Pledge numbers jump at few greek chapters, others stabilize

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Three greek chapters reported new member classes with at least four more members than their average pledge class size of the past five years. No chapters retained a smaller pledge class than usual.

Delta Gamma sorority, Delta Tau Delta fraternity and Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity saw significant increases in their numbers this year, and each chapter credits a revitalized rush process with the success.

“We basically tried to be more open and sincere about the rush process than we had in years past, and we kind of tried to make that our ultimate goal — just be ourselves,” said junior Alex Thompson, former rush chair for SAE. Thompson is also a columnist for The DePauw.

Junior Scotty Hunt, the rush chair for Delt during rush 2011, said the chapter focused more on attracting men to the personalities of the chapter rather than the physical structure.

“I put in a lot more for one-on-one time, making sure they fit in with guys first and focus on the house second,” he said.

Both Hunt and Thompson acknowledged that the new policy on open bids contributed to their increase in reported numbers.  

Early this semester, the Interfraternity Council abolished stealth bids — illegal, hidden offers extended to men ineligible for rush — to encourage more honest, open communication among chapters and IFC. Though the university requires men to have a 2.5 GPA to participate in formal rush, individual chapters may accept a man who does not meet university standards, but still meets the standards of the chapter.

Some of the men that Delt and SAE may not have reported last year because they would have received stealth bids were reported this year, causing the increase in numbers. Delt’s newly initiated class tallies 24 men, an increase of 10 men from last year and the largest class since the group of 25 the chapter initiated in 2007. SAE initiated 17, an increase of eight from last year, which is the largest class since 2007’s 22 initiates.

Thompson credited a strong fall recruitment and more sincere efforts during formal rush for the positive turnout.

“They are the strongest pledge class we have seen or heard of in years and years,” he said. “They’re made up of largely leaders, and they’re diverse, and they actually like each other, which is pretty good.”

Hunt also said that Delt saw an improvement in the attitude toward rush. 

“I think one of the main things for us in years past, we had a lot of actives that didn’t take rush that seriously, and this year I had a lot of help,” Hunt said. “A lot of guys were gung-ho about it.”

Though IFC rush is different from Panhellenic council recruitment — which has strict rules about continuous open bidding, among other things — Delta Gamma members found that taking a different approach to rush benefitted their numbers like it did for Delt and SAE.

“I think a lot of positive changes began with our VP of recruitment from last year,” said senior Leslie Gaber, director of recruitment records for DG. Gaber is also the assistant sports editor for The DePauw. “The women of our chapter really showed they were dedicated to recruitment and getting to know the women on campus.”

DG initiated its largest class in at least the past five years, adding 37 women to their chapter this spring. They initiated 33 last year after recruiting their smallest class of the past five years: 21 women in 2009, according to Campus Living and Community Development records.

Gaber said the chapter focused on making recruitment a priority and implementing different strategies to better communicate DG’s sisterhood to potential new members.

“I think our member educators did a good job of making sure that all the new members were comfortable, and all the women of our chapter recognized that was an area we needed to improve,” Gaber said of the pledging period, which lasts six weeks according to university policy. 

The other 13 IFC and Panhel chapters initiated numbers similar to the new member classes from the past five years.