September 29, 2011

Greeks Alter Rush Week to Discourage Drinking, Meet University Policy

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The Interfraternity Council approved an altered rush week schedule, to be implemented this spring, at a meeting on Wednesday. According to an IFC press release, these changes were made because “many felt that rush week would have to change to be safer and more effective in a dry environment.”

While in past years rush week has traditionally involved daytime open houses — called “smokers” — and nighttime events every night, this year, the IFC decided to eliminate the opportunity for many of the traditional night events.

This year, for the first time, smokers will be held at night from 6 p.m. to midnight on both Tuesday and Thursday, the statement said. Contacts — an event where chapters visit potential members at their dorm rooms — are scheduled for Wednesday night from 10 p.m. to midnight, said Michael De Lucia ’12, vice president for IFC recruitment.

According to Steven Wald ’12, vice president for IFC Judicial Affairs, these events were moved to nighttime hours primarily to discourage freshmen and potential new members from attending events where alcohol is present.

“No one really misses contacts, and you’re required to be in your dorm room at that time, [which] will mitigate the risk of people going to Collegetown and drinking,” De Lucia said.

These changes to the structure of rush week are part of the IFC’s effort to conform to the University’s new policies that rush week be completely devoid of events with alcohol. Though the University initially allowed the changes to be implemented over a span of two years, the IFC voted to accelerate the changes to one after the death of George Desdunes ‘13 in February.

To partly compensate for the decrease in nighttime events, fraternities will now also have the option of having a dry daytime event on Thursday.

“We made this decision because there are not a lot of options for night dry programming. On the other hand, fraternities can think outside the box for dry day events,” De Lucia said.

In addition to these changes, rush week will now start on Tuesday afternoon rather than Monday night, De Lucia said. The week will kick off with an information session and a “Meet the Greeks” event, two events that were previously held on the first night of rush week.

Wald said the changes to the times throughout the week of smokers and contacts will also allow chapters to have more time between smokers and contacts to evaluate potential members.

According to a press release, the IFC added an optional brunch to the schedule before afternoon smokers on Wednesday and Friday, which “would be another chance for interaction with freshmen outside of the traditional rush week settings.”

The schedule for both Saturday and Sunday will stay the same from previous years, and bid signing will occur on Tuesday after rush week, according to the release.

“[Through this new structure], we wanted to mitigate risk as much as possible while still let chapters have freedom of expression,” De Lucia ’12 said.

Nicholas Gordon ’13, president of Alpha Sigma Pi, said he believes these changes will affect the Greek system positively.

“The changes will cut down on risky behaviors and the alcohol related events that usually happen during rush week and bring out the kinds of kids we want — the outstanding personalities rather than those who can be the drunkest or who play the best at beer pong,” Gordon said.

According to Gordon, having the option to hold a dry day event is also an effective way to get to know potential members.

“We are using creative ideas and thinking outside the box [for rush event ideas]. It’s great to go out and be able to interact with freshmen,” Gordon said.

According to Wald, the IFC also plans to monitor chapters to ensure their adherence to the no-alcohol rule through continual check-ins and rounds by the Social Responsibility Committee every night. The monitoring process will not differ from that of previous years, Wald said.

IFC is also in the process of creating rules and punishments for chapters that don’t abide by the new rush structure, which includes differentiating between the different types of alcohol that may be found at events.

“There’s been a clear statement here that hard alcohol will have absolutely no place [at events] and that it will be unacceptable. As far as other forms of alcohol, a lot of what’s being discussed is to take the same approach as there was to hard alcohol in the past,” Wald said.

Wald said he hoped that the chapters would adapt to the new structure, even though the changes are abrupt.

“The reality is that we want rush to run smoothly, but we know there’s a bit of a learning curve in doing this in one year as opposed to two,” Wald said.

Original Author: Cindy Huynh