A large freshman class forced the Panhellenic Council to make changes in the recruitment process this year, but the overall number of pledges remained consistent with previous years.
Panhellenic recruitment ended with 575 women receiving bids from eight sororities this past Tuesday, making this year’s recruitment the largest in Cal Poly’s history.
“We started with 785 women,” said Danielle Durante, public relations director for the Panhellenic Council, which manages sorority life on campus. “Five hundred seventy-five of them accepted bids.”
The dropout number was larger than usual, but Cal Poly officials haven’t yet collected data to determine why.
“Sometimes students get discouraged throughout the week,” she said. “It’s a long week, they might not get the house they want, and there were so many girls. A million different things can fall into place.”
Despite the increased numbers, traditional recruitment rituals continued smoothly. Greek life coordinator Diego Silva said the success was partly because of open communication across the Panhellenic Council and various outside resources.
“We built a lot of relationships,” he said. “We had lots of national help; volunteer advisers came in to make sure everything ran smoothly.”
Women began recruitment activities on Sept. 28 and spent three days visiting houses, learning about the organizations and ultimately narrowing it down to one sorority on Sept. 30 — known as “Pref Night.”
Pref Night saw the biggest impact of the large class, Durante said. Traditionally, students would narrow their choices down to two houses and visit only those two for the night. This year, the groups of women were split into three groups because of their size.
“The girls still went to two houses, but some of them had a break in between the two,” Durante said. “We had to do it that way to split the girls into groups of 60.”
The smallest pledge class this year was 67, but Durante said she’s starting to see their numbers plateau.
“We’re still increasing in number,” she said. “But we’re finally starting to see it slow down and even out.”
Panhellenic Council hopes to bring one more chapter on to Cal Poly’s campus in the next two years, Durante said, and hopefully reduce the pledge class sizes to between 50 and 60 women. This year’s largest pledge class was 75. That was in Cal Poly’s newest chapter: Kappa Kappa Gamma.
The larger pledge classes could pose a challenge because of new-member education greek life must participate in.
“Sororities are now going to have a challenge to make sure they have healthy new member education programs,” Silva said.
New members will go through education programs throughout the quarter, with initiations happening throughout the year.
If students are still interested in going greek, most Panhellenic organizations offer informal recruitment in the winter and spring. Students interested in greek life should contact members of the Panhellenic Council or Silva.
Correction: An earlier version of this post stated all nine Panhellenic sororities issued bids on Oct. 1, though one of the nine — Alpha Epsilon Phi — is slated to give out their bids this upcoming Friday. Because of this, eight gave out bids this past week.