On Monday, OAX gave bids to its first pledge class since the majority of Alpha Chi Omega moved off campus and formed the new group in April.
The recruitment process for OAX started in the fall, unlike other sororities on campus. Throughout the semester, the organization held a series of informal events where current members were able to meet prospective members. The new pledge class has 43 members, a reduction from previous classes of around 50 members.
“We wanted to downsize a bit, since now we have a bit more freedom,” the former OAX president, who wanted to remain anonymous, said. Due to the off-campus nature of the organization, all OAX members interviewed for this article wished to keep their identities private.
The group has existed as an off-campus, philanthropic organization since last April after the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life placed 22 sanctions on the sorority. Instead of complying with the seemingly harsh sanctions, however, they almost unanimously decided to deactivate and revoke their charter.
However, OAX’s biggest hesitation moving off campus was recruiting new members.
“By the nature of us being in uncharted territory, we had some concerns about creating a completely new system,” the former OAX rush chair and current president said.
After over 300 girls showed up to the first rush event in September, however, the members were able to relax, “since we knew we could exist in the long term,” the former OAX President said.
A new freshman member of OAX said that the sorority’s off-campus status did not affect her decision to rush.
“I had no reservations going into rush even though OAX is off-campus, and I feel like it’s the place for me,” she said. She added that she knows many girls who exclusively rushed OAX without participating in on-campus rush.
With the freedom to design new recruitment events, OAX decided to focus on creating genuine connections between rushes and current members. The current president said that during events, members spent a much longer time conversing with rushes on an individual basis.
“There was an emphasis on getting to know people on a one-on-one basis,” she said. “We emphasized meeting girls for a much longer period of time instead of having short conversations.”
Despite differences in the process between OAX and on-campus recruitment, the last night of OAX rush, sometimes called preference round, shared similarities with the on-campus process.
Like preference rounds for on-campus recruitment, prospective OAX members agreed to accept a bid should they receive one prior to the actual bid night.
“We wanted to encourage girls to rush both OAX and on-campus sororities” the OAX President said. “We did everything we could to preserve the integrity of on campus recruitment.”
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