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Despite Strong Rush, Frosh Crowd Dorms

By Jeffrey Greenbaum

STAFF REPORTER

Despite a successful rush by fraternities, sororities, and independent living groups, the on-campus residence system has been overcrowded by the incoming freshman class.

Baker, Macgregor, and New House have more beds than past years, while most other dormitories are crowded to their maximum capacities. In these situations, Baker freshmen are living in quints, Macgregor freshmen in doubles, and New House doubles have become triples and quads for freshmen and upperclassmen.

Although the freshman class is larger than last year’s freshmen class, the number entering into FSILG houses exceeds many prior rushes. In fact, some groups filled their houses to maximum capacities.

“Most of the rush chairs are very happy with their numbers,” said Interfraternity Council Rush Chair Joanne Chang ’03.

Dormitories crowded beyond capacity

Upon seeing that this year’s freshmen class exceeded that of last year, Denise A. Vallay, Manager of Undergraduate, Summer, and Guest Housing Assignments for the Office of Residential Life and Student Life Programs, informed the housing chairs of each dorm that they should expect a large number of crowds. This year’s freshmen class is approximately 1,040 students.

Vallay also said that the increase in nonresidential pledges and the lack of dormitory space for the freshmen exacerbated the situation.

Finally, the addition of Residential Life Associates into dormitories has taken away a few underclassman beds in each of McCormick, Burton Conner, and Next House.

“[Crowding] is not conducive to a good living and learning situation,” Vallay said. Vallay is currently attempting to decrowd students in unlivable situations by first seeing which people have declined their living spots on campus.

Dormitories dealing with crowding

Baker, MacGregor, and New House responded to Vallay’s request to find space for freshmen.

Baker House Manager John F. Nolan determined that eight of its crowded freshmen quads could become crowded freshmen quints. Due to the number of males and females in Baker, “a larger percentage of girls were crowded,” said Baker rooming chair Eric Hsieh ’02.

“We had no idea that a quint was a possibility,” said Baker resident Smitha Singh ’05. Singh entered in-house rush with three other girls, expecting to receive a quad. Although her rooming situation is “not as bad as we thought it would be,” she said that “in retrospect, we would not have entered the in-house lottery as a group of four.”

In New House, only the non-cultural houses experienced crowding. Freshmen ended up living in eight of its larger doubles as crowded quads. Twenty-one doubles have been crowded into triples, in which a freshman has often been assigned to a room with two sophomores.

Although New House upperclassmen told freshmen that they might be crowded into quads during New House rush, upperclassmen were surprised to be placed into uncomfortable housing situations.

Ivy S. Morgan ’05 stapled with two other freshmen and discovered that she was placed into a quad the day after in-house rush.

In Macgregor, however, freshmen are not unpleased with their uncomfortable situations. Every lounge in the tower suites, from floors four to fifteen, have been turned into freshmen doubles. Freshmen found out that they were going to be placed into these doubles on move-in date but were allowed to select a roommate if placed into a double.

Angelica M. Osorno ’05 and her roommate requested a double. “I selected MacGregor as its first choice for the people and its facilities,” Osorno said.

Nonetheless, some freshmen selected MacGregor for its singles, and were not initially excited about their doubles. “I was not keen on the idea of a double,” said Vincent Chen ’05.

MacGregor has a list for de-crowding each of its doubles. Bexley and Random Hall are the only dormitories not crowded to their maximum capacities.

FSILG pledging increases

Several FSILGs such as Delta Kappa Epsilon and Alpha Tau Omega filled their houses to maximum capacities this rush. Others, like Women’s Independent Living Group, are short of their maximum capacity by a small amount. In fact, a few fraternities are even crowded due to their successful rush.

Marissa Raymond ’03, WILG’s Rush Chair, “saw a lot more stamina this year ... It was our last year so people went all out.”

Finally, each sorority received a pledge class that exceeded its pledge class from last year. “Sorority rush was successful because girls were more aggressive but in a good way,” Chang said.

Alpha Chi Omega Assistant Recruitment Chair Vida U. Ha ’02 attributes her successful rush of 33 pledges to her sorority’s enthusiasm and the Panhellenic Association’s organization. “Panhel’s executive board really encouraged girls to come to rush ... and our Rho Chi’s were well trained,” she said.

Increase in nonresidential pledges

Fraternities accepted a greater number of nonresidential members during this year’s rush. “More and more houses are starting to realize that their community is not restricted to the building,” Chang said.

Delta Kappa Epsilon, for example, had room for 11 new members but received 12 new members. “We will take people based on whether we think that they will fit in the house. We do not look at numbers at all,” said DKE Rush Chair Nicholas A. Nielsen ’03.

Nielsen consequently explained to DKE’s 12 new members that one would have to live in a dormitory, and one new member volunteered.

Other freshmen chose to pledge to an FSILG but to live in a dormitory.

Sigma Phi Epsilon pledge, Brian J. Mullins ’05, anticipated living in a dormitory but went to rush activities for fun. Mullins eventually received a four-year bid from Sig Ep.

“They did not put any pressure on me to live in the house,” said Mullins. After speaking with his parents, he decided to live in his dormitory assignment for his first semester.

Raymond noticed a common trend of parental concern during WILG rush. “We were able to address most of their concerns by giving parents a house tour,” she said.

Epsilon Theta Rush Chair Emily M. Marcus ’02 noticed that although “the freshmen this year came in with a pretty good attitude ... a few people who wanted to move in [to the house] had parental concerns.”

“More and more parents are coming to us [IFC] with questions,” Chang said. Because she feels that freshmen rely on their parents for support, more freshmen hesitate to move into an FSILG.

Recruitment 2002

Chang feels that FSILGs need to do some serious planning for Recruitment 2002.

“I think that we are in a very good position,” said Delta Tau Delta Rush Chair Derrick C. Chan ’02. DTD’s house is now slightly crowded due this year’s rush, and will be graduating a small senior class.

Nielsen is not concerned about next year. “I don’t think that our house puts on any acts during rush. That makes our house very strong, because if [a new member] fits in during rush, then they will fit in during the school year.”

“I think that we’ll do fine next year,” Marcus said. Epsilon Theta has held many spring rushes in which Marcus felt that ET was successful.

Rush Rules

Although Chang and many of the FSILG rush chairs anticipated an extremely dirty rush, Chang was generally pleased with the adherence to the rush rules. Most violations were either dropped or resulted in a warning or a monetary fine. “We tried to prepare ahead of time to make sure that it would be clean,” Chang said.

Due to a comment made before rush, DKE was not allowed to enter the Residence Midway until 30-minutes into the event.

The IFC Judicial Committee closed Chi Phi’s rush desk Tuesday night after a series of rush violations that included problems with returning freshmen late from jaunts and wake-up times for freshmen.

On Monday, a group of IFC executive committee members will serve on a panel to decide Chi Phi’s final rush sanction.

“I don’t think that at any point a rush should be shut down,” Chan said. Two years ago, the IFC shut down DTD’s rush. Chan believes that the rules are a little too strict and that those who follow the rules are even at a slight disadvantage.