TCU: Greek numbers rising, other universities see decrease

While Greek involvement has declined at many universities, TCU saw a rise in students participating in fall 2005 Recruitment from the previous year, according to the office of Fraternity and Sorority Affairs.In 2005, 601 women participated in fall sorority Recruitment, more than a 4 percent increase from 2004. Fraternity Recruitment saw an increase of almost 2 percent.

The numbers come as many universities have seen a significant drop in Greek life.

The Daily Reveille, Louisiana State University’s student newspaper, reported a 25 percent drop in sorority involvement. The Daily Iowan, at the University of Iowa, reported a 25 percent decrease in sorority Recruitment.

Some larger schools, such as the University of Utah, have also seen a significant drop in Greek life. According to the Daily Utah Chronicle, Utah’s student newspaper, the number of students participating in Greek life has fallen steadily every year for 20 years.

Assistant Dean of Campus Life James Parker said the smaller size of TCU is a benefit, but it is not the core factor in determining the success of a Greek program.

“It really has to be judged on an institution-to-institution basis,” Parker said. “Some major universities’ Greek life is up and some are down. On the same hand, some smaller schools have lower involvement than others.”

Parker said the increase at TCU could be attributed to Greeks’ focus on a well-rounded college experience. He said Greek life at TCU focuses on more than a social life.

“Our groups are doing the right thing,” Parker said. “We focus on academics and giving back to the community.”

Interfraternity Council Adviser Jonathan Elder said summer Recruitment also helps boost fall Recruitment numbers.

“We try to get the word out with mailers, at orientation and Mondays at TCU,” Elder said. “We try to be proactive.”

Vice President of Fraternity Recruitment George Ferguson said a letter, as well as an e-mail, went out to all incoming freshmen. Pre-Recruitment events, such as an outdoor barbecue and information session during orientation sessions, also helped to raise awareness, he said.

Ferguson said one of the biggest improvements in 2005 was the redesign of the TCU Fraternity and Sorority Life Web site, which made the recruitment registration form available online.

Elder said administration involvement is an important part of Greek life at TCU. Four Campus Life employees live in the Worth Hills fraternity houses and act both as program coordinators and hall directors, he said.

Junior psychology major Daniel Vammen said that with increased numbers, comes increased responsibility.

“The more people that are involved, the more visible they are on campus,” Vammen said. “The more they need to do to fix the problems they are often associated with, like underage drinking and their treatment of girls at parties.”

Vammen said the large number of Greek students also divides the campus by Greek and non-Greek.

The difference between a successful Greek program and an unsuccessful program a is well-rounded focus, Parker said.

“Campuses that are declining focus on a social life,” Parker said.

TCU provides a different kind of Greek life, Parker said. Students who might not otherwise find Greek life appealing are attracted to a more comprehensive Greek life, Parker said.

More so than programs and awareness, participants are the strongest part of the program, Parker said.

“We attract good students,” he said.