August 12, 2014

UNO Greeks Get Ready for Fall Rush

At the University of New Orleans, Greeks are getting ready for fall rush.

"Greek Life is expanding so much. It's getting bigger and bigger each and every year," said Andy Antunez, recruitment chair for the UNO Interfraternity Council. "The good thing about Greek Life (at UNO) is that we're far from LSU and UL Greek Life," he said. "We're more involved on campus. We've got student leaders in Student Government, Orientation Leaders, (students who serve on the) Service Coalition."

Rush, Rush, Rush!

The University's Inter Fraternity Council of fraternities and Pan Hellenic Council of sororities are now planning their "rush" weeks for early September. Fraternity rush will run September 15-19. Sorority rush runs Sept. 11-14.

The National Pan Hellenic Council, which is made up solely of historically African American sororities and fraternities, is now preparing for "Intake," a yearlong process.

More than 230 students participated in Greek Life during the 2013-2014 academic year, said Dale O'Neill, director of student involvement and leadership. Over the past three years, Greek Life at UNO has seen a 36 percent rise in participation.

Antunez attributed the high growth rate to increased marketing activities; fun new events such as "Late Night with the Greeks;" Greek 101 (one-on-one sessions wherein current fraternity members meet with prospective members to speak on a more in-depth level about Greek Life); involvement in campus activities - helping students move in on Move-In Day, for example; as well as an increased presence at events focused on incoming freshmen and transfer students, such as Fresh Fest, O-Fest, Orientation and Privateer Camp.

Strong Involvement, Strong Students

UNO administrators strongly support Greek Life at UNO, having observed results in student involvement and academic performance, O'Neill said. Each Greek organization at UNO maintains a minimum 2.5 GPA requirement for membership and offers tutoring sessions and study halls to ensure that members are upholding high academics, O'Neill said. For the last 15 years, the UNO Greek average GPA has consistently been higher than that of the campus average.

Greek organizations at UNO also require that members belong to at least one other organization. Each Greek organization also commits to raise awareness and provide philanthropic efforts for an organization of their choice. During the 2013-2014 academic year, Greek organizations at UNO collectively raised more than $17,000 for philanthropies and completed more than 500 hours of community service.

This fall, fraternities and sororities are hoping to maintain and increase momentum, as one new fraternity returns to campus and sororities and fraternities continue to refine their process, Antunez said. Everyone who meets academic requirements is welcome to participate.

The University's Inter Fraternity Council of fraternities and Pan Hellenic Council of sororities are now planning their "rush" weeks for early September. Fraternity rush will run September 15-19. Sorority rush runs Sept. 11-14. 

The National Pan Hellenic Council, which is made up solely of historically African American sororities and fraternities, is now preparing for "Intake," a yearlong process.

UNO has 14 Greek organizations already on campus -- six sororities and eight fraternities. Phi Kappa Sigma returns to campus this year and is seeking leaders to serve as the UNO chapter's "founding fathers."

On the Fraternity Front

Recruitment Week for fraternities is four evenings of programming for individuals interested in Fraternity Life, hosted by the Office of Student Involvement and Leadership, said O'Neill, who attends all events. Potential new members complete a registration form through the Office of Student Involvement and Leadership. The first two evenings occur on campus in the University Center, where each fraternity chapter is given a private room to hold a 45-minute meet and greet session with potential new members.

"Typically, the chapter has a presentation and some mingling activities," said O'Neill.

The third night brings outdoor activities such as football and kickball and the final evening ends with an off-campus event, such as miniature golf at City Park or a card game night. At the end of the week, potential new members visit the Office of Student Involvement and Leadership, where O'Neill presents any "bids" or invitations to begin the new member process of a fraternity.

If the potential new member accepts, he will go through an eight-week program specially designed for new members of his fraternity, O'Neill said. Typically, the new member period consists of weekly meetings and brotherhood events.

During this period, new members learn about "values, duty, leadership roles, traditions, all things that will help a member excel in student life on campus and be a better person when you graduate and be better prepared when you graduate," said Antunez.

Sorority Sisters Prepare for Rush

"Basically it's a four-day process," said Tiffany Willis, PanHellenic Recruitment chair, "The first day is our Sisterhood Open Round. It's an open house," she said. "You get to see each sorority individually, get to know their morals, their values, get to meet the girls talk to them one on one."

The second day of sorority rush at UNO is known as the Philanthropy Round, Willis said.

"You see each of the sororities and which philosophy they focus on," she said, citing causes such as autism awareness and breast cancer awareness. "You basically see the community work that they do."

The third day is the Preference Round.

"That is a very personal one-on-one. You get to have a very intimate personal conversation with one of the sisters you have connected with during recruitment," said Willis, who said by this time students participating in rush receive cards from the top two sororities likely to give them bids. "You'll hear about their values and morals...get to see that play out in a ceremony, see their true sisterhood." 

On bid day, recruitment counselors from each sororities hand out bids at the University Center, Willis said. Students receive their bids from their new sororities, then run to the outdoor amphitheater on campus to meet their new sorority sisters.

"It's just a fun exciting day."

Intake, A Yearlong Process

NHPC Membership Intake is the process through which NPHC organizations bring in new members. Rather than attend a formalized rush week, prospective members research prospective organizations and throughout the year attend that organization's events, called informationals. During sophomore year, they decide which fraternity or sorority to join.

Generally, students must have completed at least 12 semester hours at UNO and be in good academic standing to be eligible for membership in an NPHC organization, according to the Office of Student Affairs. Each organization sets its own timetable for Intake, according to national and local policies.


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