A plethora of students attempted to go greek last week during a rush that has seen no parallel in over a decade.
UCSB Greek Affairs Director Stephan Franklin said this year’s recruitment has been the largest he has witnessed since he assumed his position in 2000.
“We would have to go back to the early ’90s to have numbers that would even come close to these,” Franklin said.
In addition to the excitement of last week, rush begins this week for a few other greek organizations that are separate from the Inter-Fraternity Council and the Collegiate Panhellenic Conference. It also begins for the recently chartered Kappa Sigma fraternity. Because it is a new fraternity, Kappa Sigma must go through a probationary period this quarter before it can rush during the same week as the other IFC fraternities.
Rush registration increased this year by approximately 175 students for both fraternities and sororities, Franklin said.
“For instance, [during] women’s rush last year we had 376 registered for sorority recruitment,” Franklin said. “This year we had 559. For men it’s pretty much the same.”
Kappa Kappa Gamma Sorority President Marissa Sangalang, a fourth-year political science major, said recruitment has run smoothly despite the dramatic increase in numbers.
“I know a lot of people have been freaking out because there have been more girls going through,” Sangalang said. “But that just means our greek system will be that much more active.”
Franklin said a combination of contributing factors caused the increase, but he mainly attributed the high numbers to the marketing and advertising efforts of the IFC and the CPC executive boards.
“I had excellent executive boards for Panhellenic and IFC,” Franklin said. “They marketed well this summer.”
Franklin said the large freshmen class also could have caused numbers to go up, especially since some of their parents were members of greek life in the late 1970s and early 1980s – a time period during which there was a similar increase in greek membership.
“Every year we have a bigger freshman class, so we anticipate having more students wanting to be a part of greek life,” Franklin said. “There was a greek upswing in the late seventies and early eighties, and these are the children of those who chose to go greek back then.”
Although greek life incorporates only 10 percent of the UCSB campus, Franklin said, UCSB fraternities and sororities still make a substantial difference on campus and in the local community.
“With this 10 percent, we carve out our niche on this campus and by and large it is a productive niche,” Franklin said. “There are leaders all around this campus. … Greeks are everywhere.”
For sororities and fraternities that are members of the CPC and the IFC, rush concluded last Saturday. However, a few greek organizations will hold recruitment later this fall, including organizations that are ethnicity-based, independent from the IFC and the CPC. Included in the late rush is Kappa Sigma fraternity.
As standard procedure, Kappa Sigma, which received its charter at UCSB on June 10, 2006, must begin rush Oct. 2. The fraternity started as a colony at the beginning of the 2005-06 school year.
Kappa Sigma Grand Master Scott Spain, a senior sociology and history double major, said he does not consider the late rush a setback.
“I feel confident because now the new students have moved in and have gotten the chance to get to know the campus,” Spain said. “It’s a really exciting thing to be part of a frat that we basically put together ourselves and built on things that we feel are important.”
Aside from the flurry of rush, Franklin said the university has introduced a new accreditation system that will be used each quarter to monitor the scholarship, community service, workshop attendance and risk management of all fraternities and sororities. The university officially implemented the system Spring Quarter 2006.
“It’s a report card of sorts they get every quarter just like they get their academic report cards,” Franklin said.
In addition, Franklin said the Pi Kappa Alpha (Pike) fraternity, which was on social probation at the conclusion of Spring Quarter 2006 for risk management violations, is no longer under university scrutiny.
“They are not on probation as of right now,” Franklin said. “They have had some difficulties and they understand that we need to see a different Pike than we have seen in the past.”
While many are eager to join the greek system this year, UCSB has sent students a warning not to join two fraternities – Lambda Phi Epsilon and Sigma Chi – who lost their university recognition due to recurrent risk management violations. An e-mail was sent out last week discouraging students from participating in activities with these organizations because of the dangerous environment they create.
“They had a history with this institution of violating risk management,” Franklin said. “With considerable warning to change their ways, they refused to do such. Therefore, their campus recognition was removed.”
Franklin said Lambda Phi Epsilon, which lost its recognition in winter 2005, and Sigma Chi, which lost its recognition in spring 2006, are still operating in Isla Vista independent of the university.
Franklin said the two fraternities are not eligible to regain their recognition until they comply with university demands. At that point, they are required to wait four years before they can apply for reinstatement.
“Until these organizations cooperate by removing their letters down from Isla Vista, by not recruiting from our campus community and not holding social events, then we will not consider their reinstatement.”