To someone who passed East Campus yesterday, it may have seemed that the groups of students clad in fraternity gear were in violation of early rush practices.
However, Wednesday's barbecue--the Greek Week kick-off event--was aimed at increasing publicity for the University's greek community as a whole, and not at recruitment for individual fraternities and sororities, Greek Week organizers said. By holding the event on East Campus, organizers said they hoped more freshmen would have the opportunity to socialize with members of the greek community and to learn about greek life beyond weekend parties.
"Often times freshmen have a certain perception of what greek life is like, and it's not always what we want them to have," said Nicole Manley, program coordinator for the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life. "We want them to see that greek life does value things other than just social activities."
OFSL Director Todd Adams agreed that the barbecue's aim was to engage more freshmen in Greek Week, which is traditionally based on West Campus. And although a greek event on East Campus may have seemed to be in violation of the sponsoring organizations' rush rules, Adams said it was not an issue because the barbecue included all 35 greek chapters.
"Any time we're doing public relations, it's recruitment in a sense that we want people to know our organizations exist," Adams said. "As long as they're not offering any incentives or bids to join their individual organizations, they aren't in violation of recruitment rules."
Although the sponsors of Greek Week--the Interfraternity Council, the National Panhellenic Council, the Panhellenic Association and cultural greek-letter organizations--prohibit any attempts to rush freshmen during the fall semester, both IFC President senior Jeremy Morgan and NPHC President Sheldon Maye said the barbecue fell outside those restrictions.
"We talked about the issue of dirty rush, but we didn't think it would be a problem," Maye, a senior, said. "Everyone had a say in planning Greek Week, and we decided it would be okay because the chapters all know what is or isn't allowed."
Most students agreed that the barbecue's climate was not one of competition or promotion of individual chapters, despite the fact that members were allowed to don paraphernalia for their individual organizations. All groups except those governed by the Panhellenic Association were allowed to wear their letters.
"It's just a good opportunity for freshmen to interact with greeks in a non-biased manner," said sophomore Cristina Miller, a member of Chi Omega.
Senior Rebekah Abraham acknowledged the opportunity for some organizations to engage in premature recruitment, but said the barbecue would still benefit the greek community as a whole by allowing freshmen to witness the strength of greek life on campus.
"Unfortunately, I think dirty rush is something we have to deal with, but I'm hoping that people are emphasizing the positive aspects of this event," said Abraham, who is president of Delta Gamma. She noted that dirty rush would probably not be a problem because the barbecue did not seem to have attracted a significant number of freshmen.
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