While recruitment for Greek organizations is typically reserved to the spring semester at Hopkins, some fraternities and sororities are providing eligible students an earlier opportunity to engage in Greek life.
It has been confirmed that Sigma Alpha Epsilon (SAE), Sigma Phi Epsilon (SigEp), Sigma Chi and Phi Delta Theta, and Hopkins’s newest sorority, Pi Beta Phi, will all be participating in fall recruitment this fall semester.
Several of these fraternities have participated in fall rush in past years.
According to Rachel Drennen, Coordinator of Greek Life & Orientation, fall rush will solely be available to full-time sophomores, juniors and seniors. Freshmen must wait until the spring.
“It is very important for first-year students to find community in the[ir] residence halls, adapt to the academic rigors at Hopkins, and [to] take time to explore all of the involvement opportunities [at Hopkins],” Drennen said.
Those fraternities that do participate in fall rush will be able to focus on recruiting those current students who might have been previously vacillating on whether or not to join the Greek life, without requiring them to wait until the spring.
Drennen endorses recruitment practices, stating that irrespective of when in the year rush occurs, “the primary benefit for students who participate in recruitment is finding a group where they will be supported during their time at Hopkins and a national organization in which they are proud to maintain lifetime membership.”
Only time will tell if the various advantages that some fraternities gain from a fall rush will negatively impact those fraternities that do not participate in it.
It is unclear from past years whether fall rush gives participating fraternities an recruitment advantage over those that wait until the second semester of the year.
Sophomore Sean Donohue, recruitment chair of Sigma Alpha Epsilon (SAE), notes that fall recruitment provides an opportunity for athletes who delayed pledging to concentrate on their academic pu and athletics.
“[Fall rush] really brings the fraternity together and culminates in welcoming new potential brothers into our brotherhood,” Donohue wrote.
He described the rush experience as four to five days long and, in the case of SAE, bringing in about ten new brothers to the fraternity — similar in size to pledge classes recruited in the spring.
Alex Duncan, President of Sigma Chi and Recruitment Chair for the Inter-Fraternity Council, endorsed the merits of recruiting in the first semester of the academic year.
“Every spring, about 150 [to] 200 or so guys join fraternities, most of these new members being freshmen.
During fall rush, however, the numbers are much lower.
“Most of the interest [in] fall rush, then, is from sophomores who are friends with lots of brothers in a particular fraternity or are just looking for an organization or a group to be a part of,” Duncan wrote in an email to The News-Letter.
Approximately 25 percent of the undergraduate community at Hopkins participates in Greek Life as a member of a fraternity or sorority. Consequently, such a student institution requires substantial funding in the recruitment process.
Funding for Greek Life comes primarily from each fraternity’s national council, which administers how the student dues are spent.
Within the Office of Greek Life, there is also “a budget for the purpose of providing programming to all fraternities and sororities ... and will help any student group secure on-campus space for their events or meetings,” Drennen said.