Recruitment changes to reflect student feedback

Christian Brewster Photo credit: Oliver Chapin-Eiserloh

Photo by Oliver Chapin-Eiserloh

Fraternity and Sorority Life (FSL) is test running a new recruitment timeline that has been condensed compared to years prior due to student feedback.

All three rounds of rush events now occur in the fall semester, and Bid Day has moved up to Jan. 31, about a week earlier than its former date. Previously, third round rush events occurred in the spring semester and Bid Day in early February.

Recruitment, or rush, is the semester long process potential new members go through to meet and get to know individuals from all the different FSL organizations. In this process, the students find what club they believe they best fit in.

Third round is a more formal, selective experience than previous rounds. Those interested in joining the club at this stage will RSVP to third round, and the club will vote on whether to invite them. Third round is the first time that FSL members officially vote to cut potential new members.

At the end of Spring 2019, Greek Council co-chairs, recruitment co-chairs and director of Student Involvement, Jamie, Thompson decided to shorten the recruitment timeline in response to the dates of Winter Break and feedback that FSL received from surveys every two years.

“The feedback has continuously stated that rush was too long before,” senior Liz Bertsch, Greek Council women’s chair wrote over email. “[And] we return back to school [for the spring semester] a little later this year, so Student Involvement did not feel there was enough time to adequately squeeze every club’s third rounds in before [Bid Day]. Thus, we moved [Bid Day] up by a few days and adjusted third rounds to occur in the fall!”

The importance of finals for both active members and potential new members was a factor as well, according to junior Max Towers, recruitment co-chair.

“The reason was to give people more time during finals. So we’d be done with all our recruiting events, and they wouldn’t be stressed about trying to make a good impression while also studying for their finals,” Towers said. “Also, for potential new members, we don’t want them to associate Trinity Greek life with a negative experience because they failed a final.”

According to Wills Brown, assistant director for FSL “recruitment fatigue,” or people getting worn out from the length of the process, was yet another variable for this decision. This is Brown’s first semester at Trinity and in this position.

“It’s my understanding that the decision was made because of a lot of factors, but one of the main factors was the recruitment fatigue that both organizations and potential new members went through because it was a pretty long progress,” Brown said.

Due to these conditions, Greek Council decided to test-run a year of this shortened timeline. Whether or not they keep it will depend on the response from the FSL community.

“We’re not trying to implement anything that hurts the community. We proposed this as an idea, and everyone was open to trying it for a year, so I think at the end of next semester we’ll reevaluate,” Towers said.

The shortened timeline means that clubs have to plan faster and hold events closer together.

“With it being condensed, it’s just a matter of these organizations ensuring that they’re on top of all their events and that they’re planned out. They don’t have as much time where they could do first and second [rounds], and then have all Winter Break to plan the third [round] and informals in the Spring,” Brown said.

This has also caused some financial strain on Greek organizations.

“Financial strain could come from any number of things and is completely dependent on what clubs spend money on during the semester. We are unsure of the exact reasons, but one or two clubs have cited frustrations with paying for all three formal rounds in one semester,” Bertsch wrote.

To combat this, FSL has allowed clubs to apply for “rush funding” as a way to help. The money for this funding comes from Greek life alumni donations, and an organization can apply for a maximum overall amount of $250 throughout recruitment.

“In the future, we’d like to be able to offer dues waivers and things to ease financial burden on members of all clubs. That’s a longer-term goal that is still in the works, so I have no other information on it, unfortunately,” Bertsch wrote.

Towers believes that FSL’s recruitment will not be affected by the new timeline. This year, 282 people RSVP’d for sorority and fraternity third rounds. Last year, there were 291 RSVPs.

“First-years don’t have any experience with the old calendar, so this is kind of the way things are. The only overlap would be people who didn’t join last year but went through the process. They’ll see that the process is a little different. But I don’t see the calendar as an incentive or as a non-incentive to join. I think if we explained to them our reasons for doing it, they might see that their welfare is in our best interest,” Towers said.