Adapting to the new winter rush process brought about by the Student Life Initiative, Greek houses are moving officer elections and keeping past presidents in advisory roles in an effort to keep experienced leaders involved during the crucial rush period.
When rush formerly took place during Fall term, presidents of most houses had been in the position for a year. Greeks then generally elected new leadership in the winter. But winter rush may have changed that.
According to Panhellenic Council President Tasha Francis ’02, five of the six sororities on campus are having both a junior and a senior serve as co-presidents. The remaining sorority, Epsilon Kappa Theta, is keeping its past president on for another term.
Seven of the twelve fraternities have elected to keep their past presidents on for another term. Interfraternity Council President Eric Powers ’02 said, “A lot of houses have rethought whether they want a new slate of officers stepping in the same term as rush.”
“This is a brand”new rush period process,” Francis said, pointing out that former presidents who are helping with planning this year’s rush have experienced rush in previous years.
She said the system is designed to “keep institutional memory” and “make the interim period strong,” reflecting Greek leaders’ sense of rush period as a crucial time for the health of their houses.
Francis characterized this system as an experiment, saying “We’re trying it out for this year and we’ll see how it goes.”
“Frats in which the ’03 class are taking office are keeping the ’02s in a larger advisory role than the past,” Powers said.
Before, senior class ex-presidents would take a “backseat role” after training new officers, according to Powers. He added “with all the changes, the old officers realize their experience is needed now more than ever.”
Alpha Delta President James Colligan ’02 said his house is waiting to change over not only its president, but also all its other positions. The house permanently altered its constitution to change major officers’ terms to last from junior spring through senior winter, instead of junior winter through senior fall.
Alpha Theta President Justin Gary ’02 was very vocal about the damage he says the changed rush period is doing to coed houses.
“It’s definitely hurting the house,” he said. “We’re all pretty much opposed to winter rush.”
Gary said Alpha Theta moved officer elections up to early fall to ensure continuity with rush and its planning process.
He explained that declining membership had already made a “dangerous situation” for houses, which rely on membership dues to fund facilities and events.
“We’re doing our best to compensate,” said Gary. His house is pushing more for new members, taking on more boarders, and making physical changes as a result of waning funds. But, Gary says “there’s not much we can do.”
He added, “This kind of policy is hurting the kind of social environment the College is trying to create.”