More than 1,000 first-year females will flock back to Miami University Jan. 8 to rush Miami’s 17 sororities, which are all coming off a year of change that included requiring the 2007 pledge class to live in sorority residence halls and adjustments made to the recruitment process.
As of Tuesday, 1,016 girls have registered for rush, seven of whom were removed for not meeting the 2.3 grade point average requirement.
April Robles, interim director for the Cliff Alexander Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life and Leadership, predicts that by Friday, the final day for registration, the number of girls will be around 1,050, with another 10 to 20 transfer students added over winter break.
Last year 1,185 girls registered, but when rush began the first week in January only 968 showed up. According to Robles the majority of the 163 girls withdrew themselves while the others didn’t meet grade requirements.
This school year has been the first to require sorority members to live in their residence halls. And though the transition was smooth and successful according to Claire Dickerson, vice president of public relations for Panhellenic Association, some potential “rushees” still seem skeptical.
“Most of my friends think it stinks they have to live in the dorm,” said first-year Erin Pohlman. “But what are you going to do about it? If you want to be in a sorority it shouldn’t matter.”
For some of the 2007 pledge class, the housing requirement didn’t seem to matter.
According to sophomores Marcella Cua, a member of Kappa Kappa Gamma, and Jen Lentz of Gamma Phi Beta, living in the sorority corridors has been a positive experience.
“I heard good things about it last year,” Lentz said. “I knew it would give me a chance to get to know my pledge class more.”
She went on to say that she believes living in the residence halls should be mandatory because it encourages girls to get involved with their sororities.
Cua said she will miss the sorority corridor when she spends next semester studying abroad in Luxembourg.
“In the dorms everyone will be getting closer and I won’t be a part of that,” she said. “I’ll just have to play catch up in the fall.”
Sororities and the Panhellenic Association have worked to make mandatory living in the residence halls a positive experience according to Dickerson, through decorating them and working with Housing, Dining and Guest Services to permanently assign a sorority to a residence hall-though no projections for this have been made.
“Sororities (would) then have more of a house-setting and make each pledge class a more cohesive group,” Dickerson said.
Although Dickerson considered this year’s transition a success, she said there were certain instances where sophomores were able to be removed from their housing contracts.
These were special circumstances looked at individually and allowed, in part, because it was the first year for the requirement, according to Dickerson, but for next year getting out of contracts will not be allowed.
Besides the sorority housing requirement, the Panhellenic Association also changed its sprite date policy for informal recruitment. Instead of each sorority holding one sprite date where potential new members come and meet the chapter, according to Dickerson, this year they held two: one individual and one group sprite date.
Sororities were divided into four groups, each group planning and hosting its own event. According to a document released by the Panhellenic Association, this is not only more convenient for girls rushing, but also creates a more equal opportunity for recruitment.
Dickerson said they are receiving positive feedback on this change as well.