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Growing Greeks

Photos by Taylor Soule, sports editor

Alpha Phis hold hand-made signs and eagerly await new sisters on Sunday.

With recruitment done, the Greek community has seen record-high numbers of new recruits.  Senior Heather Boone, President of the Panhellenic Council, said a record  247 women went through the recruitment process this year.

“It has steadily increased each year and 247 is a number we have not had in a long time, if ever before,” Boone said. “The past years and this year have shown that women continually sign up after they come to school and see what Drake has to offer.”

While the fraternities are not seeing the same accelerated growth, according to senior Michael Riebel, Interfraternity Council Vice-President, they are experiencing growth both in members and in the number of fraternities coming to campus.

“We have grown over the past four years and that reflects too in the number of fraternities that have started to colonize here at Drake,” Riebel said. “You can look at Pi Kappa Phi, they just started coming on campus two-and-a-half years ago…We are having another fraternity come to campus later this fall, Alpha Tau Omega.”

First-Year recruit Courtney Hasemann decided to rush because she was looking for the type of bond she felt with her high school teammates.

“Just having that core group of girls to go to when you need anything,” Hasemann said. “You meet a lot of new people and you can make a lot more connections because a lot of the women who are in the Greek organization are also involved in campus organizations.”

Hasemann believes that involvement is why many of her fellow classmates decided to rush.

“I think a lot of girls decided to rush because the Greek life gets you involved and you get to meet a lot of people,” Hasemann said.

Fellow first-year recruit Ricky Menendez joined recruitment largely out of curiosity.

“I wanted to know exactly what the frat life was about.. (the) curiosity to find out exactly what it is like to be in a frat or sorority,” Menedez said. “I think a lot them, they just don’t want the college life they want something else out of it. You are not only interacting with people in this university or this community, you are connected with the outside world through your frat.”

Director of Fraternity and Sorority Life Brittan Etzenhouser attributes the growth to a number of different sources.

“We were lucky in that Drake has more incoming first-year students than we had last year. So that also helps us, having a larger pool of student to pull from.” Etzenhouser said. “(Our women) did a lot of different promotional materials and PR pushes. The number is a direct result of that.”

Riebel also believes that advertising towards admitted students days played a role.

“We have a Greek life session that people can go to… Students go there and explain what Greek life is like and why we joined,” Riebel said. “I think when you can get that perspective from a student who is pretty honest it intrigues the first-year student and they are interested in learning more.”

However, this increased interest can create anxiety for recruits like Hasemann.

“Being a person going through recruitment it is nerve racking because there are only so many people who can get picked to be in each house,” Hasemann said. “The fact that there are only five houses limits your chances.”

Riebel does not think this will be the case for fraternities.

“Fraternities can accept however many they would like… Some chapters go into recruitment with a specific number. Some chapters go into recruitment thinking we just want the type of person we are looking for,” Riebel said. “If there (are) more than they number they were think of they are going still going to give out however many bids they want.”

Eztenhouser agreed with Riebel on the opportunities that are presented by fraternities.

“More likely than not you will end with a chapter. The only gray area is whether or not that is your first choice chapter.” Etzenhouser said. “Our hope at the end is that they end up getting placed with a chapter and they are excited about it and they are ready to start their new experience in the sorority or fraternity.”

Etzenhouser said if the number of women being accepted does grow too high and the pledge classes reach around sixty, twice as high as last year, than the Panhellenic Council, would look at bringing in another sorority.

“In my opinion that is pretty significant and in some cases that twice as many new members as there are active members,” Etzenhouser said. “That ratio is off balance that would call for another group to come in. That is a good problem to have.”

Riebel does not feel that an increase in numbers would affect the fraternities.

“The fraternities would be ecstatic if the numbers just went through the roof, in all honesty. I do not think it we mean they cut more it just means we will see bigger classes,” Riebel said. “If our numbers hit over 200 the guys would not blink an eye. They would just do the same process, it do not change on how many people are going through.”

One potential problem Riebel does see is the lack of space on Greek street.

“There is not any opportunity for another chapter to have a house on 34th Street unless a chapter leaves,” Riebel said. “That is a challenge that new chapters have to face as well as chapters looking to re-colonize back at Drake.”

While Etzenhouser agrees that adding another house directly on 34th Street with the current chapters would be a problem, she does not see it as a large one.

“I do not necessarily agree that there is not any more room for another group on that street because it is ever evolving and changing,” Etzenhouser said. “So it would be interesting to see if they break off more on the Forest area or establish a second area of Greek Street.”

The necessity of these changes is up in the air. Boone hopes that 250 women would participate in recruitment next year, but believes that it is up to the future leaders of Greek Street.

“I would really hope that they would (reach 250). It depends on the next Panhellenic Council, the next group of leaders in our community,” Boone said. “How well they promote our community to the first years and the people on campus.”

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