January 19, 2009

Record Number of Students Attend Rush

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As the spring semester at Cornell begins, annual recruitment week has come to a close. The rush class this year was comprised of a record number of freshmen, sophomores and transfers including 719 potential fraternity members. New members received bids to the Panhellenic Association’s 11 chapters and the Interfraternity Council’s 41 chapters.
The recruitment process was very different for boys and girls. The potential sorority members spent their days meeting sisters in each house and taking house tours.[img_assist|nid=34200|title=Behind the eight ball|desc=Doug Kuts ’09 plays pool at a fraternity’s rush event on Wednesday|link=node|align=left|width=|height=0]
The week was structured so the girls would go to fewer houses every day. Each night, the potential members would choose three new houses that they did not want to join so they would not have to return to those houses the following day.
“It was exciting to see every house, but definitely a little nerve-racking,” Arielle Schaeffer ’12 said. “I was really trying to meet a nice group of girls who could become my best friends in the future.” The recruitment process was very stressful for the girls because many did not receive an invitation back to a house they liked.
“It’s difficult because you get very into the idea of being in a certain house,” Marissa Taylor ’12 said.
The potential fraternity members have a very different process. The rushees took part in the first-time event Meet The Greeks at Helen Newman. The event gave potential new members an opportunity to meet brothers of all 41 fraternities. Starting Tuesday morning, recruits were free to go to any of the 41 chapter houses to participate in “smokers”. These smokers were dry open houses where potential members were invited to tour the house and meet many of the fraternity members.
At night, each fraternity hosted events, either in their houses or off-campus. This gave potential members a chance to learn more about the fraternity houses and for the brothers of the house to get to know potential members better. These events were regulated strictly by the IFC to ensure that regulations were followed. One of the regulations included the prohibition of hard alcohol at all events.
“The night events went well with very few minor incidents,” IFC President Greg Schvey ’09 said. “Overall, I was very impressed with the level of responsibility of each chapter.”
On Wednesday, Friday and Sunday nights, fraternity rush had contact periods. During contacts, a few brothers came to potential members’ dorm rooms to have a more personal discussion.
“The contact periods were a nice opportunity to candidly ask current members questions,” Billy McGee ’12 said.
Throughout the week, house members had the opportunity to meet a large group of potential new members.
“For me, I decided that my house was where I felt most comfortable. It was refreshing to find a house like this,” former president of Alpha Chi Omega sorority Melanie Gudesblatt ’09 said. “This week, I met a great group of girls who I loved talking to. I hope to keep talking to them.”
Hazing was one aspect of Greek life that was discussed heavily leading up to rush week. The Cornell Greek System strongly advocated their anti-hazing policy and has publicly published hazing incidents in the past.
Rush week ended yesterday, with bids being given to both male and female recruits. Potential sorority members can only be given one bid, but potential brothers can receive multiple bids. Bid signing begins for potential fraternity members tomorrow.