FILGs Recruit 236 Over Weekend
Early Rush Pledging Numbers at Extremes for Most Fraternities, ILGsBy Beckett W. Sterner
After one weekend of bids and pledging at fraternities, pledge numbers appear to be highly irregular, with fraternities having received between zero and twenty pledges.
“I’m pleased with what I’ve seen so far,” said Interfraternity Council Recruitment Chair Joshua S. Yardley ’04. “We knew our numbers are going to take a hit this year, but we are very impressed by the turnout so far.”
So far, a total of 443 bids have been extended and 236 freshmen have pledged. As of Monday evening there were 109 freshmen still to accept or decline their bids.
Yardley added that there are still a large number of bids that may or may not become pledges. “We’re still really excited,” he said.
Numbers fall toward extremes
Based on a sample of five fraternities and one independent living group, members seem to be either quite happy or highly dissatisfied with how rush has been going.
Rush Chair for Delta Tau Delta Chris A. Voekler ’03 said that the brothers are “real happy with how rush has been going. I feel pretty good about things went at our house.” DTD gave out 23 bids over the weekend and as of Monday night had received 19 new pledges.
While the independent living group pika is approaching rush as a year-long process, Rush Chair Sarah R. Gottfried, ’04 said that they were “pretty satisfied” with rush this year. “We had a nice group come over to the house,” she said.
Yardley said that “a handful” of houses, “maybe four or five,” have more than 15 accepted bids.
On the other hand, some fraternities have run into difficulties in getting new pledges. Sigma Phi Epsilon Rush Chair Rupesh R. Kanthan ’04 complained that there “was no urgency this year.” He said he wanted rush to be “the way it used to be,” because “now [the freshmen] meet the guys and like the house, but they don’t have to join.” Sig Ep gave out 15 bids over the weekend but has not yet received any pledges.
In addition, Sigma Nu has had 12 of 13 bids accepted, Delta Upsilon has had 12 of 13 bidees pledge, and Alpha Delta Phi received two pledges out of six bids. Phi Beta Epsilon has received 19 new pledges and expects approximately two or three more. These numbers are not final and are based only on rush up to Monday evening.
Yardley said that the result may have had to do with the changed length of rush. “It was discussed last year ... that there was more time for houses better at this kind of rush to get more and more numbers and not as much time for smaller houses,” he said. “But without talking to all the houses, I can’t be certain that is why it is.”
Chairs analyze new rush
Speaking to the differences between this year’s rush and last year’s, fraternity members cited several reasons, including freshmen no longer needing a place to live and rush happening during the school year. One important source of potential pledges that was cited was the Campus Preview Weekend held for pre-freshmen every year.
Addressing the issue of all freshmen living on campus, Phi Beta Epsilon Rush Chair David R. Schannon ’04 said that last year “we had something major to offer. You couldn’t really get to know everyone [during the shorter rush], but we offered a place to live.” This year had “more to do with social stuff than with housing.”
Beyond not immediately needing a place to live, rush this year also had to compete with the busy lives of freshmen.
“We’re rushing full fledged MIT members” now, said Rush Chair for Sigma Nu Tim R. Kreider ’04, “so we have to compete with schoolwork and sports. The biggest challenge was meeting people,” because those who were uncertain about pledging may never have made the time to explore their options.
Because rush was based on freshmen initiative this year, many fraternities relied on contacts made during Campus Preview Weekend. In early April, potential freshmen for MIT visit the campus for a weekend and are placed in both dormitories and independent living groups for their housing. According to Kreider, four of Sigma Nu’s 12 pledges so far this year were contacts they had made during CPW.
Yardley has also mentioned the timing of Rush coinciding with the first wave of schoolwork and exams as having a detrimental effect on rush. “We certainly want to try and change that for next year,” he said.