“Fraternities have a terrible public image,” Cameron Parker said. “But the new system is going to change that.”
Parker is vice president of recruitment for the Interfraternity Council, and he and others are working to change IFC’s recruitment model this spring to improve that image.
In the past, IFC chapters ran their rush events will little help from the university or IFC head.
“There was no recruitment structure whatsoever,” Parker said. “Every chapter did their own recruitment by themselves.”
Following the hiring of a director for Fraternity and Sorority Life, Justin Shukas, fraternities were finally able to have some formal support and structure to the recruitment process.
With the help of Shukas, Parker is better able to assist all fraternities when it comes to recruitment. This is what led to a semi-formalized structure that will be implemented in the next upcoming rush.
For the first time ever, all fraternities that will be participating in that term’s rush will be required to attend an event where all potential new members will go and have the opportunity to learn about that chapters values.
Not only does this ensure a more values-based recruitment, but it also allows all PNM’s to get to know every chapter, Shukas said – not just the largest chapters with houses.
“The biggest switch in recruitment we’ve made is that we’ve really hit hard that we want the fraternities to recruit on their values and mission statements that they set up, learned through the pledge and said they would always remain true to themselves,” Parker said.
These events will allow for PNMs to learn about the chapter’s value, decide what values they recognize within themselves and can make a decision of which chapter they want to rush from there.
IFC President Max Lehman and Parker say that this new standard will show Oregon’s community what fraternity life is all about.
“It’s trying to get away from the atmosphere of ‘Greek Life is just a social aspect’,” Lehman said.
Ensuring that the fraternity’s values are at the core of its recruitment will enable the community to recruit members who will continue to add positives to these organizations. In order to get away from problems in FSL, Parker says they have to recruit members who want to help.
“We’re trying to stop the problems in our community,” Parker said. “Sexual violence, fraternity stereotypes and overall a terrible image for our community.”
This process will be effective by getting the rush chairs for each chapter involved and excited about the process, according to Parker.
Sigma Nu’s rush chair, Kevin Mertz, says the most exciting part of this new process is its ability to bring in more people to Fraternity and Sorority Life.
“I’m excited for the type of people that could come out, I think it could draw a more diverse group of people,” Mertz said. “Promoting this community feeling could bring a lot more people in, and that can benefit the chapter.”
Starting this new model will help FSL combat any negatives that may come to its community.
“In order to have a safe, productive and good community, you have to rush those members,” Lehman said
Overall, fraternities have accepted the idea of switching the way in which they recruit.
“Everyone has been supporting the idea of a values based recruitment 100 percent,” Lehman said.
Having all men who are involved in this process supportive of it will be key to ensuring the success of the newly formalized process.
“I don’t think I’m prepared if we don’t get the quality guys because I’m just so certain that we’re all on the same page and that’s the biggest difference,” Parker said.