Pledging underwent some dramatic changes this semester, but proved to be just as rewarding as in the past.
This semester, the pledging season was shortened from five weeks to three weeks, physical activities were banned and pledges were admitted to clubs before fall break instead of after.
“Changes come each year in the pledging process,” said Mark Jackson, associate director of student organizations and programs. “Some are sweeping changes and some are very minor.”
Though there were many of these big and small changes to the pledging process, it was still a positive experience.
“I do think it was a successful pledging season,” Jackson said. “I think most of the credit goes to the club presidents, the officer teams and the advisers.”
Manaia Broom, sophomore biology major from Paragould, Arkansas, was skeptical about the pledging process.
“I was really on the fence about pledging my freshman year, and I didn’t want to do it alone,” she said. “So when my friends thought about pledging more seriously, I was leaning towards it more.”
Broom was finally persuaded to pledge Alpha Kai Omega after she found out about the changes that were being made.
“I wasn’t too sure about pledging when fall rushes first started, but I finally made my decision after the first round of rushes and knowing it was only three weeks,” she said. “I knew with the shorter amount of pledging I could handle that with school work.”
The shortening of the pledging process resulted in a more intense pledging season, but it was just as satisfying.
“Some of the best parts of pledging was getting to know so many new girls and having really unique memories now looking back on it,” Broom said. “There were a lot of sleepless nights, and I got to see the worst in friends – and even in myself – but I got to see even more good in them.”
Though the semester was different because of the tweaks made in the pledging process, Jackson saw it as a success.
“I think the general consensus was that pledging was a positive experience, but also a tiring one,” he said.
However, it is still too early to tell if the rule changes attracted more pledges, Jackson said.
“Our numbers were one person higher than last year,” Jackson said. “I did have some students say that the shorter pledging time frame was a plus to them pledging.”
This year, 390 students started the pledge process. In the end, 380 got into clubs.
“In my four years in this role, this is the best that I have seen things go in terms of the entire process, from rushes, voting, Bid Night, pledging, etc.,” Jackson said.