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Informal fraternity recruitment allows for flexiblity

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Greek Discovery Day 2017

Greek life has taken Oklahoma State’s campus by storm this week with sorority formal rush that a new school year brings.

Lost in the shuffle, however, is the experience that the men go through to join the fraternities at OSU. Unlike the compact and heavily-organized weeklong formal process the women encounter, the fraternity recruitment process is more casual. It takes place during the summer with the unofficial beginning on Greek Discovery Day. Recruitment also occurs year-round, as the 23 fraternities at OSU are always looking for new members.

Ival Gregory, assistant director of Fraternity and Sorority Affairs at OSU, was a freshman rushee in 1968. That was two years before OSU moved to the informal style of recruitment. Gregory described the process as far different from what it is now.

“As a participant (of formal recruitment), you wouldn’t see what a well-oiled machine it was,” Gregory said. “Guys were assigned to talk to guys, and there was a rotation, just pretty much like the girls do.”

In 1970, under IFC chairman A.L. Hudson, OSU shifted to informal recruitment. Greek life in Stillwater has remained part of a minority of fraternity organizations to retain the model of an informal process. The results, as evidenced by a trip to a conference where OSU was the only school attending that had informal recruitment, have been worth it, according to Gregory.

“Several years ago, I want to say 2003 or 2004, the student leaders went to a Greek leadership conference … the facilitator said, ‘Everybody who had an increase in the number of people who signed this year, raise your hand,’ and there was one guy who raised his hand, and it was our guy … so it seems to work for us,” Gregory said. 

The more relaxed recruitment process allows prospective fraternity members to see where they best belong, according to Fraternity and Sorority Affairs administrative assistant Elizabeth Greythorne.

“They’re just more likely to make a better fit,” Greythorne said. “It doesn’t give you the pledge class that people traditionally think of, but it allows the students to become familiar with all the members of the fraternity on a more personal level.”

There isn't a formal bid day or recruitment week for the fraternities at OSU, but the informal rush process works for them.

“By doing a more informal pledging, it can be based more at your best timing,” Greythorne said. “And it might allow for you to have a better pledging experience.”