As pledges embark on their journey to brotherhood, the Multicultural Greeks are just gearing up for recruitment.
However the MGCs operate within very different systems than the Panhellenic and Interfraternity Council chapters.
Some sororities and fraternities under the Multicultural Greek Council are recruiting this semester, operating within very different systems than the Panhellenic and Inter-Fraternity Councils.
There are currently 11 active MGC fraternities and sororities with a total membership of 135 students. Each organization follows the individual recruitment processes of their national chapters. Wharton and College junior Peixin Mo, the president of the MGC, explained that the ways in which MGC groups find new members are incredibly diverse.
Kenneth Jones, program coordinator at the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life, said that for the majority of multicultural Greeks, the decision to recruit falls to the individual chapter. This is one aspect that makes the MGC unique, he explained.
This is true of Delta Sigma Theta, for example, one of Penn’s black interest sororities. President and Wharton senior Mahu Attenoukon explained how the chapter will soon be voting on whether or not to recruit this spring. “It is all about what is best for the chapter at the time,” she explained, outlining factors such as how many current members will be graduating.
Alpha Phi Alpha, a city-wide black interest fraternity, is also considering recruitment this semester. Chapter president and College senior and master of public administration candidate Ike Onyeador explained that recruitment will begin this month, “if it happens.” This would consist of three weekends of workshops with Alpha Phi Alpha’s Philadelphia chapter, which draws from all class years, he said. He noted, however, that “if the interest level isn’t appropriate, it won’t happen.”
One of the reasons that recruitment is not a given for the MGC is the relatively small size of their fraternities and sororities. While the IFC’s average new member class this spring was 14.5 students and Panhel’s was 57 — not including Alpha Delta Pi’s 150 new bids — Jones estimated that the average MGC spring new member class would be between five and 10.
Onyeador, who is one of two Penn students and nine total students in Alpha Phi Alpha’s citywide chapter, said that joining such a small organization can be daunting for some because it requires a larger time commitment.
Some MGC Greeks are following recruitment processes more similar to Panhel and the IFC, Andie Cuartero, Wharton junior and president of the Asian-interest sorority alpha Kappa Delta Phi, explained. aKDPhi’s recruitment is “patterned over Panhellenic,” she said, consisting of a week of open events which will begin on Feb. 24, before two “more intimate” closed events.
The sorority, with a current membership of 33 women , is still very different in size from Panhel groups, and Cuartero said that means “our identity in general is very different.” She emphasized particularly how being comparatively small means that everyone is “very close knit,” adding that the sorority “really evolves” with every new member class.
Size does have a downside in terms of visibility, Attenoukon noted. “There’s a mysterious cloud around the MGC,” she said, attributing this in part to each chapter’s decentralized recruitment style. She explained that visibility is an area that all MGC groups are hoping to expand. “We’re a small community but we have so much to offer,” she said.
Jones outlined that this semester, the MGC will be aiming to raise awareness of their presence on campus by hosting an event called Rush MGC on Feb. 19 in Claudia Cohen Hall. All MGC fraternities and sororities will be present for prospective members to come and familiarize themselves with the chapters, he said.
This past fall, MGC organizations recruited a total of 20 new members, but Jones said he expects the overall numbers for this spring’s recruitment to be significantly larger.
Despite their size, there are many other ways in which MGC organizations are finding new recruits. For example, Lambda Theta Alpha, one of Penn’s Latino interest sororities, recruits using an interest group. This group sources members from both Penn and Temple University, which is also part of the sorority’s chapter. It also holds weekly meetings to organize things like philanthropy events. This semester’s interest group, which currently consists of approximately 13 women, held its first meeting last night. College senior and the chapter’s orientation advisor Diana Estrada-Alamo said that interest group membership is “very fluid” and that anyone “can come in and out” during the year.
Members of the interest group submit applications if they want to formally join the sorority, which the chapter leaders review if they decide to recruit new members, Estrada-Alamo explained. After recruiting four women in spring 2013, Estrada-Alamo said that the sorority will not be recruiting this semester as they will be focusing instead on getting their alumni chapters more involved.
Even though their recruitment process does not follow the formal standards of the rest of the Greek community, MGC members are highly enthusiastic about their organizations and their years at Penn. “We pride ourselves on our lifetime commitment,” Attenoukon said.