Over 1,000 Cornellians came back a week prior to the first day of classes hoping to join the ranks of the Greek community on campus. The week-long process, informally known as rush, and officially known as formal membership recruitment, came to an end yesterday for sororities and will end Wednesday for fraternities.
The number of students going through recruitment this year has increased from last year. “Over 500-570 women signed up. The numbers went up from last year’s 470,” said Adria Nobles, Multicultural Greek Letter Council (MGLC) and Panhellenic Association advisor. In addition, between 600 and 700 men went through fraternity recruitment this week.
“Recruitment is going extremely well, numbers are up, and online registration contributed. As a result, close to 1,000 students signed up online,” Nobles said.
The recruitment process for sororities is very different from that of fraternities. Recruitment for men is thought of as more relaxed, as they only visit the houses they want to see out of the more than 40 houses on campus.
There are 13 national sororities on campus, and potential members go through a five-day recruitment process, visiting each of the 13 sorority houses in groups at specific times. Everyday, both the houses and the potential new members narrow down their choices, in hopes of achieving the best match.
“Rush is both an exciting and stressful process for people who are already members of a house because we know what it’s like for them,” said Stephanie Moore ’03, a member of Sigma Delta Tau sorority.
“We have two goals: to get a group of girls that we think would be an asset to the house and help make us stronger and to make the process as comfortable as possible for everyone,” she added.
For Delare Zarrabi ’03, a member of Alpha Epsilon Phi sorority, the process was “pretty similar to last year, except that more girls were going through. I didn’t expect this many people.”
On the other side of formal membership recruitment, the process is long and cold, as hundreds of girls trudge through hills and snow. Nevertheless, according to Denise Zeichner ’05, “I don’t think the guys’ system is better; it’s is less organized and based on connections.
“Obviously, there is a not-so-nice side to it. I see some girls who had their hopes set on three of four houses, but got cut right away, so they dropped out of rush,” she added.
“The reason why the Panhellenic sorority process is the way it is, is that the guidelines are set by the national organization. We want to promote the entire Panhel sorority experience, versus one chapter over another, so that all chapters participate together,” Noble said.
For fraternities, the North American Interfraternity Conference does not draw the same guidelines.
“I don’t think there is a need for a change of girls’ rush, but that decision is not up to us,” Noble added.
For potential male members to the Greek system the process also has its complications, such as choosing which rush events to attend from over 40 fraternities on campus.
“Sigma Phi is most attractive to me. I’m on the rowing team, and that’s how I know some of the guys. I visited a couple of times, and they asked me to rush,” said Alexander White ’05.
White’s roommate, Graham Anderson ’05, also narrowed down his choices through involvement in a Cornell student organization. “I’m in the glee club, so I know lots of guys in Kappa Delta Rho.”
Among many different aspects, reputation also figures into the final decision of which house to join. “There are stereotypes that float around,” Anderson said. “I went to some parties during the semester, met the guys and realized that not all the frats are complete party frats. It’s possible to get some work done.”
Aside from the houses in Panhel and the Interfraternity Council, there are 14 other fraternities and sororities on campus collectively known as the MGLC.
“They do membership selection process on individual basis, and some houses already selected members for this year,” Noble said.
Archived article by Veronika Belenkaya