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Students rush to go Greek

by Frankie Olito / Beacon Staff • October 6, 2011

, Beacon Correspondent/strong

Freshman Mary Kate Nyland squeezed her way into the apartment, crammed with countless other students vying for a shot at Kappa Gamma Chi sisterhood.

She said the rushees separated into small groups with sisters, going from room to room in a Kappa  member’s apartment.

“It was a really, really crowded apartment,” the marketing communication major said. “I thought that the sisters were all really nice and welcoming and open to everything we had to say.”

Nyland is not alone in the race to rush Greek life. Rushing, the act of presenting yourself to Greek life members in hopes of receiving an invitation to join a fraternity or sorority, has become increasingly popular among Emerson students.

Kappa Gamma Chi saw a 30 percent increase in students rushing this semester, according to President Kate Hefler.

Zeta Phi Eta, a co-ed fraternity, had 45 members rush this semester, compared with 30 students last year, according to its President Ruby Honerkamp.

The 42 students invited to rush Phi Alpha Tau, a fraternity, nearly double last year’s crop, President Maxwell Peters said.

Additionally, Alpha Epsilon Phi, a sorority, had 140 girls sign up to rush at the Organization Fair, and 60 stayed interested throughout the rushing process, said Abby Peel, the public relations officer for the chapter.

“There was an insane increase from my year to this year,” said Peel, a journalism major, who joined the sorority last semester.

Nikki Werner, president of the Greek Life Council, confirmed the increase in the amount of students rushing.

“There was a big difference,” Werner, a performing arts major, said of the increase. “Exponential.”

The largest freshman class the college has seen is one contributing factor to the inflation of Greek life interest. According to Adena Killian, a spokeswoman for MJ Knoll-Finn, the senior administrative associate in the admissions office, the class of 2015 has 914 students, while the class of 2014 class had 825 entering freshman.

Werner and Jason Meier, director of student activities, said the increase in numbers creates a space problem for Greek life events both now and in the future.

According to Peel, Alpha Epsilon Phi hosted rushing events twice, making some interested students wait up to an hour to enter an event because of limited space.

Because the chapters do not live together in a fraternity or sorority house, their space is limited to the facilities on campus. Meier said he fears that soon, the campus won’t be able to accommodate all of the fraternities and sororities.

“After a while they won’t be able to fit in the Bordy [Theater],” Meier said.

In addition to the larger freshman class size, Peel said social media could have played a role in bringing in more interested students. She created a new website for Alpha Epsilon Phi which received 1000 hits within its first month.

Other chapters also used Twitter as a recruitment tool. Alpha Epsilon Phi’s Twitter account has 160 followers; Kappa Gamma Chi has 258 followers, while Zeta Phi Eta has 99 followers. With the help of Twitter, Tumblr, and Facebook, Greek life organizations were able to recruit to a wider audience.

Werner said she believes the growth of Greek life at Emerson is a positive asset for the college.

“Greek life has done a 180,” she said. “A more diverse group is becoming apart of Greek life every semester.”