On Friday night, fraternities put away their alcohol and opened their doors to potential new members in the first — likely annual — Fall Recruitment Weekend.
Allen Miller ’11, president of the Interfraternity Council, and Matt Grosshans ’11, vice president of recruitment for the IFC, toured chapter houses on Friday, monitoring the night’s events for signs of violations and noting the successes and failures of the night.
Miller said that nearly every house had some sort of recruitment event and that none were found with alcohol. Events ranged from Wegman’s sushi chefs preparing sushi for potential recruits to staged battles in inflatable sumo suits.
In addition to the events on Friday, fraternities invited potential new members on Saturday and Sunday for “smokers,” chances to meet and talk with fraternity brothers in an informal setting, like those during Recruitment Week in January.
This year, the first night of Recruitment Week in January will be dry, as part of the IFC’s gradual implementation plan for the amendment to the University Recognition Policy for Greek houses, which seeks to ban alcohol, drugs and hazing from new member education and recruitment. This recruitment weekend allowed chapters to gain experience in organizing and planning dry rush events, according to Miller and Grosshans.
Miller says that the IFC will be building off of the successes and the creativity of the events by compiling a list of the weekend’s events to help chapters brainstorm ideas for the first night of recruitment week. He said that he was pleased to see the effort that some chapters put into the weekend and is excited to see the events that chapters will plan.
“I think it was useful for a lot of the chapters,” Miller said. “This is going to get the ball rolling.”
Grosshans, who said he had been working consistently to promote and plan the weekend, expressed that the first dry night was surprisingly successful, with attendance diminishing Saturday and Sunday. He attributed the waning attendance as the weekend went on to students heading to the library to prepare for the week’s classes.
“The real difference between this weekend and recruitment week and the reason why this weekend is never going to have the same success is that recruitment week doesn’t have the issue of academics,” Grosshans said. “All the burdens of being a Cornell student don’t stop this weekend.”
He said that this observation of dismal attendance Sunday may lead to a shortening of the weekend in the future.
David Roger ’13, recruitment chair at Tau Epsilon Phi, said he had low expectations for the attendance of potential recruits and that he only had three potential new members visit the TEP house on Sunday.
“It wasn’t worth putting money and planning into something where people aren’t going to show up,” he said. Roger’s chapter had a barbecue and played basketball on Friday night, which a number of potential new members attended.
Julian Bruell ’12, vice president of recruitment for Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity, also said he had no idea what to expect before the weekend began. He said he had spent the last couple of months soliciting event ideas from brothers. Bruell’s chapter settled on an inflatable boxing game, drawing 40 new contacts from the event.
Bruell noted that he hopes to have even more creative ideas lined up before Recruitment Week begins on Jan. 17.
“We need to come up with something that’s really, really unique,” Bruell said. “We need a lot more planning. Something like this is a good basis. We know we can be successful.”
Dan Marcus ’14 spent Friday night visiting different fraternities’ dry events. Though he said he had nothing to compare it to, Marcus said he appreciated the opportunity to speak with fraternity brothers before the formality of recruitment week set in.
Marcus explained that the weekend was defined by a lack of expectations on the part of freshmen and on the part of brothers.
“I think kids were pretty skeptical,” Marcus said. “They understood the IFC polices, but were confused about what to expect.”
However, Marcus said that a number of his friends were excited about the opportunity to get an advanced look at houses before recruitment week.
“I definitely think that it’s a great option. I think people saw the benefit in it and that it was worthwhile,” he said.
Grosshans said that this weekend will remain in place in the years to come and that chapters will build on successes.
“Part of the beauty is that student organizations at Cornell, particularly fraternities, have short memories,” Grosshans said. “If IFC decides to do this again, next year it will be ‘second annual’. The year after that it will be tradition.”
Original Author: Juan Forrer