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Fraternity spring recruitment drops by a quarter

Grace Hromin | Senior Photo Editor
Townhouses line F Street on Fraternity Row.

Interfraternity Council spring recruitment numbers dropped by a quarter this spring compared to last year, a dip some fraternity leaders attributed to a shift away from Greek life on campus.

Assistant Dean of Student Life Brian Joyce said 144 students participated in spring IFC recruitment this year, with 84 students who accepted spots in fraternities out of 129 extended bids from fraternities this spring. The numbers mark a 27.5 percent decline in accepted bids compared to the 116 last spring, which IFC and chapter leaders said aligns with a drift from participation in fraternities and sororities at GW and nationwide.

“In an effort to increase recruitment numbers in the future, IFC is planning to bolster programming to create more visibility for potential new members and to showcase the values of the FSL community,” Joyce said in an email.

Joyce said Delta Tau Delta extended 25 bids and accepted 20 new members, Kappa Sigma extended 20 bids and accepted 19 new members, Sigma Chi extended 20 bids and accepted 12 members, and Zeta Beta Tau extended 21 bids and accepted 11 members. Tau Kappa Epsilon added seven members and extended 11 bids; Beta Theta Pi added five members and extended 14 bids; Alpha Epsilon Pi added five members from six bids; Sigma Alpha Epsilon added four members from six bids; and Alpha Sigma Phi did not take on any new members after extending one bid, Joyce said.

An Ngo | Graphics Editor

IFC Vice President and senior William McClendon said despite “initial concern” due to low registration for spring recruitment, larger IFC chapters welcomed between 15 and 22 new members, which he said is on par with previous years.

Fewer people signed up for recruitment because the number of people who registered for fall recruitment more than doubled compared to last year, McClendon said. There were 53 students who accepted bids from fraternities in the fall of 2023, compared to 22 who accepted bids in the fall of 2022 and 77 students who accepted bids in the spring of 2022.

“We think it was just a stabilizing effect that happened there with an increased number of signups in the fall, there was a decrease in signups in the spring,” McClendon said.

McClendon said IFC executive board members voted in the fall to change e-board position terms from turning over on the calendar year in December to the academic year when positions would turn over in May. He said IFC leaders made the adjustment to allow outgoing leaders to have the summer to prepare incoming board members for the recruitment cycle instead of three weeks at the beginning of the spring semester. The change will also allow seniors to hold e-board positions.

“Our largest recruiting class is in the spring, and we wanted our next board to be a little bit more prepared coming into the spring, instead of only so instead of only having three weeks to transition they have the whole summer to transition,” McClendon said.

He said IFC leaders are talking with Fraternity and Sorority Life leaders and chapter members about the benefit of condensing recruitment from the current two-week process into one in the future.

“It was all in the hopes of just making it more accessible to as many people as possible on campus, and then also just allowing for a greater reach,” McClendon said.

Alec Shafran, a sophomore and president of Beta Theta Pi, said this semester’s recruitment was “not the best” for Beta Theta Pi, but the chapter had success recruiting more members during the open bidding period after recruitment, which allows chapters to informally extend bids to students. Shafran said this semester’s lower numbers parallel a larger culture and perspective shift among men who feel there is “connotation” that the people in fraternities are “douchey,” “shallow” and only focused on the partying aspect of Greek life, which deters people from joining.

Shafran said IFC leaders should give students a chance to view the holistic benefits of Greek life, like involvement in philanthropy events and intramural sports, instead of angling recruitment toward each chapter’s individual chapter values.

“It’s not as much of a wake-up call as it is proof in the fact that things are changing,” Shafran said. “The attitude toward Greek life is changing, and we have to adjust accordingly.”

Abolish Greek Life — a national movement to end predominantly white fraternities and sororities — has caused many universities in the U.S. to rethink the structure of Greek life and led many members of fraternities and sororities to leave their chapters. Abolish Greek Life at GW, an Instagram account with more than 1,000 followers, became active in November 2020 and posts reports of alleged instances of racism, hazing and sexual assault in fraternities and sororities on campus to encourage the elimination of Greek organizations.

Junior Chris Coulter, the president of Sigma Chi, said the chapter’s 15 new members is a smaller class than the ones the chapter has brought on in the past but he is excited about the energy the new recruits brings to the fraternity. Sigma Chi spent a year on probation between April 2022 and May 2023 after officials found the chapter responsible for hosting an unregistered event with alcohol present and found hazing in their new member education process.

Coulter said he believes the decline in potential new member registration points to a growing distance from Greek life at the University and other college campuses.

“Ultimately, what it comes down to is a changing tide on GW’s campus where it’s kind of a transition away from Greek life,” Coulter said. “Nationally, you’ll see pretty comparable numbers and comparable decline.”

Connor Wolosewicz, a sophomore and the director of recruitment for Delta Tau Delta, said recruitment was a “smooth process” despite feeling anxious over low registration. He said greater contact and messaging this spring with potential new members were key to helping the chapter secure a number of recruits on par with past years.

“I knew that there were so many people who wanted to talk to the [potential new members], so I tried to do the best job that I could at communicating when all the events are, where all the events were and how interested we were in them,” Wolosewicz said.

Wolosewicz said this year’s recruitment process didn’t include more casual yearly events that FSL has hosted in previous semesters like “Meet the Greeks,” which may have contributed to lower turnout.

“I wish that they had done a Meet the Greeks like I had because for my pledge process, there was just a low-key Meet the Greeks day in the Student Center where I could see all the chapters at first glance to kind of get an idea of them,” Wolosewicz 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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