Fraternity rush draws record numbers

Growing interest in Greek life at Penn may also be indicative of national trend

· February 2, 2012, 10:12 pm   ·  Updated February 7, 2012, 12:45 am

Interest in joining fraternities among Penn students is on the rise.

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With 762 registered students and 595 bids offered, this year’s fraternity rush numbers marked an all-time high at the University, according to Office of Student Affairs/Fraternity Sorority Life Director Scott Reikofski.

This year’s total number of rushes was roughly 200 more than normal, said College junior and Interfraternity Council President David Shapiro. The overall bid total also marked a 7-percent increase over last year’s numbers.

Reikofski described this year’s trends as unusual.

“These numbers often fluctuate by a percentage point or two, but they have remained pretty consistent for the past 20 years,” he said.

Despite the dramatic increase in the number of students rushing this semester, there were no added logistical difficulties for the fraternity system, Shapiro said.

“I did not really notice the difference. We have a pretty large Greek system for a school our size,” he said. “I think the increased rush numbers allowed some of the larger fraternities to fulfill their quota, while allowing smaller fraternities to grow to a size they had envisioned.”

Shapiro added that he is uncertain as to why bid numbers increased by 7 percent, calling it a “chapter-by-chapter analysis.”

“Overall, I think that it’s important to involve a lot of kids in Greek life and I am glad we’re doing that,” he said, emphasizing that the IFC places no caps or quotas on the maximum or minimum number of bids that a fraternity can extend.

Presidents of individual fraternities said the increases in the number of rushes during open rush was not especially noticeable this year.

Wharton and Engineering junior Parker Schabel, who is president of Pi Kappa Alpha, said that although his fraternity received a fairly stable number of open rushes this year, they admitted their largest pledge class in around 15 years.

According to data provided by OSA/FSL on Jan. 27, Pi Kappa Alpha offered 25 bids this semester, 24 of which were accepted on bid night.

“It’s definitely putting some pressure on the fraternity, because so far we have been very close-knit, and we’re all friends,” Schabel said. “It will be different with a bigger class, though.”

Engineering junior Christian Mirabile, president of Phi Gamma Delta, also known as Fiji, added that his fraternity “doesn’t play a numbers game” with other chapters in deciding how many bids to offer.

“Some fraternities like to extend 30 to 40 bids, but we like a smaller class,” he said. “All the bids given out have to be unanimous among the brothers.”

According to the OSA/FSL data, Fiji gave out 15 bids this semester, of which all 15 were accepted on bid night.

Shapiro attributed this year’s general increases to renewed outreach efforts by the Greek community.

“It’s testament to the strength and relevance of the Greek community,” he said. “We have quite a significant presence on this campus.”

Reikofski added that this year’s rising numbers are indicative of growing interest in Greek life at college campuses nationwide.

“At Penn, interest may be growing because at the end of the day, Penn is a big place,” he said. “Being in a fraternity reduces the size of this institution.”

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