Fall rush numbers for men dropped this year, falling to 498 from 553 members last year. The economy was the main reason for this drop, although certain other factors also pointed to this decline.
Buck Cooke, the Director of Greek Affairs said, “With people having fewer scholarships, student loans, and parents loosing their jobs, this recession has affected campus life in general, particularly the Greek recruitment process.”
Another reason for the drop in recruitment numbers can be attributed to the rise in number of students waiting until the spring semester or longer to join a Greek organization. Over the years, spring recruitment numbers have been steadily increasing, with over a 100 students joining a Greek organization last fall. Currently, 28 of the 31 Inter-Fraternity Council member organizations participate in spring rush.
The rush numbers for multi-cultural organizations nearly doubled this year, as students looking for an alternative option explored all opportunities. Over the long term, these organizations are generally cheaper when compared with IFC and Collegiate Pan-Hellenic Council (CPC) organizations.
“When you compare the cost of participating in Greek life over several years, it is actually cheaper be in a Greek organization,” said IFC president Andrew deRussy,.
Another reason for the drop in rush numbers could be due to the lack of competitiveness of the mens’ GPA when compared with non-Greeks.
“We recognize that the IFC men’s GPA is not as competitive as it once was and we realize that is hurting us, but we’re taking steps to address that,” said deRussy.
One of the plans proposed by IFC to boost scholarship is to issue a best practices manual with tips from different chapters to Greek organizations to help them achieve their scholastic goals.
Interestingly, the number of women attending recruitment and receiving membership this year increased.
“The number of women joining a Greek organization is up this year, but we’ve got to remember that the Freshman class has grown and that the proportion of women has grown as well,” Cooke said.
With a growing number of women interested in Greek life Tech added a new sorority last year, 20 years after the previous sorority was added. Within the next two to three years, plans are in place to welcome another sorority to campus.
Greek Affairs is working with the administration to create more space for Greek organizations on campus.
“Currently, that is not part of the campus master plan, but we’re working on that. The Greek area planning committee will meet throughout the semester to see what is feasible,” said Cooke.
One of the things that Greek Affairs is doing to boost recruitment is to send out surveys to new members and determine what advertising tactics are most useful. They also plan to host focus groups with non-Greek students organizations for suggestions.
IFC has also initiated fraternity rush tours that allow students to explore Greek life in a group setting.