According to data collected by Sorority and Fraternity Life at the University of South Dakota, 319 students joined Greek life in the fall of 2014. Fraternities picked up 173 new members, while sororities added 146 women.
Spring recruitment is expected to have a much smaller recruiting turnout. Its numbers are never big, but it plays a unique role in the Greek calendar.
Junior Kappa Alpha Theta member Alexa Moeller said spring replaces students who decided Greek life might not be for them.
“In the fall is when we have our formal recruitment process, and that’s when chapters have to meet certain totals. That’s where we have the biggest numbers of women go through recruitment,” Moeller said. “Spring recruitment is kind of if women drop after the first semester, we’re trying to refill that total.”
For fraternities, spring recruitment is much less structured and is usually intended to pick up men who have visited houses throughout the fall semester. Junior Sigma Alpha Epsilon member Kellen Hempel said spring recruitment is less organized and has lower expectations.
“In the spring — I guess, historically — it’s been pretty low key,” Hempel said. “It’s kind of just like a free-for-all. We don’t really have huge expectations for numbers in the spring, so we kind of just recruit really sporadically.”
Spring recruitment is mostly organized by individual chapters, Moeller said.
“Individual chapters operate on their own basis and have certain little get-togethers and parties,” she said. “I know there was a chapter who had an ice cream social where potential new members could come and get to know the women in that house, and then they informally can offer that woman a bid card to their chapter.”
Even though much of spring recruitment is informal and chapter-based, there was one big organized event called Meet the Greeks earlier this month. Sororities and fraternities experienced success with it and would like to make Meet the Greeks an annual spring event.
“Since the Meet the Greeks went so successfully this spring, we’re going to try to keep that going,” Hempel said.
There are more structured events that resemble Meet the Greeks in fall recruitment, Hempel said.
“In the fall, it’s really structured, it’s really laid out,” Hempel said. “We have very set bylaws to handle the formal recruitment period.”
Moeller said sororities run on a tight schedule during fall recruitment.
“In the fall, it’s extremely structured to the point where we have time schedules, and if we don’t operate on those time schedules, there could be infractions involved,” Moeller said.
The structure and order of fall recruitment has to do with the goals of the recruitment period, Hempel said.
“For the fall, it’s been more of a quantity-based recruitment. And we’re kind of transitioning into switching it up more to a quality greets quantity dynamic,” Hempel said.
Moeller said spring recruitment is about finding students who fell through the cracks in the fall.
“Fall is really trying to reach those totals that our individual chapters have set for themselves and then spring is getting back to that point and trying to catch those potential new members, both sorority and fraternity, that maybe have fallen through the cracks in fall recruitment,” Moeller said.
First-year Peyton Stearns, who joined Delta Tau Delta this spring, had a different experience.
Stearns joined Tau Kappa Epsilon during the fall, but dropped it.
“I felt that Delt was a better home for me,” Stearns said.
Stearns said the whole process of joining Delta Tau Delta went smooth for him.
“It was really easy — I had been to their house before previously, in the fall. I got to know the guys, and then they kind of just brought me into a room and gave me a bid card,” Stearns said. “It was just like, ‘Hey, we really like you, we think you fit the fraternity really well.’”
(Photo: Sophomore Kristyn Bahr, left, and first-year Lyzz Smith, right, celebrate Smith’s bid into Kappa Alpha Theta. Submitted photo / The Volante)