A new school year signals more than just the beginning of classes and overflowing parking lots. It is also another opportunity for fraternities and sororities to boost their membership.
Anyone who walked through the University Union Plaza during the first few weeks of the quarter probably passed by a recruitment booth that was swarming with members of the greek community dressed in brightly colored T-shirts adorned with greek letters.
The barbecues and other recruitment events were successful this year. Student Life and Leadership reported that more than 20 percent of the approximate 4,700 new students joined a fraternity or sorority.
Harmony Quismundo-Newman, a graduate assistant for Greek Life and a founding member of Tri Delta, said that building lifelong friendships is not the only reason students decide to pledge.
“What the greek system really presents is a huge network,” Quismundo-Newman said. “Most fraternities and sororities keep track of alumni, which allows them to link up with brothers and sisters later in life.”
About 10 percent of all Cal Poly students belong to a fraternity or sorority.
Greek Life emerged on campus in 1949. The Greek community has grown since then and there are currently three governing councils.
The Interfraternity Council (IFC) is the governing body for the 18 social fraternities. About 315 men have joined the IFC this year.
The Panhellenic Association governs the eight social sororities. Approximately 290 women are new members.
Social fraternities and sororities are those not associated with a particular profession or discipline. Instead, they are designed to develop character and leadership ability among other social purposes.
Nicki Van Vaerenbergh is a business senior and was a recruiting counselor for Alpha Chi Omega during “rush” week. She said more than 400 women participated in the recruiting process.
“Alpha Chi Omega has 50 new members and most houses took around 50,” Van Vaerenbergh said. “It’s nice to have a whole bunch of new girls. It adds variety and diversity to the group.”
Justin Hurst is a business senior in Sigma Nu and said the fraternity has 11 pledges.
“In order to function, we have to pass the fraternity onto the guys. We pour into them beginning when they are freshmen and build them up so that they can lead as seniors,” Hurst said.
The United Sorority and Fraternity Council (USFC) is the governing body for the six multicultural fraternities and five multicultural sororities at Cal Poly. About 55 men and women became new members of the USFC this fall.
USFC was previously known as the Cultural Greek Council (CGC). Quismundo-Newman said the CGC recently switched their name to USFC and added a few more fraternities and sororities because USFC is a more familiar council.
Across the three councils, there are 24 fraternities and 13 sororities available for student participation.
If you missed out on fall recruitment but are still interested in joining a fraternity or sorority, you do not have to wait until next fall; some of the groups hold winter recruitment and spring recruitment is another option.