Fraternity recruitment has always been looked at negatively from those outside of Greek life. What gives them a bad reputation is how recruitment is heavily associated with hazing, but the fraternities at Sonoma State University are trying to get rid of this stigma and show everyone their true values and priorities. Cole Bobbit, the recruitment chair of Alpha Epsilon Pi makes a good point, “The negative view of rush comes from the few bad apples of any organization, not only Greek life.”
On Sonoma State University’s campus, there are seven fraternities that are part of the Interfraternity Council (IFC). IFC is the governing and representative body for six international and one local affiliated fraternities: Alpha Epsilon Pi, Alpha Psi (local), Alpha Sigma Phi, Nu Alpha Kappa, Phi Delta Theta, Pi Kappa Phi, and Tau Kappa Epsilon. To start off the two-week recruitment process that happens every semester, IFC hosts an Information Night. Fraternity recruitment started the Tuesday after Labor Day and each chapter creates their own events and times throughout the two weeks and ends the process with IFC Bid Night where each new member class is presented.
Fraternities are so much more than the stereotype given to them by society. They are organizations that provide leadership, philanthropy, and other opportunities to their members. When asked what qualities they are looking for in a new member, Riley Scott, the recruitment chair of Pi Kappa Phi said, “Guys who genuinely care about their brothers and are determined to make a positive impact on their lives and the world around them.” Scott explained that as the newest chapter on campus, they have to surpass the expectations put on them.
Not only do fraternities give back to their community through service, but they provide events on and off campus for the students.
“Last year we worked with the SSU Outreach office and another sorority to bring 500 people to campus and host a children’s carnival and workshops that teach young adults how to get to college, pay for it, etc.” said Erick Nunez, the recruitment chair for Nu Alpha Kappa. Each fraternity also has their own philanthropic event to help them raise money for their specific charity philanthropy. “St. Jude’s is TKE’s national philanthropy and we actively fundraise with community walks, tabling events, and visits to St. Jude’s Children Hospital,” says Collins, one of the recruitment chairs for Tau Kappa Epsilon.
Even though the fraternities on campus are trying to move away from their negative stigma, there have been incidents in the past with some chapters getting in trouble with the school, even suspended or kicked off. Those who were suspended in the past are now in good standing with the university and working closely with greek life advisors to repair their relationships.
Building and maintaining a good relationship with the school is crucial for Greek life but especially for fraternities because they are viewed as a bigger risk management. Brett Klein, the recruitment chair for Phi Delta Theta says, “My fraternity gets to know all the greek life advisors and make sure that everything we do is approved. We also have community service events to make sure the school knows we are doing what we can to help out.”
Getting rid of their negative stigma will not happen overnight, but the fraternities on Sonoma State’s campus are doing everything they can to make the public see them in a better light. Through open communication with the school, community service, and campus events these seven chapters could change the stereotypes of fraternities.