Greek life has increase in GPA

Since deferred recruitment was introduced in 2015, sororities and fraternities have increased their GPAs and membership.

Junior economics major Zach Heisey (left), senior finance major Jake Epstein (center) and senior mathematical economics major Andreas Kraus, discuss the future of the Pi Lambda Phi fraternity during a executive board meeting on Sept. 4. | SYDNEY SCHAEFER / THE TEMPLE NEWS

Two years after the university implemented a deferred recruitment policy for fraternities and sororities, Student Activities reported the average GPA of students in Greek life increased from 2.97 to 3.07. The number of students who joined Greek life also increased.

The deferred recruitment policy requires freshmen to have a 2.5 GPA and complete 12 college credits — the minimum number required in one semester as a full-time student — before they rush a fraternity or sorority. This means most freshmen must wait until the spring semester to be a part of Greek life.

Rushing and recruitment often take place over a number of days and require students to devote a large portion of time to meeting with chapter leaders. The university determined it was taxing on first-semester freshmen’s’ grades.

Before the policy was implemented in 2015, the university did not have any academic requirements for freshmen joining Greek life. Instead, the 30 fraternities and sororities were responsible for setting their own academic standards for new members.

Sarah Hernandez, program coordinator for fraternity and sorority life, said the university knew GPAs increased at other universities that deferred recruitment, but this wasn’t the main reason Temple implemented the policy.

“Fraternity and sorority life is one of the only areas of Temple’s campus and culture where when you enter into, you’re a member for life,” Hernandez said. “We felt like the students needed a little bit more time than just two weeks to be able to make that decision. That’s the ultimate reason why we chose to switch to deferred recruitment.”

Hernandez said the deferred recruitment policy allowed the university to “superimpose a college GPA.” Prior to deferring recruitment policy, students could use their high school GPA when applying to Greek life organizations.

“It just isn’t equivalent. We wanted to see that you were a good student at Temple before you joined into this organization,” Hernandez added.

With Greek life’s GPA and involvement rising, Temple continues to expand Greek Life on Main Campus.

During Spring 2016, Phi Beta Sigma fraternity, Sigma Gamma Rho sorority and Zeta Phi Beta sorority presented in front of the expansion committee, which reviews applications from organizations and selects Greek organizations.

Hernandez said the Expansion Committee is led by student representatives and advisers from Greek life chapters and councils on campus, people affiliated with the national chapters and Temple administrators, like herself.

In the 2014-15 academic year, the expansion committee allowed a chapter of Lambda Theta Phi Latin Fraternity to open at Temple.

There are four councils that house Greek organizations at Temple. Hernandez said Student Activities began expanding the Interfraternity Council last spring and will conclude this October, meaning the university will be adding another fraternity to campus. This fall, the Panhellenic Council will begin its expansion.

Abby DeVore, the president of the Temple University Greek Association, rushed Alpha Xi Delta in Fall 2014 before the policy was implemented.

DeVore, a senior entrepreneurship and journalism major, experienced Greek Life before and after the policy started, and said she credits the increase in GPA averages and involvement to deferred recruitment.

DeVore said she was upset with the new policy at first because she had to wait longer to get a “little” — a new member of a sorority who is paired up with an older member, also known as a “big,” as part of a Greek life tradition.

“It was the next full new member class after mine, and I didn’t want to wait to get a little that long,” she added.

“It really gives people time to get it together before they jump into such a large time commitment,” DeVore added. “It gives Greek life the ability to really find members who want to be there and want to be a part of something bigger than them.”

Eric Mussoline, a junior human resources major and member of Phi Kappa Theta, rushed his freshman year in Spring 2016. He was a part of the first class affected by deferred recruitment.

Mussoline said he was thankful he couldn’t get involved in Greek life right away.

“I thought [deferred recruitment] was a smart idea,” Mussoline said. “It allows incoming students to get settled into college before jumping straight into Greek life.”

Temple is not the only campus in Philadelphia to defer recruitment. St. Joseph’s University requires students to have at least 12 credits before they rush a fraternity or sorority.

“Making a life-long decision the first two weeks of college is a big deal,” Hernandez said. “That’s kind of the basis as to why we chose that policy.”

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