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After Rush, 117 Join Sororities

By Beckett W. Sterner


After a somewhat rough transition following the end of fall Rush in 2002, sorority recruitment has seen an improvement in 2004 and 2005.

This year was about on par with last year, said Robin Davis ’05, who was the Panhellenic Vice President of Recruitment until the new Panhel officers were instated on Jan. 31.

In total, 194 women registered for recruitment this year. Of the 121 bids extended, 117 were accepted, wrote Panhel President Nikki Pfarr ’06, who was the Assistant Vice President of Recruitment until Jan. 31. Panhel has declined to release specific numbers for each sorority.

“I think all of the chapters are pleased with how recruitment went,” Davis said. She said that the majority of those who had registered but did not receive bids simply had not shown up for recruitment, and that very few were women who had actually completed the process.

Despite the interference of a blizzard that forced them to cancel recruitment’s opening information night, this year’s numbers were on par with last year’s, primarily due to a “higher retention rate throughout the semester,” Pfarr said. Women could register for recruitment starting in the early fall, and the biggest spike in registration occurred around Thanksgiving.

Spring recruitment under study

Davis said that this year’s recruitment ended a three-year evaluation period, and that she would chair a committee to study the pros and cons of fall versus spring recruitment.

After MIT started the freshmen on campus policy in 2002, fraternity and sorority rush both moved from orientation to other times of the year. Unlike fraternity rush, which has seen a drop in numbers of about 25 percent, sorority rush numbers have remained about the same since the scheduling change, Pfarr said.

Some of the recruitment rules that Panhel follows are designated by the National Panhellenic Conference, including the requirements that recruitment lasts one week and that participants see all the sororities.

In terms of scheduling, however, the council only requires that there be either a fall or spring recruitment, each of which has different consequences at MIT.

Spring recruitment is more difficult for the Pi Rho Chis, counselors for potential pledges, who must disaffiliate until the end of recruitment. Holding recruitment at the end of the Independent Activities Period means they must disaffiliate for all of the preceding fall term, rather than just a week as would be required by recruitment during orientation.

Alternatively, holding recruitment during IAP allows for all-day events, which would be difficult if recruitment overlapped with fraternity rush or orientation.

Davis said that the report, which is due at the end of spring term, does not have a clear direction yet and will seek to include a variety of perspectives from freshmen to Panhel officers.

This year will mark the graduation of the last class to experience fall Rush before the freshmen on campus policy, when freshmen chose among living in a fraternity, sorority, independent living group, or dormitory during an intense few days after arriving on campus.