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Rushing around: Miami students go Greek in large numbers

By Olivia Braude
On January 30, 2014

Formal recruitment for Miami University's more than 40 Greek chapters began this week with both fraternities and sororities attracting large numbers of interested students.

In fact, with 1,300 female students signed up, senior PanHellenic Vice President of Public Relations Kat Davies said this is the largest sorority recruitment turnout Miami has seen.

Clare Noone, senior vice president of recruitment for PanHellenic, said the numbers have been rising for the past five years in part due to the growing first-year class size, but also because of the wide array of opportunities the chapters offer.

"We really want our community to grow as big as it can get," Noone said.

Beginning with a kick-off event held Thursday Jan. 30, formal sorority recruitment will take place over the next two weekends.

Potential new members - known as PNMs - can expect to go through four rounds that focus on the five pillars of Greek life, Davies said. The first round is the welcome round and PNMs will visit all 16 participating sororities. The next round is sisterhood, followed by the philanthropy round then concluding with preference round where the PNMs will rank their top choices in the hopes of receiving a mutually selective bid.

The first-year and sophomore women involved in the recruitment process can expect the next two weekends to be nothing short of hectic, according to Noone.

"It's usually pretty exhausting," Noone said about the sometimes day-long events.

However, Davies said the girls who signed up for recruitment should have some idea about the time commitment, which varies based on how many invitations a girl receives back to a chapter after each round.

"I'm not too nervous to meet new people but it's the time commitment," sophomore PNM Laura Burger said.

Burger's concern is shared by fellow sophomore PNM Alannah McBreen, who said she worries about keeping up with schoolwork, but nevertheless is excited to meet new people and gain new friends through the process.   

Going Greek is an excellent way to expand a friendship circle, according to Austin Estes the Interfraternity Council Vice President of Recruitment, who said his favorite part of joining a fraternity was meeting a large group of new people.

"I think it makes Miami a much smaller campus." Estes said.

Formal recruitment for the men is a four-day process that began Monday Jan. 28, according to Estes. The chapters hold open houses and the first-years, sophomores and few juniors who are going through recruitment visit the houses of their choice in the hopes of receiving a bid.  How many male students are rushing?

According to Estes, fraternities begin giving bids as early as the first day of recruitment and once a bid is accepted, the PNM can stop visiting the various houses and get to know his new brothers.

 "I like to equate it to a three- or four-hour credit course," Estes said, regarding the time commitment of formal recruitment.

The members PNMs? will participate in mandatory study tables, hosting and attending events, and getting to know the existing members and members of their pledge class. 

This year, Estes said, 900 Miami men are going through recruitment, which is slightly less than the 1,000 who signed up last year.

Estes said this drop may be due to the $20 registration fee, but the Interfraternity Council also has to turn away students who do not meet the 2.5 GPA requirement and those who have not passed at least 12 credit hours.  

Similar to fraternities, Miami's sororities have participation requirements. According to Miami's PanHellenic Association's Website, women must have completed 12 semester hours and maintained a 2.5 GPA.

Academics, according to Noone, are an important part of Greek life.

"The most surprising thing was how much bigger Greek life is than the social aspects of it," Noone said, pointing out the commitment to philanthropy and the high standards of academic achievement to which chapters hold their members.

According to the Cliff Alexander Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life website, Miami's Greek community, both sororities and fraternities, has a higher GPA than the non-affiliated community.

 Despite the craziness of recruitment, Davies, Estes and Noone agree that going Greek was the right decision for them.

"I don't think what I realized before joining a sorority was that I was looking for a place I could call home," Davies said.

 The 2014 recruitment process will give a couple thousand participating underclassmen letters to wear proudly, lifelong friendships, and a new place to call home on Miami's campus.  

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