Greek community welcomes new members with mixed success

Elizabeth Worthington, News Editor and Assistant News Editor

Popularly referred to as “Welcome Weekend,” Sept. 2-4 marked the end of recruitment for Greek organizations and the beginning of integrating new members into their respective sororities and fraternities.

While the weekend’s festivities are regarded with enthusiasm by most participants involved with Greek life, it also marks a period of heightened anxiety among its leaders–namely, the executive boards of each chapter, members of the Office of Fraternity & Sorority Affairs, and Public Safety officers.

Relative to previous years, the weekend was successful in terms of safety. This year, Public Safety reported five alcohol-related hospitalizations–less than half of last year’s 11 hospitalizations. This does not take into account the students who were driven to the hospital by a peer, the Buffalo Valley Regional Police, or other means. All reported hospitalizations were female sophomores, but Public Safety was unable to report if they were all pledging a Greek organization as they do not track that information. When the new members received their “bids” to the organizations on Sept. 2, one male sophomore was sent to the hospital, Public Safety reported.

Chief of Public Safety Steve Barilar reported being relatively satisfied with the weekend’s results.

“Considering how beautiful the weather was, it could have been worse. But we always hope for better … For me, one person going to the hospital is too many,” Barilar said.

Some chapter leaders lauded the decision of the Panhellenic Council and the Interfraternity Council to require 10 members from each chapter to be “on risk,” or sober, and looking out for the safety of the other members.

“The introduction of sorority risk teams, who collaborated with fraternity risk teams, allowed for stronger communication within and between events, as well as lessening the pressure on fraternities, who under the previous structure often had to assume blanket liability for all guests entering their parties,” President of Tau Kappa Epsilon Seamus Dowdall ’17 said.

Barilar admitted that attributing the relative success of the evening to any one person or event in particular would be mere speculation. However, he did recognize the concentrated efforts made by Residential Advisors in educating their residents about alcohol safety, and those made by Dean of Students Amy Badal, who worked tirelessly all weekend to ensure the safety of University students.

The Office of Fraternity & Sorority Affairs sponsors two of the “welcome day” programs: the welcome dinner and the welcome day speaker.

“ The purpose of the welcome day speaker is to provide an alcohol awareness/education for the new members within their first 24 hours of membership. This year’s speaker was successful in that she was able educate the members using her own personal experience, and still make the conversation funny and educational,” Assistant Director of Fraternity & Sorority Affairs Ashley Rastetter said.

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