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Pledge Counts Stable As Crowds Decrease

By Alex Ianculescu

While early counts cast doubt on the success of rush this year, 312 students pledged fraternities and independent living groups as of Wednesday, a large increase from 231 one week prior.

Nonetheless, this year's pledge count represents a dropoff from previous years. During the last decade, about 365 students pledged off-campus living groups per year, said Philip M. Bernard, program director of residential life. Housing estimates initially used a baseline number of 250 pledges this year for crowding decisions.

Last year, around 340 students pledged fraternities and independent living groups.

Although this year's total did not reach that of previous years, "rush went much better than had been expected," Bernard said.

Dorm crowding decreases

Due to the lower pledge numbers prediction, there was an initial move to preemptively decrowd dormitories. Upwards of 100 spaces were cleared to house undergraduates in Tang Hall, a graduate dormitory. Many graduate students in Tang Hall moved to Worthington Place.

As a result, dormitory crowding has decreased significantly. While the residence system can support up to 166 crowds without using lounges in MacGregor House, there are only "a few more than 100 crowds right now," Bernard said. Last year, about 140 students were crowded at the beginning of the year.

This number is expected to go up as off-campus students move in, however.

While crowding has decreased, it has not been evenly distributed among dormitories, Bernard said. East Campus is currently mostly decrowded, with some freshmen living in singles. On the other hand, several of the lounges in MacGregor remain in use as doubles.

"We feel that [the situation] is unfortunate for freshmen. Usually everyone has a single, but these thirty [residents] are in doubles," said Christina A. Ildebrando '99, president ofMacGregor.

"It is a bit of an inconvenience, but we try to make the best of it,"said Ildebrando. "We did lose a lot of common space." MacGregor has not been crowded since 1993, she added.

As openings for rooms open up, the doubles will be decrowded, Ildebrando said. "I know that every frosh will be in a single"by next year, she said.

Improvements to the housing lottery this year allowed the number of crowds in dorms to vary from a minimum of "totally decrowded" to a maximum of "totally crowded" based on the relative popularity of a given dorm, Bernard said.

EC was initially less crowded since it had relatively few requests compared to the amount of available space in the dormitory.

In the future, Bernard said that the minimum, "totally decrowded" number for East Campus' housing spaces should be raised to prevent the variation from occurring again.

Because EC was not as highly subscribed as MacGregor, the dormitory still has extra space to house students. Bernard said that students both on- and off-campus will likely be moved to these additional spaces.

Unlike EC, only Random Hall, Bexley Hall, and Senior House were expected before the lottery to have a relatively few number of crowds.

Rush goes well for fraternities

Neal H. Dorow, assistant dean for Residence Life and Student Life Programs and adviser to fraternities, sororities, and independent living groups, was "generally pleased that rush went as well as it did" this year.

Less spaces for freshmen within the FSILG system itself may also account for the lower number of pledges this year.

Although the total pledge number is about 50 below the average, two houses, Phi Gamma Delta and Sigma Alpha Epsilon, did not rush this year. In addition to the new freshmen, there is also a resident adviser living in each living group for the first time this year who may take the place of a residing freshmen.

Fraternity house bills have not increased significantly despite the slightly lower pledge numbers, Dorow said.

Most rush chairs were satisfied with the results of this year's rush, and some fraternities even "exceeded their expectations and are very happy with rush," Dorow said.

Jacob Marcus '99, president of Nu Delta, said that "number wise there wasn't any difference" in their pledges this year. Nu Delta received seven pledges this year, and Marcus said he felt that rush "pretty much went the same as it had since I've been here."

A recent pledge of Delta Kappa Epsilon, Bayen Miller '02, said he "had a lot of fun" during rush and is confident he "made the right decision" by choosing to live in a fraternity. Deke received a total of nine pledges this year.