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Living Group, Fraternity Rush Begins Saturday for Class of ’09

By Zachary Ozer

Tomorrow marks the beginning of rush for fraternities and independent living groups, starting with the Greek Griller at 1 p.m. on Killian Court.

“There’s been a change in attitude; it’s different from before,” said Interfraternity Council President Christopher P. Child ‘06. “Fraternities are eager to volunteer to get students acclimatized to school. They want to have a positive impact.”

Fraternity members helped freshmen move into their rooms on Thursday, and assisted with a parent’s lunch earlier in the week.

David N. Rogers, assistant dean and director of fraternities, sororities, and independent living groups, echoed Child’s sentiments. “It has nothing to do with their letters. Fraternities, sororities, and independent living groups are doing what they can to make the freshmen feel it’s not so overwhelming.”

While house members are working to reduce the strain on students, organizers have tried to schedule events to minimize the strain on upperclassmen. “Three years ago, rush began three weeks into the term and lasted two weeks. That’s miserable for upperclassmen,” Child said.

Houses’ numbers recovering

Beginning in the fall of 2002, fraternities were faced with a mounting financial crisis. With all first year students required to live on campus, houses found themselves with diminished income, but with the same operational cost, and Dean for Student Life Larry G. Benedict began offering empty bed reimbursements to houses as a temporary relief measure.

“We have the same number of fraternities as in 2001,” Child said. “There just aren’t enough freshman to pull them up to capacity. We’re trying to get them sustainable.”

“We wouldn’t want to lose any fraternity,” said Rogers. “There will be further funding and subsidies, but with a different angle. It will impact the entire system.”

Some fraternities, however, have recovered successfully. “We’ve been doing a good job for the past couple of years,” said Santiago J. Pikula ‘07, rush chair for the Chi Phi fraternity. “The house is full.”

With numbers of members rising, organizers foresee a calmer atmosphere throughout rush. “It’ll be more relaxing,” Rogers said. “There’s no need to fill beds.”

For the first time since 1996, fraternities will once again use the Clearinghouse system to keep track of freshmen. The system will log when potential pledges enter and exit houses, in order to help ensure that no freshman is monopolized by any single fraternity.

Bids will be given out on Friday, Sept. 9, and freshman may begin pledging the following day. Rush formally ends on Wednesday, Sept. 14.