Spring rush: filling the slots
By Ben Brown '14
Published: Thursday, February 14, 2013
Updated: Friday, February 15, 2013 14:02
Eight women were extended bids for sorority membership following informal recruitment, or spring Membership Exploration Week (MEW). Alpha Phi extended a single bid to a sophomore while Delta Delta Delta offered bids to six sophomores and one junior.
Spring MEW activities are usually prompted by a desire (and the potential need) to fill spots within a sorority. National Panhellenic Conference, the governing body of sororities, mandates that organizations will have approximately the same number of members: the maximum number of members per chapter at Lafayette was recently reset to 80.
Sororities must follow strict recruitment guidelines, as mandated by national organizations and the NPC.
Unlike the formal fall incarnation, spring MEW does not require prospective sorority members to visit all organizations. Spring sorority recruitment more closely resembles a fraternity’s model in which prospective members can court a specific organization, assuming there is space available. “You can hone in a lot better in the spring, if there are slots,” Director of Fraternity and Sorority Life Stuart Umberger said of sorority recruitment. “It’s definitely a more free-for-all.”
Due to the competitive nature of fall MEW, spots fill up quickly, leaving few vacancies for the spring. Slots are vacated by graduating seniors, opening up many more spots in the fall. In fall 2011, 213 women – a higher number than in previous years – vied for 168 spots. One hundred fifty eight women went through the most recent fall recruitment.“Be aware your choices will be more limited [in the spring], if that’s the best time for you,” Umberger said. Spring prospectives should know what their preferences are, he added. Four of the six sororities did not provide activities for spring MEW week due to a lack of slots.
As part of their spring membership recruitment, Tri Delta hosted nightly meet-and-greets, dinners, and entertainment. The sorority had approximately 25 slots to fill to reach the NPC quota. “It’s not really about numbers,” Tri Delta VP of Membership Kelsy Wright ‘15, said. “It’s a great opportunity to put ourselves out there.”
“It is more relaxed,” Tri Delta President Devin Brodie ‘15 said. “The girls who were looking around knew pretty much where they wanted to be.” The formal structure of fall MEW can be intimidating for some prospective members, Wright said. At the end of each night of fall MEW, sororities vote on who will come back the next night. On the final evening, prospective members rank their top two choices. The notion of not getting invited back creates anxiety among sorority hopefuls, which can lead to dropouts. There were approximately 20 in the 2012 fall MEW.
“I felt it was too stressful for me,” said Gabbi Villanueva ‘15, who dropped out of fall recruitment and recently received a spring bid from Tri Delta. “The way [the fall was] structured was something I was not too happy about. I decided to do spring rush because I wanted to give Tri Delta a chance. All these girls wanted me to be a part of it. It’s just a much better experience because it’s informal.”
“Rushing week was really stressful and it was a hard week,” Michelle Echenique ‘14 of her fall 2011 recruitment experience. “[In the spring] they invited you to join. It was more like a natural process and it felt more real.” Echenique received a bid from Tri Delta in fall 2011, but was not initiated. “I feel like this is the right time for me to join,” she said. New members will be welcomed into the sorority community on February 20 in Colton Chapel.