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Sororities and fraternities report less members recruited

Photo by Katelyn Edwards.

Greek life recruitment numbers for both men and women have been declining through the years.

“Nationally, there is a trend where campuses should be expecting a four percent decline in men and women joining organizations,” said Kathleen Prout, assistant director of fraternity and sorority life.

Prout said 204 women signed up at the beginning of PanHellenic recruitment and 166 went through the formal recruitment process and received bids. In 2018, The Scout reported that 257 women signed up for recruitment in 2018 and 276 in 2017.

She also said 140-150 men participated in the Interfraternity Council (IFC) formal recruitment weekend in 2019.

However, IFC has more informal events for men to get to know the fraternities better. Some of those events included go-karting, cookouts and basketball.

According to IFC’s director of fraternity recruitment Owen Mallery, 158 are known be accepting bids, however, final numbers for each chapter are not complete as of Thursday. Sometimes, a student can accept a bid for one chapter but decide later to join a different one.

Students who didn’t want to join said they were concerned over time management, financials and balancing schoolwork.

“We were able to collect more of that information than in previous years to really get a snapshot of why our numbers were the way that they were,” Prout said.

PanHellenic director of sorority recruitment Katherine Mackh said she saw people go through recruitment this year that were unable to afford the cost of Greek life and women who didn’t want to join their first semester.

Typically, the first semester is the most expensive at around $500, but subsequent semesters are around $300 or less, according to Mackh, a senior computer science major. Living in the chapter house can also lessen the cost.

“It’s a very large amount of money that many freshmen are unable to afford when they come to college, which is really unfortunate and I wish it weren’t that way,” Mackh said.

Money and operating costs can be a concern when chapter numbers are lower, but chapters are adapting to filling and running the facilities.

“Most of our chapters are able to function well, regardless of what their overall chapter size is,” Prout said.

However, Mallery, a junior biomedical science pre-med major, said he sees big issues for the future of Greek life as a whole and at Bradley if the numbers continue to decline.

“I worry for some chapters that are struggling with membership because I do know that it can be hard when you’re low in numbers,” Mallery said. “I think those chapters just have to stay focused and stay dedicated to recruitment.”

He said that Greek life must change the way they operate because of the membership decline.

“We have to continue to publicize the positives that we do,” Mallery said. “Otherwise, we will face some pretty hard times as a Greek community, just with low numbers.”

Mackh said the negative perception of Greek life and what people see in the news could also be a contributing factor into the decrease in recruitment numbers.

“My biggest thing is that people should be figuring things out for themselves and not let other people tell them how to think or what to think about,” Mackh said.

Mallery also said the negative stereotypes of Greek life can be a factor in the recent decline.

“Too often we only hear the negative side: drunk, idiotic, hazing stories, instead of the positive sides of raising money for the community, community service hours, scholarship opportunities, study opportunities,” Mallery said. “Also, the opportunities to have a good friend group, bonded by their ritual.”

Mallery said he advised potential members to reach out to their top three chapters and ask questions regarding costs, scholarships and events happening during the pledgeship period.

“Most of the time, the chapters will be very honest with the kids and say, ‘Yeah, there are different things that we make you guys do,’ like study hours or things like that, but nothing’s ever hazing,” Mallery said. “I don’t know of any chapter on this campus that hazes their pledges, but I do know chapters expect their kids to get good grades.”

If interested students didn’t join during formal recruitment this semester, they could join Greek life at any point in their academic career.

One Comment

  1. George Starks George Starks September 15, 2019

    This is a very very good thing. michaelstarks.org

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