For the first time in ACU history, freshmen are allowed to rush and join fraternities and sororities. Rushes start this Friday with an open rush, and there will be more rushes this month and at the beginning of next semester.
The main purpose of allowing first year students to join is to improve the freshman experience by getting them plugged into community. Student Life hopes this could improve retention rates between freshman and sophomore year.
“Allowing them to join in the spring is going to help them be excited about coming back,” said Robin McPherson, senior coordinator of fraternities and sororities.
According to McPherson, the rushing and New Member Orientation process will remain largely the same, besides some situational factors changing as it will now occur during the spring instead of the fall.
Another change being made is strictly capping NMO to 2 weeks. In past semesters, NMO has lasted longer. This past fall semester it lasted around two and a half to three weeks. This shortening from fall to spring was intentional, as Student Life wants to ensure it is not being drawn out for an unnecessary amount of time.
There will be some change in tradition due to the shift of NMO from fall to spring.
“The time of year changes some of our traditions, specifically around flag football and Homecoming,” said Maggie Hess, senior middle school education major from Lubbock and Ko Jo Kai president. “We’re hoping to center New Member Orientation around basketball intramurals and Sing Song.”
Due to NMO occurring in the spring, Homecoming will no longer be a part of the process. It is a tradition for most ACU fraternities and sororities to have new members participate in building Homecoming floats, going to the game, setting up for the tailgate and going to alumni breakfast. Fraternities and sororities are still going to be able to have new members get the Homecoming experience through either first year contracts or first year requirements.
Sing Song will is likely to become a large part of NMO. New members will be able to help with sets, props and costumes, although freshmen in sororities and fraternities will not be able to perform on stage with their groups.
Student Life is encouraging freshmen to join class acts based on the size of many fraternities and sororities.