Fraternities affiliated with the Interfraternity Council celebrated their new pledge classes by holding off-campus parties Saturday night, a change from hosting parties on The Row.
The new bid night rules come as a university decision to enforce a moratorium on fraternity parties until after the rushing process is over, in hopes of improving the Greek system’s image and reducing safety risks and costs.
Though the new regulations affected the usual rush process, IFC President Ofek Lavian said the new policy attracts more noble pledges.
“On one hand, less kids might have known about or been excited about rush because there weren’t any pre-rush parties,” Lavian said. “However, on the contrary, I think that there were more kids coming out for the right reasons and joining a house for the brotherhood, rather than for that one crazy night they had at a party.”
Leaders in individual fraternities were also optimistic about the new rules. Lambda Chi Alpha President Ryan Kerr said the lack of parties ensured event attendees during rush were serious about joining fraternities.
“I honestly think the entire rush process ran better without the pre-rush parties,” Kerr said. “Those parties encouraged guys who had no plans to rush to crash parties, which sometimes caused them to get out of hand. We still ended up with a great pledge class and were still able to have a great bid night for them.”
Bids were sent out electronically Saturday, and those who accepted a bid participated in bid night events later that night. Historically, fraternities have hosted large parties to celebrate the new pledge classes and the end of the moratorium. But because new university rules prohibit bid-night parties on The Row, fraternities threw off-campus events.
“In terms of bid night, I think that at first, people don’t like change,” Lavian said. “But I think it’s getting to be more interesting — parties are something we do all of the time, and so having a party on bid night is not very special. Now, frats have to think about how to make bid night special and how to do something different.”
Not all Greeks were thrilled about the new regulations preventing them from partying during the first two weeks of school. Sarah Brooks, a sophomore majoring in human biology and a member of the Delta Gamma sorority, said the cancellation of pre-rush parties not only affected the fraternity rush process, but the entire Greek community as a whole.
“It’s really unfortunate that the university decided to cancel pre-rush parties, because they’re a fun way to kick off the new semester and see everyone again before getting back to the grind of the school year,” Brooks said. “Plus, it helps the guys going through rush to see what a typical night at that house is like, and girls have a chance to meet the potential new fraternity members.”
Greek leaders agree that the new terms can help improve relations between the university and the Greek system. Sigma Chi Vice President Hayden Wolf said that Greek leaders want to cooperate with the university in hopes of regaining some of its privileges.
“We want to have normal social privileges before rush, but we are also willing to compromise with the university by not throwing the blowout type of events the pre-rush used to be known for,” Wolf said. “I think the new IFC administration will allow for the Greek system to regain some of its past liberties by focusing on individual houses rather than allowing the entire Greek system to be punished by the university.”
The Dept. of Public Safety tracks and monitors the number of students transported to the hospital as a result of toxic levels of alcohol consumption, according to DPS Capt. David Carlisle. Over the weekend, significantly fewer students were transported to the hospital than during rush in the Fall 2012 semester, according to Carlisle, though it’s unclear whether that was because of the new policy.
“During fall semester we had 86 alcohol transports,” Carlisle said. “During this weekend we had one, but I don’t know if that is completely related to the cancellation of bid night.”
In this academic year, the number of alcohol-related hospital transports is the same as the total number of students taken to the hospital throughout the entire 2011-12 academic year.
Lavian, for one, felt the significant decrease in alcohol incidents made the rush process much smoother.
“The lack of incidents during rush is actually one of the biggest triumphs that this Greek system and IFC board has seen,” Lavian said. “That’s something we can all be proud of.”