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Fraternity spirits soar on annual bid day

The event marked the end of a redesigned rush period that introduced roughly 730 potential new members to Greek Life on Grounds

<p>Saturday morning, fraternity members traveled to old dorms, new dorms and the Gooch-Dillard suites to deliver bids to eagerly awaiting first-years.&nbsp;</p>

Saturday morning, fraternity members traveled to old dorms, new dorms and the Gooch-Dillard suites to deliver bids to eagerly awaiting first-years. 

After two weeks of events ranging from golf trips to restaurant runs, hundreds of first years and upperclassmen were met with cheers at their dorms, apartments and houses as fraternity members delivered their bids Saturday.

The rush process began with an orientation, followed by several open houses where an estimated 730 PNMs learned more about the values, priorities and atmospheres of the 30 fraternities on Grounds. After these open houses, potential new members went back for first, second and third rounds, with each round becoming increasingly selective. 

This year, fraternity rush began Jan. 14, three days before the beginning of classes. According to Ben Ueltschey, Inter-Fraternity Council president and third-year College student, rush was intentionally planned to take place earlier than it has in past years and occurred closer to the Inter-Sorority Council’s recruitment cycle.

“Rush used to start in the last week of January and the first week of February, or around that time,” Ueltschey said. “One of the main reasons we [moved rush earlier] was to help limit overlap with the academic semester. Most of the guys who go through recruitment are first years, and we want them to start this semester on strong footing.”

According to Ueltschey, the earlier schedule was just one of the ways the IFC attempted to make rush a more convenient process for PNMs. The organization also provided a no-questions-asked fee waiver for anyone concerned about their ability to pay the required registration fee.

Additionally, the IFC implemented a new recruitment counselor program in order to guide PNMs throughout the process and answer any questions that arose along the way. One rushee who used the new program is Marco Ramirez, a first-year Engineering student and new member of Theta Delta Chi, who said he previously had no idea what to expect from rush. 

“I hadn’t heard about [the recruitment counselor program] until I met my counselor but I have used it, and I’ve texted about all my thoughts and concerns,” Ramirez said. “They were a good resource, they told me what to expect and whenever I had questions I would ask them and they were knowledgeable about everything.”

According to Ueltschey, feeling connected to both recruitment counselors and regular fraternity members is a helpful step in informing PNM’s decisions about which fraternities may best suit them. The IFC’s new recruitment counselor program is similar to a mentoring system used by the ISC, which pairs PNMs with counselors known as Pi Chis.

Ueltschey, who participated in rush virtually due to COVID-19, said connecting with fraternity members in-person at open houses is a crucial opportunity.

“First-years, they're trying to do two things,” Ueltschey said. “They're trying to gauge what the fraternity they’re at is like, what's the culture here, what are the brothers like, things like that, but they're also trying to put on their best front because they want to get invited [back]” 

Similarly, Ramirez said the compatibility between himself and the people in the fraternities he was considering played the most important role in his preferences. On the night before bid day, PNMs attended final hours, a three-hour-long event that allowed prospective members to visit their three favorite houses in order of least to most preferred.

“It was about whether or not I had similar interests and whether I just felt like myself around them,” Ramirez said. “And a lot of places they had [where] that wasn’t the case, I met a lot of people who I otherwise wouldn't have met and it was really nice.”

PNMs like Ramirez received their bids Saturday morning. Current fraternity members traveled to on-Grounds dorms to deliver bids to eagerly awaiting first-years, while second- and third-year PNMs received bids at their residences.

The IFC reached out to Housing and Residence Life, as well as Fraternity and Sorority Life, to coordinate bid day plans without creating a disturbance. They created a rotation-style schedule for delivering bids which, according to Ueltschey, was intended to avoid crowding the area while retaining a spirit of camaraderie and excitement. 

“This year is a trial and error year, we did make a lot of changes, and we're hoping that they all went well,” Ueltschey said. “I'm hoping to get a lot of feedback over the next few weeks from PNMs, rush chairs and presidents alike. Hopefully we can just take this progress and move forward with it to improve the IFC.”