At the beginning of every fall semester, social club pledges can be seen wearing their club’s colors Monday through Thursday. For two weeks, students cross campus dressed in brightly colored skirts, suits and ties, but this semester pledges may be required to wear their traditional outfits longer.
After meeting with club members, advisers and other Student Life faculty, Mauri Westbrook, director of student organizations, said they decided to keep the length of pledging at about six weeks, but give clubs the option of extending Phase One. If a club decides to lengthen Phase One, they give up that amount of time in Phase Two, Westbrook said.
“We realized that in order for clubs to accomplish the goals they have and what they are wanting to achieve, they needed a little bit more time,” Westbrook said.
The two-phase pledging system was instituted two years ago. According to the Student Organization Handbook, students during Phase One “work toward unity among the pledges, learning club traditions, and participating as club activities as pledge. – The second phase of pledging will focus on overall club unity and community building.”
Alpha Kai Omega Kai-O Queen Rachel Smith said there is a distinct difference between the two phases, but the goal of both is unity.
“Phase One is really working on unifying the pledge class together, and Phase Two is working on unifying pledges and club members into one whole unit,” Smith said.
Pledges wear their club “colors” during Phase One and participate in a more traditional style of pledging. Smith, senior elementary education major from Richardson, said she thought positively about the change because it will allow pledges more bonding time and excitement.
“There is something about wearing your colors that gives you a sense of pride in the fact that people are aware of what you are doing,” Smith said.
The extension to Phase One is a change that Ko Jo Kai president Lanna Armstrong, senior accounting major from Dallas, thinks will be a good thing. She said students feel most like pledges during the first phase.
“Phase One is more traditional pledging,” Armstrong said. “I think that everyone is pretty excited about it.”
Conner Halstead, senior youth and family ministry major from Odessa and president of Gamma Sigma Phi, said they have been working for the last two years trying to determine what works best in the two-phase system. The second phase was the longer one, but also the phase that was most unfamiliar to club members. Halstead said he thinks the new length of Phase One will benefit the club.
“I’m not sure that the extra week will make pledging better, but I think it is more familiar to people and so it will be easier to execute,” Halstead said. “I understand the meaning and purpose of the second phase, but it has been the hardest for us to fully realize what we need to do to make that the most effective.”
Club rushes begin next week, and there will be an informational meeting for all students interested in pledging Thursday at 5:30 p.m. in Hart Auditorium. Students seeking more information can visit www.acu.edu/socialclubs or look on the student events calendar found on myACU.