Men Rush to Fraternity Life

It’s now the turn of Greek women, seniors, juniors and sophomores alike, to sit on their front porches and jeer at the young men passing by on their way to recruitment parties. On the same day that Panhellenic recruitment came to a formal end with each chapter’s Bid Day festivities, the Interfraternity Council (IFC) kicked off the first of five days of their own “rush” process. Parties began Monday, September 15 at Beta Theta Pi and Delta Upsilon, and continued with two parties each hour culminating with Phi Delta Theta’s infamous “Bash the Buick.” The parties continued from Monday to Thursday night. This year a record-breaking number of students came out for men’s recruitment. According to Tim Mansfield, Assistant Dean of Students and the Director of Greek Life, 221 men registered, which is 31 more than last year. The parties on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday were open to all 221 of these men. Wednesday, however, was the more exclusive of the days, and comprised invite-only “smoke-screen dinners” at each house.

If you read last week’s article about Panhellenic recruitment, it won’t help you here. According to Mansfield, the IFC program is “very, very different than the women’s program and there are benefits and challenges to this.” Because men are not required to go to all of the parties, and because three out of the four days do not require invitations, Mansfield believes “the benefit of a process like this is that it is more informal.” On the other hand the relaxed nature of men’s recruitment is a challenge as well. Mansfield says he needs to make sure that the potential new members “get a sense of what life in this chapter will be like, instead of too informal of a process with guys hanging out in a dining room or backyard. It needs to be much more informative and helpful.”

IFC president senior Cassel Lessinger described the process as “low risk, high reward.”

“Prospective members are encouraged to meet as many people as possible, stay open minded and take chances with organizations they might not know very well,” he said.

Another goal for the IFC this year is to try to get as many of the 221 men going through recruitment to stick it out and accept bid invitations. Of the 190 men that rushed last year, only 128 accepted an invitation to a fraternity.

“Every effort is made to ensure full inclusion, but some students may not meet minimal GPA requirements, disciplinary standards or have student leadership experience to qualify for a bid invitation,” Lessinger said. “220 men signed up for recruitment, and we hope as many are qualified to join one of our active fraternities.”

On Friday morning, the IFC, in conjunction with the Dean’s office, will process the bids submitted by the chapters, and the young men will find out later that day which house extended them a bid. This, however, does not mean that the student body should expect to see big parties this weekend on Broad Street. According to Mansfield, there are no registered events allowed at the fraternity houses this weekend.

“Once the chapters welcome their new membership on Friday it’s not about getting drunk; it’s about brotherhood,” Mansfield said.

Alumni, students and faculty have lately been discussing the “health” of Greek life at Colgate through this summer’s Greek Summit and other means. They have legitimate concerns, but the increased number of rushees this year is likely a good sign for the system’s health.

“One’s affiliation with a chapter guides enduring friendships and a lasting affinity towards Colgate and the Colgate Community,” Lessinger said. “I can say honestly, the experience I have had with my fraternity remains the most profound learning experience in my life.”

No matter what the outcome of Friday’s bid distribution, Lessinger shared that the six fraternities that comprise the IFC are “very excited at the prospect of welcoming new classes into our chapters. With last year’s class graduated, the houses feel a bit empty.”