Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Penn State Greek Director Outlines New Recruitment Process

Baker outlines recruiting plans
The Daily Collegian (Penn State)By Sarah Williams

Roy Baker thought he was satisfied with the number of students involved in greek life when he came to Penn State last year. "I thought our numbers were pretty good," said Baker, the director of greek life and advancement. "Until I saw them."

Now, Baker hopes to implement a strategy aimed at changing the way fraternities recruit new members this fall, all in attempt to boost recruiting numbers. He hopes to increase the number of Penn State students involved in greek life from its current number of 12 percent to 30 percent. Still, 25 percent would make him happy, Baker said.

"Based on what I saw this past year, they just had four weeks of parties," Baker said. "It was a fiasco."
Under the new strategy, the recruitment period would only be three weeks, with fraternities only hosting recruitment events on designated nights, Baker said.

Baker is in the process of creating a map locating the fraternity houses and zoning houses into three geographic regions.

Recruitment will begin the week of Sept. 8, with only houses in the first region hosting non-drinking recruitment events on Monday, followed by only houses in the second region on Wednesday and only houses in the third region on Friday, Baker said.

Fraternities can host other non-recruiting events throughout the week but could face violations if recruits are present, he said.

At the end of the first week, potential members will use the Interactive Collegiate Solutions web site, www.icsmg.com, to identify which fraternities they are interested in joining, and fraternities will identify which students they are interested in offering a membership bid.

"I tried this at Syracuse, and it was really cool," said Baker, who previously served as Director of Fraternity and Sorority affairs at Syracuse University for three years.

The second week will follow the same schedule, and Baker is looking at Saturday, Sept. 20 as the date to allow recruits to attend fraternity parties.

During the final week of recruitment, events will take place Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, but Baker hasn't determined if there will be restrictions on which days fraternities can host events.

On Thursday, Sept. 25, fraternities will identify which recruits they will offer membership bids; the next day recruits will receive their bids.

Recruits will then use icsmg.com to accept a bid to the fraternity of their choice, while fraternities track the acceptances live on the Web site.

The strategy is an attempt to stop impressing freshmen with drinking and begin doing positive recruitment, Baker said.

"The goal is not to ruin recruitment," Baker said. "It's to level the playing field."
In the past, smaller fraternities struggled to attract new members, while larger fraternities dominated recruiting, Baker said.

The plan is contingent on cooperation by the Interfraternity Council (IFC), Baker said.

"If they can meet me halfway on this idea I would be happy," Baker said.

IFC President Kelsey Gingrich did not immediately return phone calls by press time yesterday.

"If it's what I think it is, we will have a ton of kids in," Baker said. "It comes down to whether the fraternities are going to trust one another and follow the rules."