You are 18 and your parents have dropped you off in a completely unknown location. You do not know a single person, and you have to share a room with a stranger. Worst of all, you have to wake up early the next morning, fight 10 other tired girls for a shower stall, choose a completely flawless outfit, slip on a pair of heels and walk in them for an entire day under the hot, Texas sun. Is it worth it?
Sure, because at the end of four days of the same routine, you will have found a new home filled with soon-to-be close friends and sisters – right?
That is, until you find out only one sorority house has invited you back, and you spend the rest of the week worrying they may drop you.
Perhaps you receive zero bids. Suddenly your parents seem much further away, your feet hurt worse than you realized and your start as a freshman at a new school did not begin as you ideally imagined.
Fortunately, this disastrous scenario does not happen much at TCU, but it happens often at other schools. It is a horrible first experience for those girls who have to deal with it while adjusting to a completely new environment. And while boys generally don’t wear heels, I am sure they experience similar frustrations and anxieties while joining fraternities.
Thankfully, at TCU, it is rare for a student not to receive a bid to a Greek house if he or she maximizes options and returns to each house that invites him or her back each day. However, when schools have more students rushing than they have room for at each house, large cuts are made.
This may not be the case today at TCU, but could it happen? It’s already happening at large, public universities that often have to cut half of the students who would like to be in a sorority house because it is difficult for each pledge class to have more than 100 individuals. Of course, TCU is not a large, public school, but as more students apply each fall, it is likely the number of students rushing will slightly increase.
How will we handle that in the future?
The fall of 2011 saw record numbers in not only the number of TCU applicants, but the number of students who went through Greek recruitment as well. As TCU continues its steady increase in popularity among high school applicants, the school’s Greek system will become more popular among prospective students as well. Clearly, measures need to be taken to ensure there is room for everybody who wishes to be a part of a Greek family here on campus.
The addition of new sorority and fraternity chapters – beginning with Alpha Omicron Pi this year – allows the TCU community to ensure that every student who makes the decision to go through with recruitment will indeed be given the opportunity to join a sorority or fraternity.
Are there downsides? Sure. New chapters might cause difficulties in living facilities or perhaps might have trouble recruiting new members in the first place (though, if TCU’s newest fraternity, Beta Theta Pi, is any indication, this will not be a problem). But these are mere logistical problems that can be easily resolved; there is no plausible argument why new houses should not be welcomed.
For the students’ part, they are willing to invest in TCU. They see its potential and want to be a part of our campus life. We should welcome them with open arms, because our university is popular, it is growing, and they are a part of our future success.
Besides, if it means guaranteeing every freshman can avoid a traumatic experience within his or her first few days on campus, and discover his or her own special, new sisterhood or brotherhood to make the somewhat terrifying transition to college a little bit easier, that is all that should ultimately matter.
Booey Mittelstadt is a freshman political science and film-television-digital media double major from Chattanooga, Tenn.