USD’s social fraternities are transitioning into a more individualized recruitment process, phasing out a formal recruitment week, Greek life coordinator Andrew Davis, said.
The changes are part of a national trend that encourages chapters to seek out new members year-round, rather than choose from the pool of recruitment candidates that visit houses during a single open-house week.
The Interfraternity Council extended recruit visitation hours from 9 p.m. to 10 p.m. this year and will no longer require recruits to visit three houses before accepting a bid, Davis said.
Moving away from a formal recruitment week will require members to leave their houses to recruit, Davis said. The North-American Interfraternity Conference has decided that open recruitment is more beneficial to chapters, and the IFC decided that the same was true at USD, Davis said.
“The idea is, you get more members - and more better members - by actively seeking out members that you want to be a part of your chapter, rather than waiting to see who shows up and wants to be on their own,” he said.
In the past, recruitment has been a sort of “crutch” for Pi Kappa Alpha to gather new members, said Paul Rann, Pi Kappa Alpha recruitment chair. But Pi Kappa Alpha has always based recruitment on friendships, Rann said, which is where the open process will lead them further.
Fraternities are encouraged to participate in student organization recruitment events sponsored by student services, Davis said. Chapters chose to visit with incoming freshmen at the Coyote Fair Aug. 31 before the bidding process began at 9 a.m. on Sept. 1.
Though a recruitment week for social fraternities has not been officially sponsored by the university since 2006, chapters will still have open house events during the fall if they choose, Davis said. Extended hours and decreased visitation requirements are hoped to make recruitment easier for interested students, he said.
“With the open-style recruitment, it’s more just finding the right place for you,” Rann said, though Pi Kappa Alpha will still encourage potential members to visit other chapters before accepting a bid.
Zach Barnhardt, recruitment chair for Tau Kappa Epsilon, said his fraternity has been embracing the open recruitment style, but is still having a designated week for potential recruits to visit their house from Sept. 14-18.
“If we didn’t have an actual week, they could randomly show up at any time, and who knows if very many guys will be at the house then,” Barnhardt said.
Also IFC vice president, Rann said the decision to allow bids after recruits visit only one house was widely accepted within the council.
Barnhardt agreed that dropping the three-house requirement will be a positive move for social fraternities and potential new recruits. Before, it was a waste of time for recruits who were already honed in on a house, he said.
“A lot of the guys just go to the house, not really caring about meeting the guys because they already have their minds set on another house,” he said. “So they basically go to the houses for just free food.”
But even without a university-sponsored recruitment week, Tau Kappa Epsilon will still have the same stress as other houses preparing for their own recruitment events in the fall, Barnhardt said. Easing requirements for recruitment should save money overall, though, he said.
Fraternities can choose the best ways to recruit for their own chapters through individual events and advertising, Davis said.
Rann said his fraternity has always advertised with campus posters and Facebook ads, and that USD fraternities have their own Web sites. Interested students can ask anyone wearing a Greek shirt for information on houses, he said.
The Greek Life office will also put students into contact with chapter members, Davis said.
The IFC is still developing the open recruitment process for new students and the fraternities, Davis said.
By JOSIE KERK, VOLANTE NEWS EDITOR Published: Wednesday, September 9, 2009
For the full story visit The University of South Dakota’s student newspaper: The Volante