Greek numbers follow growing national trend

Greek numbers follow growing national trend

by Julie Loven

Similar to national trends, Simpson’s Greek system saw a slight decrease in the number of new students going Greek.

The total percentage of full time Greeks on campus has dropped from 32 percent in 1998 to 26 percent in 2002.

“We’re trying to understand the reasons that less people are going Greek,” said Nicole Stumo, greek advisor.

Some of the possible reasons for this trend include expenses, stereotypes, finding other opportunities for involvement on campus and not seeing the value of, or understand Greek life.

“This is a national trend we’re trying to deal with locally,” said Stumo. “We’re trying to identify the issues that are leading to declining membership and trying to promote against them.”

Alpha Chi Omega, Kappa Theta Psi and Sigma Alpha Epsilon have seen the biggest number drops since 1998.

“Obviously numbers are important to us, but quality is just as important, if not more,” said Tommy Williams, recruitment chair of Kappa Theta Psi. “We don’t just give bids to everyone.”

Kappa Kappa Gamma was the only Greek house to actually raise its percentage of members over the past five years.

Greek houses on campus do a variety of things to promote Greek life and attract potential new members.

“The Greek houses do a variety of surveys to find out attitudes and perceptions of Greek life,” said Stumo. “They survey members of the Greek community, people who sign up for recruitment but do not join a house and the campus as a whole to find out how they perceive the Greek life.”

Greeks also are present on campus during summer orientation and early in the fall to help promote Greek life and explain how the Greek system works to incoming students.

Money was the biggest issue, however, that houses faced this past fall.

“This year our biggest reason for low enrollment was financial reasons,” said Stumo. “This tells us we need to do a better job explaining the benefits of paying, why you pay, where the money goes, etc.”

Members of the Greek community are trying to combat this problem.

“We created a recruitment/Greek membership team which includes members from each chapter and some alumni,” said Stumo. “We have monthly meetings and are continuously looking at men’s, women’s and overall Greek issues. We want to improve and address these issues and figure out how to handle them.”

“I think that the number of students actually participating in recruitment is down,” said Jackie Brittain, recruitment chair for Pi Beta Phi. “Members of Panhel and the Interfraternity Council are working very hard to make recruitment more popular on campus.”

According to Stumo, alcohol policies have no effect on Greek enrollment.

“The social aspect of Greek life is only one mien which sometimes gets the most attention,” she said. “The fraternities are involved in so much more than just social events including leadership, academic and philanthropy.”

“We tried to keep it real,” said Garrett Cornelison, recruitment chair for Alpha Tau Omega. “We didn’t put on a show.”