College Panhellenic (CPH) is considering plans to move recruitment to the week before the fall semester begins in 2020 with a decision potentially coming as early as next Friday. The Interfraternity Council (IFC) is not considering moving their recruitment before classes begin.
According to Arthur Doctor, director of the Office of Fraternal Leadership and Learning, the potential change is a result of “feedback we (FLL) received from a number of stakeholders on campus.”
Formal sorority recruitment is held typically five weeks into the semester and has been since the mid-90s, according to Doctor.
FLL sent a collection of dates to the 10 Panhellenic chapters to vote on, but ultimately FLL will make the decision on when recruitment will happen.
“There’s a lot that goes into it. Recruitment is such a large entity on campus, so we try to reach as many campus partners as possible,” Doctor said. “We let them know those dates that are being considered. One aspect of that is the chapters voting on their preference, and we move forward from there and make the final decision.”
Ashton Daly, the recruitment chair for Kappa Kappa Gamma, said that her sorority’s adviser told her of the possible change before Thanksgiving break.
“I think (recruitment) will be before school,” Daly said.
If the date before school is selected, recruitment will begin Sunday, Aug. 16, 2020, eight days before classes start on Aug. 24.
Daly surmised that the proposed change is a result of students falling behind on their school work. Recruitment is usually held about a month into the fall semester, and this year it fell one week before midterm exams.
“I met with a professor, and he said that he had a teacher meeting with Panhellenic about (recruitment) just because so many students were struggling to recover after that one week,” Daly said.
When asked if the FLL office reached out to professors concerning academic strain brought on by recruitment week, Doctor said that they “fielded comments and concerns from a number of campus stakeholders.”
Kellie Kampen, a junior Chi Omega member, said that recruitment this year was especially hectic, and a change would bring relief to both potential new members and active members.
“It’s better for everybody to do it before school starts, just to get it out of the way,” Kampen said. “During the school year, it’s normally a big test week. Like this year I had three tests the week of rush, and I can I can only imagine the freshmen. What if they have a late class and have to miss an event?”
Daly said that this issue has been considered in the current push to move rush week earlier, but since each Southeastern Conference school has also moved rush to before the semester, there would be no outlet for transferring students at another SEC school.
“I’m sure the university will find a way to keep people from (transferring),” Daly said, “especially when we’re the only school that I know of that rushes in the middle of fall semester, so even if they did drop out, I don’t know really where they would go.”
Kappa Kappa Gamma member Bella Garofalo argued that the timing of rush would not be as inconvenient if CPH eased the so-called “nine-month rule,” which took effect after she went through recruitment. According to this rule, current sorority members cannot contact incoming freshmen from Jan. 1 of the year they plan to matriculate until recruitment week.
“I’ve always thought if they changed it, and you could talk to older girls, then it wouldn’t be bad for those six weeks,” Garofalo said. “Because I was coming out-of-state, I met so many girls on my floor because I wasn’t thrown into a sorority right away, and limited to meeting girls in my sorority. So, that’s what I liked about those six weeks (before rush).”
Delta Delta Delta member Lydia Cates does not favor the change, and she agreed that the current arrangement allows freshmen to meet people before they join their sorority.
“I feel like we get stuck in our own little bubble sometimes, and once you find friends, you’re kind of just settled already,” she said. “It’s good to get to make your own friends before (recruitment).”
According to Doctor, votes from the Panhellenic chapters will be finalized next week, but a final decision on the start of recruitment week is contingent upon university approval.