On the evening of Wednesday, Jan. 14, Lawrence fraternities Beta Theta Pi, Delta Tau Delta, Phi Kappa Tau and Sigma Phi Epsilon met in the Wriston Auditorium to present the goals and benefits of involvement to prospective new members. Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia, not part of the Lawrence Interfraternity council, was not represented.
This official information session is new this year, part of several changes in the fraternal recruitment process at Lawrence. Before the meeting started, junior and president of the Interfraternity Council, Danny Davis announced that “[Bids] will be passed out on Friday night … [and] we’re doing things a little differently this year. There’s going to be an event on Saturday night in the wellness center … if you receive a bid, turn it in at the Saturday event and the representatives there will record which organization you choose to join.”
During previous years, students joining fraternities, known as pledges, had to hand in the bids they had received the previous night to the Campus Center on Saturday. Junior Vahaken Mouradian, President of Sigma Phi Epsilon, explained “this year, following a decision by the IFC, new fraternity members and pledges were required to hand in their bids to the Greek Life Coordinator at the Saturday night All-Greek event at the Wellness Center.”
Mouradian went on to explain that in the past, pledges only had a couple of hours around noon to hand in their bids to Campus Life. “I believe this [new] process is more appropriate for the aforementioned reasons, and because it provides the opportunity for a potential member to officially join his fraternity of choice in the presence of his new brothers,” he concluded.
The new system was not met with universal acclaim, however. “I personally think it would be better off if we left it the way it was and just included a piece of paper attached to all the bids instructing the new associated what to do if they decided to turn in their bid,” said junior Timothy Dahlstrom of Phi Kappa Tau.
Dahlstrom also voiced concern over the timing of the Wednesday evening meeting. “I thought the information session was poorly designed; I don’t recall seeing any advertisement for it, and they did the session after most of the fraternities already voted on new associates and pledges … Because of the long winter break I don’t think it would be ideal to have the session first term [either].”
Junior Forrest Jackson of Beta Theta Pi also had mixed feelings about the new system, stating “The best part about this new bidding process is that it gives more time for students to consider their bid … but as for the event itself this year … it wasn’t the best.”
Davis explained that the Interfraternity Council has been experimenting with more involvement in the organization of Greek life on campus. “This year, we conducted the meeting as a sort of trial, as IFC has done with a lot of other policy changes this year. I’d personally say the idea was a success, and conducting that info session earlier, say the fall rather than the week of rush week, will be more effective.”
“Of course, not everybody agrees with IFC’s decision to take on a more active role in the pledge process, especially because each chapter is so incredibly unique. Nobody denies that each fraternity has vastly different cultural values, customs, and goals,” Davis continued. “Personally, I don’t see that as a barrier. In fact, the cultural differences in each chapter makes for a much more interesting and dynamic community than some Greek rows you’d see at a big state school. Thus, chapters can reasonably expect to see IFC taking on a larger role in the affairs of the Greek community as a whole in the future.”