Changes to Greek life for 2015-2016

Samantha Sigler, Associate editor

Deferred recruitment will be enacted at Linfield College beginning in the 2015-2016 academic school year.

Having a deferred recruitment on campus will mean first-year students will not be able to go through recruitment for Greek life until the beginning of spring semester. Transfer students, sophomores, juniors and seniors will be able to go through recruitment in the fall.

“Being on executive board last year and hearing about deferred recruitment as a possibility, we were under the impression that the change wouldn’t happen until spring 2017,” said junior Katie Rees, archon of Phi Sigma Sigma sorority. “Because of this assumption, we are a little unprepared. It was a big change in such a short amount of time. My executive board is doing what they can to prepare.”

While some Greek life members were in favor of waiting before implementing deferred recruitment at Linfield College, faculty members decided a deferred recruitment would fit in with three other first-year student changes being enacted next year, including an improved colloquium, strategically designed Jan. term programs for first-year students and improved pre-orientation programs.

“That design is put in place to really get students engaged on the McMinnville campus and to get essentially a first semester of what it’s like to be a college student while being a college student,” said Dan Fergueson, director of college activities.

“As we did some research and saw what some of our sister institutions across the region were doing [like University of Puget Sound and Willamette University], it seemed like the ideal time to also change to a deferred recruitment strategy all at once instead of rolling out this program change one year and then the next year having deferred recruitment too,” Fergueson said.

Several benefits of a deferred recruitment system include having overall higher retention rates at the college, an increase in first-year student GPAs and allowing first-year students to gain a better understand of who they are before deciding if Greek life is right for them, according to Fergueson.

“As a whole, Phi Sigma Sigma was a little thrown off,” said Rees. “But that is a natural reaction to change. We are in the process of adjusting and making the best of it.”

However, there are still concerns among current Greek life members that a deferred recruitment system will hurt more than it will help.

“My initial reaction to the change was that this would be good, it would give us a chance to get to know potential recruits better and give freshman a chance to settle into their classes before they rush a fraternity,” said junior Nick Konen, president of Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity. “I still support it for those reasons, but some of my concerns about what will come with the change is freshmen basing their decisions on what fraternity to join off of parties.”

There is also much concern that having a deferred recruitment will impact on Greek life financially.

“I am also worried what it will do to our finances,” Konen said. “We are used to rushing big numbers in the fall, which is where we get most of our finances to pay off our house, to pay our national organizations and to pay for events, but without a big rush class we are going to have to budget for an entire year with a significantly lower budget.”

The budgetary issue is a real concern, according to Fergueson, and restructuring it will be necessary since the fraternities and sororities will have fewer active members in the fall than normally anticipated.

“The change is pretty sudden,” said Angela Butterfield, risk management and LPC delegate chair for Sigma Kappa Phi. “From a financial point of view, it may be tough because most of our new members in the fall are freshman. But the college and administration is really helping create a smooth transition.”

Because Sigma Kappa Phi will not participate in formal recruitment in the 2015-2016 academic year, it will not impact their sorority as much as the other chapters. However, it has put them in a position where re-joining formal recruitment is a possibility, according to Butterfield.

“I think on campus both sides can see the positives and negatives of [deferred recruitment] and see how it may impact their recruitment, especially for the first 18 months,” Fergueson said. “It’s never easy to change and I’m not going to say this is an easy little change…the office’s and college’s goal is to make this a positive change and have a successful transition with it.”