Beginning with the 2017-18 academic year, Greek life recruitment will move to a deferred recruitment process.
The George Washington University announced this week that GW fraternities and sororities will establish a one-semester deferred recruitment policy. It will take effect during the 2017-18 academic year.
Currently, Greek life organizations begin recruiting students during their first semester on campus. The new policy requires students to complete 12 credits on campus prior to participating in recruitment.
The Division of Student Affairs worked with the Office of the Provost to develop the policy following a three-month research period by the Recruitment Evaluation Committee.
The 15-member committee—which included Greek life-affiliated and non-affiliated undergraduate GW students, parents, faculty and staff—outlined recruitment options based on the policies of peer institutions, the results of surveys administered to GW students and a literature review.
The committee was convened at the recommendation of the Greek Life Task Force.
GW Director of Student Involvement and Greek Life Christina Witkowicki said the spring recruitment policy would help ensure that freshmen are settled into life at GW before taking on the responsibilities of Greek life.
“This policy will give us more opportunities to provide the best possible GW experience to students,” said Ms. Witkowicki. “Most importantly, it will afford first-year students a chance to fully learn about GW’s fraternities and sororities, establish a G.P.A. and develop sustainable relationships on campus prior to making a commitment to Greek life.”
GW Deferred Recruitment Policy Timeline
Semester Recommendation Fall 2016 Formal recruitment Spring 2017 Recruitment as needed Fall 2017 Formal recruitment for non-freshman Spring 2018 Formal recruitment for freshmen/first-year students* Fall 2018 No formal recruitment Spring 2019 Formal recruitment for all students*
*Those students who have completed 12 credits on campus at GW.
Ms. Witkowicki said that the new system would be phased in during the next three academic years so that Greek organizations are able to maintain their membership and plan recruitment accordingly.
The timeline allows GW’s Greek organizations to proceed with fall 2016 and spring 2017 recruitment as planned. During the 2017-18 academic year, fall 2017 recruitment will be restricted to sophomores, juniors and seniors. Freshmen recruitment will take place during the spring 2018 semester.
Beginning with the 2018-19 academic year, formal Greek life recruitment for all GW students will occur during the spring semester. Formal recruitment activities will not take place during the fall 2018 semester or any subsequent fall semesters.
GW will join colleges and universities such as Boston University, Duke University, the University of Maryland, Washington University of St. Louis, Tufts University and Northwestern University, which have all established a deferred recruitment policy.
Senior Mollie Bowman, a Greek-affiliated student, was tapped to serve on the Recruitment Evaluation Committee in December. Ms. Bowman also served on the Greek Life Task Force.
She said that she believes the best way to promote leadership development among incoming students and current Greek Life members is to host spring recruitment.
“Taking the emphasis off of year-round recruiting will allow the fall semester to be a time of reflection, so that [Greek life] chapters can participate in fall programming and focus on education,” Ms. Bowman said. “It will also give freshmen an opportunity to truly learn if Greek life is the right fit for them—after they have been able to establish the self-confidence necessary to make such a lifelong commitment.”
Parent Association Advisory Council member Jeff Lehrer also served on the committee. Mr. Lehrer became acquainted with the Greek life recruitment process when his daughter, senior Megan Lehrer, participated in recruitment during the fall of her freshman year.
“It was this brand new experience for her to be in D.C., she was living in an honors residence hall on the Mount Vernon Campus and under the pressure of acclimating to school—but the first thing she did was rush,” Mr. Lehrer said. “As a parent, it was difficult to watch her try to handle so much stress.
“Everything worked out in the end, but I think that she would have been far-better equipped for the process in the spring.”
Looking ahead, Ms. Bowman said that she hopes the policy will allow students to immerse themselves in the GW community prior to joining Greek life, so that they can use all that they have learned as “citizens of the university” to build a more inclusive, values-based Greek system at GW.
“Over the next two years there could be a huge culture shift in our university that will only make Greek life at GW stronger,” Ms. Bowman said.