Frats, program houses see decline in numbers

Friday, December 8, 2006

Recruitment for program houses and fraternities yielded a below-average turnout this year, according to Greek Council President Meghan Gill ’06.

Compared to last year, the Greek system saw a decline in numbers across the board, with some exceptions, Gill said. She suggested this year’s decrease must be looked at comparatively.

“Last year was exceptional. This year we had good, solid numbers. They just weren’t as good as last year’s,” she said.

Phi Kappa Psi was one fraternity that saw a drop in numbers. The fraternity had 15 pledges this year, down from 16 or 17 last year, said Phi Psi Social Chair Alykhan Karim ’06. “First semester was strong for (fraternities) in terms of freshmen turnout for parties. I don’t know what happened,” Karim said.

Art House is one of the program houses that saw a decline in numbers, said Samantha Gorman ’06, a member of the house who is involved in its selection process. According to Gorman, Art House had 50 applicants two years ago – its first year in existence – and 60 applicants last year. The number of applicants declined this year to 35, Gorman said.

Keara Kelly ’07, another member of Art House who was involved in the selection process, said the number of applicants was actually more than she expected. “We were pretty happy with that number. We wanted somewhere between 20 to 25 recruits,” Kelly said.

But not all program houses saw a decline in the number of applicants. Technology House saw its best turnout since the class of 2004, said Haley Allen ’06, Tech House president. Allen said 44 people were interested in joining, resulting in a recruitment class of 20. This year’s response stands out against Tech House’s results two years ago, when the house was “bordering on probation because not enough people joined,” Allen said.

Allen attributes Tech House’s increased popularity to word of mouth. “A couple of people who were interested convinced their friends, and that may be why we got so many recruits,” she said. “People don’t join usually because their friends decide not to live there, and they want to live together.”

Kelly said some of the people she talked to who were interested in joining decided not to because they are studying abroad for portions of the year. Others simply chose to commit to other program houses.

Jason Lee ’09 said he was first interested in joining Tech House when one of his best friends decided to become a member. “It wasn’t part of my original plan, but I wanted to be closer to him. I had seen some of my other friends get terrible lottery numbers before and I didn’t want that to happen to me,” Lee said.

Lee said he could understand why other students might not be interested in becoming part of program houses. “One of my fears in joining was that I wouldn’t go out as much – that I’d be stuck there. That may be one of the reasons that discourage people from joining,” he said.

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