As Otterbein fraternities and sororities wrap up their recruitment period, the hard decisions come to the surface for the leaders of these Greek life organizations. For many hopeful potential new members, this is their opportunity to meet new people, join philanthropy, and be involved on campus.
With the national interest in Greek life growing, including those who aren’t even college students, with many interested in the videos of SEC sorority’s Rush Week, there’s a growing interest in the glitz and glamour of Greek life on college campuses.
At Otterbein, where 25% of the 2,253 undergraduate student enrollment participates in Greek life, there are pros and cons to joining a sorority or fraternity.
“With it being smaller, it takes away that benefit of having more networks and connections throughout the world,” says Jenna Davies, a new members educator at Kappa Phi Omega. At a smaller school like Otterbein, the future professional opportunities are almost nonexistent for members of Greek life, especially for out of state students. This makes it hard for smaller schools, because potential job opportunities are a major reason for joining Greek life at bigger schools.
Still, there are plenty of pros. At smaller schools, the fees are much smaller than they would be at other schools. Smaller Greek life organizations also mean more opportunity to get to know the other members on a personal level, rather than merely by membership status.
“It’s nice that it’s a really small group of people who actually just want to be there for each other,” says Davies.
Fraternities are also promoting the benefits of Greek life on smaller campuses.
“From my perspective, is I feel like a lot of fraternities on big campuses are more pushed to drinking and stuff.” says Beau Burtscher, Interfraternity council social chair and Pi Kappa Phi President. “Kind of the motto that we have always been around is we’re not a place that’s just going to be open on Saturday. We want to be open seven days a week.”
Recently, Otterbein sororities and fraternities are even seeing members of the opposite gender taking interest in their organizations. This would create a boost in diversity that Otterbein Greek life organizations have been lacking.
Even with the push to promote Greek life at Otterbein, many are seeing a decrease in the amount of potential new members.
“For potential new members, it is a lot less than we’ve had in the past few years,” says Davies. The quick turnaround between the start of classes and the recruitment period doesn’t give first year students much time to adjust to their classes before expecting them to partake in rush activities.
As Otterbein Greek life’s recruitment period wraps up and the organizations begin to look at their goals for the rest of the semester, their work to incorporate these new members starts, training them to pass along the values of their fraternity or sorority when the upperclassmen graduate.