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Nearly halfway through pledging -- or the new-member education program -- Penn's 29 fraternities and seven sororities have attracted more pledges than last year, according to the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Affairs. Although there have been greater numbers of pledges this year than in recent years, there are still ways in which Greek recruitment can be improved -- OFSA is evaluating this year's process to make next year a better experience. The 320 new members of Penn's sororities are fairly evenly distributed across the seven chapters, which OFSA Associate Director for Programming Lea Shafer attributed to the standardized recruitment that requires women to evaluate each sorority during rush. Of all of the 425 new fraternity members, pledge classes range from "a few to 31," according to OFSA Director Scott Reikofski. These numbers are up significantly from previous years -- in 2000, there were just 378 new members. Fraternity pledges across the Quadrangle testified that, while new-member education has not been as bad as initially anticipated, it has virtually eliminated any free time from their lives. "It's pretty much hand-in-hand with what I was expecting," said College freshman Matt Aquino, a Delta Kappa Epsilon pledge. "It's a hell of a commitment -- it's so spontaneous when the activities happen." "It's definitely more of a commitment than I thought before," said College freshman Byron Drumheller, a Beta Theta Pi pledge. "It's just a lot of time. I haven't been doing work for my classes, so that's not a good thing." College freshman Robbie Biggs, a pledge for the Delta Kappa Epsilon fraternity, mentioned an all-night scavenger hunt that ended at 5 a.m. "It's time-consuming, but it's a lot of fun -- nothing too tough," Biggs said. "It's not as difficult as I expected, but it is more time-consuming." In terms of how recruitment may change for next year, it seems that the sorority rush and pledge process will be tweaked more than fraternity recruitment. "Every year, Panhellenic looks at recruitment, and... we're in the process of re-evaluating and figuring out what we want to change," Shafer said. "There will be changes. It'll still be a mutual selection process, it'll still be formalized and facilitated through Panhellenic completely, but there will be subtle changes." Reikofski indicated that the most significant modification of fraternity rush will involve a more well-organized registration system. This year marked the return of the mandatory $5 fee to participate in fraternity rush events -- while all pledges have now paid the fee, many rushees who did not receive bids were able to evade payment. "It will be more sophisticated and better organized as far as the registration process goes, and that will lead to more effective communication," Reikofski said. "Other than that, there won't be many changes in the process. "We did a significant amount of proactive education last semester that we had never done before, and we're hopeful that it is going to translate into a better experience for all those going though it," Reikofski added. "And if people have feedback or it's not the experience it should be, we should hear it."

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