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The GW Hatchet

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Crime log: Subject barred after shoplifting at bookstore
By Max Porter, Contributing News Editor • February 26, 2024

IFC fall recruitment doubles after plummeting last year

Interfraternity+Council+townhouses+line+22nd+Street.
Skylar Epstein | Staff Photographer
Interfraternity Council townhouses line 22nd Street.

Recruitment numbers for fraternities in the Interfraternity Council more than doubled this fall after a steep drop last year following the re-establishment of a 12 credit-hour requirement for fall recruitment participation.

Fifty-three students accepted bids from eight of 10 IFC fraternities this fall, a jump from the 22 students last year. Brian Joyce, the assistant dean of student life, attributed the rise to a return to pre-pandemic engagement after participation declined during COVID-19.

Joyce said 98 students registered for the recruitment process and 64 received bids this fall.

IFC recruitment numbers plummeted from 121 accepted bids in the fall of 2021 to just 22 last fall. Fraternity leaders said numbers decreased after officials reinstated a 12-credit minimum for students to register for recruitment — ruling out first-year students’ ability to rush in the fall as Advanced Placement credits do not count toward the minimum — after first dropping the requirement in October 2021 to help fraternities get their membership back up during the pandemic.

An Ngo | Graphics Editor

During formal recruitment in the spring, numbers inched toward pre-pandemic levels with 116 students who accepted bids. Seventy-seven students accepted bids the year prior during formal spring recruitment.

Joyce said Tau Kappa Epsilon recruited the most members this fall with 10. Beta Theta Pi and Sigma Chi each added nine new members, Delta Tau Delta and Kappa Sigma added seven new members, Alpha Epsilon Pi added five new members, and Sigma Alpha Epsilon and Zeta Beta Tau added three new members.

Phi Gamma Delta and Alpha Sigma Phi did not take on any new members during the fall recruitment period, Joyce said.

Senior and IFC President Jack Palaian said fall recruitment allows sophomores who did not go through formal recruitment in the spring and transfer students the chance to join a chapter.

He said he was excited to see fall recruitment numbers more than double this year. He said he turned away first-years who signed up for fall recruitment because of the 12-credit requirement, which makes him hopeful that numbers will rise for the spring recruitment cycle as well.

“What my Council has been trying to do is really just do larger community involvement and get our name out there, promote our chapters and what they’re doing,” Palaian said.

Palaian said officials dropped the 12-credit policy in October 2021 to help bolster fraternity membership after it took a hit during the pandemic. He said the policy gives first-year students time to learn life lessons in their first semester of college without the stress of starting college during recruitment and pledging.

“Your first semester can be very chaotic, and we don’t want to get involved in that chaos or add to that chaos in that sense,” Palaian said.

Palaian said smaller and new chapters often have a harder time recruiting members because they have not yet established a presence on campus, which may explain why Phi Gamma Delta and Alpha Sigma Phi — two of the smallest chapters on campus — did not recruit new members this fall. Phi Gamma Delta, the newest IFC chapter on campus, is working to earn its charter, for which the chapter needs a certain number of members.

“When you’re a small chapter, it can be a lot harder to recruit,” Palaian said. “You have a lot less people to meet and it can be a little more intimidating for a [potential new member] to go into a chapter that you’re gonna have to put in a lot to get what you want out of it.”

William McClendon, a senior and the executive vice president of the IFC, said he attributes the recruitment growth this fall to increased marketing IFC efforts. He said the IFC implemented a 10-week series of “brother highlights” over the summer where each fraternity chose one member to highlight for their internship or community service work on Instagram. He said the highlights were an effort to expand the IFC’s social media presence, which bolstered participation this year.

“We’ve made a conscious effort to be at events or have events that are more centered toward the student body to get our name out there and to show that we have a foothold within student life so that students are more comfortable coming out to recruitment,” McClendon said.

Officials placed Sigma Chi on disciplinary and social probation in April 2022 after GW found the fraternity responsible for hosting an event with alcohol present at an unregistered event and for hazing in their new member education process. This recruitment cycle was the first time Sigma Chi has recruited off probation in a year and a half as both the disciplinary and social probation ended in May 2023, according to the Division for Student Affairs’ list of student organizations with conduct violations.

While Chris Coulter, a junior and the president of Sigma Chi, said taking on new members while under probation felt like recruiting with “one arm tied behind our back,” he said the chapter was able to maintain regular recruitment levels despite the restrictions of probation. Student organizations cannot host events with alcohol present while under social probation, Joyce said in November 2022.

“Regardless of whatever social probations we were on, I think it’s the values and what we present, what we provide to the campus culture that speaks louder than whatever social inhibitions that we might have been put on,” Coulter said.

Coulter said he was pleased with the nine new members the chapter brought on during recruitment this year. He said the new member class is diverse in its majors and aspirations, which he hopes will spark new interests for other members in the chapter.

“Having that diversity of thought is what keeps us thinking ‘How can we be the best person we can be?’ and it brings on alternative opinions and perspectives that you never would have thought about because people are coming from different backgrounds,” Coulter said.

Abe Rothstein, a junior and the president of Delta Tau Delta, said he was happy with the number of new members the chapter was able to recruit but are continuing open bidding to take on even more members.

Rothstein said he is pushing for the chapter to make a larger impact outside of GW after “abruptly” stepping into the presidency this summer, including by helping the Rock Creek Conservancy pick up trash and remove invasive weed species from the park. He said he hopes the chapter will be able to accomplish these goals with the help of their new member class.

“We were able to get a really good group of people that we thought we would mesh really well with and we think could help add a lot to our goals, our outreach in Greek Life here at GW and also just the general community as well,” Rothstein said.

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About the Contributor
Fiona Bork, Assistant News Editor
Fiona Bork is a sophomore majoring in journalism and mass communication from San Diego, California. She is The Hatchet's 2023-2024 assistant news editor for the Student Life beat.
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