A Year After Changes, Greek Numbers Are Up

After several years of declines, both the Interfraternity Council and the Panhellenic Council saw increases in pledge numbers for the fall semester.

More than 450 men registered for fall 2004 IFC recruitment, with 242 new members pledging, according to the University’s Office of Greek Affairs. That’s an increase of nearly 14 percent from fall 2003, when 213 men pledged.

The Panhellenic Council saw a 4 percent increase in pledge-to-participation ratio from 2003, as 413 women pledged. Nearly 540 women officially participated in the first open house round this fall, after 571 registered for recruitment. The average pledge class was 48, up one from last year. Just two years ago, the average pledge class was 35.

The average IFC pledge class also increased by one from 2003, to 12.

While the numbers are encouraging, Jay Anhorn, director of the Office of Greek Affairs, said he couldn’t attribute the systemwide increase in interest to any one factor.

“It would be hard to make any kind of connection,” Anhorn said. He added that he believes mailing an all-Greek information booklet to all incoming freshmen resulted in better marketing.

“I think it shows that they are broadening it to a greater pool of students and identifying people that wouldn’t normally join because of preconceived notions,” he said. “Everything else, we did it like we’ve always done it.”

The data could be a sign that the recently modified IFC rush calendar has helped end dwindling fraternity memberships and reversed a trend that had raised concerns about the future of UNC’s fraternity system. In one of several changes put into place last year, the calendar was restructured after a committee, formed in 2002, reported that there “was a consensus that [UNC] fraternities were not part of the Universitywide quest for excellence.”

While Panhellenic sorority membership also had experienced decline in the recent years, no substantial changes have been made to that system.

The percentage of all undergraduates who were Greek was 18.1 in spring 2001. By spring 2004, that percentage had dipped to 14.8.

While the increase in pledges is expected to result in higher overall membership in the 20 IFC fraternities and nine Panhellenic sororities, that data won’t be available until February.

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