house’s events will be geared towards ’23s and ’24s who are interested in the house or have questions about the Greek system. She noted that “there's a lot of confusion about what it means to be a member of a sorority or fraternity in this virtual environment.”

Ana Noriega ’24, who expressed an interest in joining a sorority next fall, said that she appreciated the chance to learn more about the rush process through pre-rush events.

“[Pre-rush activities] give people the opportunity to get to know members, and give them time before making the decision to join,” she said.

Correction appended (April 8, 2021): A previous version of this article omitted discussion of gender-inclusive Greek spaces. It has been updated to include information about their rush process. 

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