Greek enrollment drops this semester

Braden Harp, Staff Reporter

Enrollment in Eastern fraternities and sororities for Fall 2014 is down about 5 percent compared to Fall 2013.

Dean Harwood, the director of fraternity and sorority programs, said the decrease in enrollment at the Eastern could be to blame for the drop in membership compared to last fall.

“With fewer students enrolled at Eastern, the number of potential members is smaller,” Harwood said.

According to the Greek Life page on the Eastern Illinois University website, Fall 2013 had a total of 1535 students in fraternities and sororities. Harwood said his office is anticipating a decrease of 85 to 105 students from last year.

Harwood did not specify any sororities or fraternities who are experiencing a substantial drop in membership. He said it is up to the fraternities and sororities to recruit for themselves.

“All of the fraternities and sororities need to work to make sure that their recruitment is well organized and effective,” Harwood said.

LeeAnn Reid, an Alpha Sigma Tau member, said her sorority was one member away from meeting her sorority’s quota.

“Recruitment went well this year,” Reid said. “Many sororities are still actively recruiting.”

Reid said many sororities are giving out what they call COBs or Continuous Outgoing Bids. This means they offer potential new members the chance to join their sororities after formal recruitment has ended.

Reid also said since many members of Alpha Sigma Tau are seniors graduating in December, they are preparing for intense recruitment for the spring semester.

Harwood said the university itself also does what it can to assist sororities and fraternities.

“We provide assistance in planning and preparation of recruitment,” Harwood said, “However the ultimate decision to join is between the chapter and the potential member.”

With enrollment falling 8 percent compared to Fall 2013, Harwood explained fraternities and sororities help bring students to the university and help them stay here.

“Research shows that fraternity or sorority has a positive impact on retention,” Harwood said.

He said sororities and fraternities give some potential students the extra push they need to enroll.

“For some students, having an active and involved fraternity and sorority community helps with their decision to enroll,” Harwood said.

Harwood said though formal recruitment is over, recruitment will not stop for the fall semester. He said most fraternities and sororities would recruit until the end of the semester.

“For the rest of the fall this recruitment will be very informal,” he said.

Harwood said he estimates around 1430 to 1450 members are enrolled in fraternities and sororities as of Wednesday.

Braden Harp can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected].