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Greek life sees recruitment decline

Photo by Joshua Bruer | Staff Photographer

Greek Street welcomes new members to Fraternity and Sorority Life (FSL) as fall Panhellenic recruitment successfully ends despite concerns.

           This past week, students across campus participated in FSL fall Panhellenic recruitment week, where fraternities and sororities sought to increase their numbers with a new class of members. 

           FSL expressed excitement for being able to host in-person events for the first time since 2019. However, with the excitement came caution as new COVID-19 cases remain a prevalent factor in the turnout for sorority recruitment both at Drake and around the U.S.

“Nationally, sorority recruitment participation has been low, and I believe that is because of the hybrid aspects of restrictions and leniency plus the fact COVID-19 is still present in our lives,” said Anna Sutterer, VP of recruitment on the Panhellenic Council. 

           Sorority life on campus saw 136 potential new members (PNM) participate in recruitment events with 115 signing bids to join a house at the end of the week.

           “Overall, I was upset by the numbers the night the application closed,” Sutterer said. “However, taking a closer look at sorority recruitment at a national level, our campus was right on track, which makes me feel a lot better.”

           Each sorority at Drake has a limit on the number of new members who can join each semester. Despite this limit, reports from Sutterer showed that 95% of PNM’s were matched with their first choice.

           Fraternity life on campus was able to get a total of 67 bids signed. In addition to the COVID challenges faced by sororities, recent news added another concern for fraternities in finding new members.

           Last month, reports of sexual assault came to light among fraternities in the United States, most notably from Phi Gamma Delta at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. With the backlash that followed, Drake fraternities began to worry about being grouped in with these chapters.

“I was kind of worried about bringing people into this community when there are stories like this that give the whole fraternity system a bad name,” Sam Rothbardt, a member of Theta Chi Fraternity, said. 

The concern about fraternities and their image was also in the minds of some first-year students.

“Even though I have not heard anything of a similar nature come to light at Drake, I think when a fraternity has a scandal like this anywhere, it makes people reevaluate any involvement with these houses,” first-year student and new Sigma Alpha Epsilon member Will Schultz said.

Despite the backlash of fraternity life in the news and fears of COVID-19 breakouts, 67 students became new members of Drake fraternities.

Sigma Phi Epsilon received the highest number of new members, with 21 students joining the fraternity.

“Loosening restrictions definitely helped us get a larger number than last year, but I would say that our recruiting team and executive council were the ones who deserve the credit. They did an awesome job,” Sigma Phi Epsilon member Vince Carioti said. 

           Despite the negative stories about fraternities and fears of a COVID-19 outbreak, fall Panhellenic recruitment returned to campus as a traditional in-person event, and tradition remains alive for the FSL community.

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