Weighing in on Greek life: Recruitment should ‘chill’ in January

Staff Editorial

Greek life forms a unique — and, according to The Princeton Review, an especially positive — aspect of the “Transylvania experience” for many students. Our Greek organizations enjoy the membership of well over half of the campus population. And these members are involved in many diverse activities around campus, contributing through service on campus and in the area at large and through social involvement in our community.

Greek life, of course, is dependent on getting new members through recruitment. It is the position of The Rambler’s editorial board that recruitment as it stands, however, needs reform; indeed, it should be moved to January, rather than September.

The university has decided to implement an August term, largely in order to assist in the transition to college life, and to distinguish the “Transy brand.”

Moving recruitment to January would fit in with this objective, further allowing first-years to explore the many options for involvement at Transylvania and to invest in their academic life without the stress of Greek recruitment.

Many schools, such as Centre and Georgetown Colleges, have options for later recruitment, and their Greek organizations do not appear to have suffered unduly.

Shifting recruitment to January would require other changes. Rules about social interactions between Greek students and “potential new members” would have to be relaxed, if not altogether abandoned. An entire term of special curfews and restrictive rules would undermine the entire goal of strengthening campus community.

These reduced restrictions, however, would greatly lessen the burden on the Panhellenic and Interfraternity Councils, as these bodies would have more time to plan recruitment events, less need to police violations and fewer “advantages” for organizations with early-arrived members, such as athletes, admissions ambassadors, student orientation leaders and residential advisers.

The difficulties with such a shift are numerous. As noted, rules about proper recruitment would need serious revision. Recruitment in the winter would create major limitations on outdoor events like cookouts, which are a recruitment staple.

Most pressing, delaying membership for first-years would delay their attainment of full membership, which could exclude them from leadership roles in some organizations. Thus, this change would limit access to what has traditionally been a major engine of leadership development at Transylvania: Greek offices.

However, these obstacles can be overcome. The reduced cost for new members, due to being only in the organization for one term, could potentially increase recruitment. New events more friendly to cold weather can easily be developed. Fewer leadership opportunities for first-years in Greek life could provide a new crop of leaders for other organizations on campus, creating a more developed culture of involvement.

In sum, though there are definite obstacles to be overcome for a winter recruitment, its potential for easing the transition to college life for first-years, reducing the work for Greek organizations themselves and diversifying the leadership of the campus all serve to convince The Rambler’s editorial board that it is an issue worth debating.

The Rambler’s Editorial Board is comprised of Editor-in-Chief Erin Brock, Managing Editor Jake Hawkins, Opinion Editor Lyman Stone and Photo Editor Katelynn Ralston.

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