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Greek and program houses see recruitment boom

Last week's Super Deadline Day brought a bumper crop of new recruits to Greek and program houses on campus - 397 students joined houses this year, bringing the total number of students living in Greek and program houses next year to 653, according to Justin Glavis-Bloom '07, chair of Residential Council.

The number of students in "program housing and Greek housing (has) increased this year," said Richard Bova, senior associate dean for residential life. Glavis-Bloom said he did not have numbers for previous years.

This year, 207 bid cards were returned to the Greek houses - excepting St. Anthony Hall, which is not a member of Greek Council - as of last Wednesday, "a huge increase from last year," said Mark Connolly '07, chair of Greek Council and a member of Delta Phi. That's up from last year - Connolly said having 180 returned cards is usually seen as "a great number."

Connolly said he believes the increase in students joining Greek houses is thanks to increased publicity efforts this year. "We did a few things this semester - we got the rush book out the first week of classes. In the past couple of years, the books went out at the beginning of rush period," he said. "Getting the word out early, advertising and having an extra week for rush really helped. In the past, it's been our biggest barrier - getting the word out. Every house had a great rush this year."

Jonathan Levin '08, master of Alpha Epsilon Pi, said the house's membership has increased since last year but noted that it is often "determined by the housing situation for most freshmen - how their units worked out during the year and whether or not those relationships worked out."

Levin agreed with Connolly that the increase in numbers is partly due to a "good advertising pitch," which presented a new image of Greek houses. "I think the current trend is that people are realizing that fraternities are a part of the community in non-stereotypical ways," he said.

Connolly said the diversity of lifestyles in the Greek houses has helped attract a larger group of students as well. "A lot of times, the Greek system gets labeled and stereotyped, but within the Greek system, each one of the houses are extremely diverse. Each house is so different and attracts a different group of people," Connolly said. "It would be difficult to not find one for every student."

Miriam Gordon '08, president of Alpha Chi Omega, said she hopes the rise in recruitment numbers will help enhance the Greek presence on campus. "I think the increase in numbers shows that more people are interested, and hopefully that bigger increase will attract more people," Gordon said. "I think people are seeing it as a way of participating in a group, and it does provide a good way to hold leadership positions."

Kappa Alpha Theta has 24 pledges for next year, up from the usual number of 15 to 18 students, said Nicole Villaverde '07, recruitment chair for Kappa Alpha Theta. "Definitely, the increasing numbers of people will help increase our image by doing larger events, trying to do things on a larger scale to make people aware that we exist," she said.

Program houses also benefited from the recruitment boom.

West House, a campus cooperative, has also experienced an increase in the number of applications. "This year we had about 25 to 30 people apply for about 14 spots, so it was a competitive process," said Hope Turner '08, housing coordinator for West House. "I think that West House in general has been more active than in the past couple of years from what it was like before."

Turner said the increase may be thanks to increasing visibility. "It's been kind of a hidden program house, but I think it's becoming more well-known," Turner said. "I think we can improve our numbers by doing more events to attract more people earlier on in the semester."


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