Greek life participation up to 41 percent

Brandi Doyal, Staff Reporter

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As of this semester, 41 percent of Tulane undergraduates participate in Greek life. This statistic represents a steady increase in fraternity and sorority participation over the past two years. 35 percent of undergraduates participated in 2012.

Greek life participation rates at Tulane’s peer institutions are similar to those at Tulane. At Emory University, 30 percent of undergraduate students are involved in Greek life. Vanderbilt University has a participation rate of 42 percent.

Elizabeth Schafer, director of fraternity and sorority programs, said the increase is partially due to the addition and re-colonization of several sororities and fraternities. Gamma Rho Lambda National Sorority colonized at Tulane in fall 2012. Zeta Beta Tau and Alpha Delta Pi both recolonized at Tulane in 2013, bringing with more opportunities for students to join Greek organizations.

“In the last 18 months, three Greek organizations have come to campus,” Schafer said. “The addition of those organizations meant more students were able to join outside the traditional recruitment and intake periods.”

Efforts made by the Panhellenic and Interfraternity Council are also partially responsible for the increase in Greek life participation on campus. Panhellenic president Brenna Mossman said the sororities on campus have been focusing on recruitment and retention of members more in recent years.

“For the past few years, we have put on a Panhellenic preview day which introduces women to Greek life and the different organizations, as well as what the recruitment process will be like if they choose to participate,” Mossman said. “This has helped women make informed decisions about whether or not Greek life is something that they are interested in, and raises awareness of Panhellenic recruitment and the Greek community in general.”

Approximately half of the freshman class went through formal recruitment this year. Schafer said she believes the efforts of sorority and fraternity leaders to inform freshmen of the options on campus for joining the Greek community have contributed to the increase in participation.

“39 percent of first-year students joined a Greek organization this year,” Shafer said. “When you combine that with the fact that all our groups have focused for the last few years on retaining their members, you end up with a growing fraternity and sorority community.”

Mossman said she believes this increase is a testament to what Greek involvement can do for students both in their undergraduate and post-collegiate experiences.

“I always think that the strengthening of the Greek community is a good thing, and I see the rise in participation as a way to increase our presence on campus and facilitate the betterment of the community as a whole,” Mossman said. “I think that having such a large amount of Tulane’s campus in Greek life is a testament to the valuable academic, interpersonal and leadership skills that our organizations build.”

Schafer said she believes the growth of the Greek life on campus will only increase student involvement and create a stronger community within the university that will offer even more benefits to its members.

“Marketing and public relations efforts by the new organizations created a lot of buzz on campus and attracted more students to consider Greek life,” Sxhafer said. “Greek membership offers genuine brotherhood [and] sisterhood, great social outlets, leadership and philanthropic opportunities, academic support, lasting friendships and access to a huge alumni network.”