A record number of men are rushing two of Harvard’s three fraternities this semester, according to fraternity leaders.
Over 100 men attended Sigma Chi’s first rush event last week, said Tony Huang ’12, a member of Sigma Chi’s executive committee. About 72 men signed into Sigma Alpha Epsilon’s first events, according to President Phillip J. Morris ’12.
Sororities also experienced an increase in numbers this year. Two hundred and sixty eight women rushed Harvard’s three sororities, representing the largest female rush class in the University’s history.
Unlike sororities—which require women to register with the Panhellenic Council and allow them to rush multiple sororities at the same time—fraternities conduct rush activities individually and do not formally record the names of the men who attend their meetings. As a result, the exact number of students who rushed the fraternities this semester is not available.
The master of Alpha Epsilon Pi, the third fraternity on campus, did not return repeated requests for comment.
Fraternities hold rush two times during the school year—once in the fall and once in the spring.
According to Morris, freshmen dominate both rush classes, and more sophomores rush in the spring than in the fall.
Morris said SAE likely will accept more men than usual this year, speculating that the number of bids extended could be the largest yet.
Last spring, 48 men rushed SAE and seven were accepted. This year the fraternity may extend bids to up to 15 men, Morris said, who added that the largest number of men SAE has accepted in the past is 13.
Sigma Chi is unlikely to accept a larger number of brothers, despite the exceptionally large rush class, according to Huang.
Students who attended Sigma Chi’s events acknowledged that there were a large number of people in attendance.
“I think it definitely gave a more legitimate feel to the event and made it a much more gregarious atmosphere,” said Andrew K. Cohen ’13, who attended a Sigma Chi rush event.
Morris attributed the increase in rush numbers to the collaborative efforts of both fraternities and sororities to expand the Greek presence on campus.
“I think just Greeks getting their name out has had a big effect,” Morris said.
He acknowledged that sororities seem to be growing more rapidly than fraternities, attributing the discrepancy to the smaller number of social clubs available to women on campus.
“The fraternity situation is a little bit different because there are more male social groups to compete with on campus,” Morris said.
During the fraternity rush process, which lasts about two weeks, men attend a series of events and meet-and-greets with current members. Sigma Chi does not cut anyone during rush, but SAE cuts men at various points throughout the process, according to fraternity leaders.
Ultimately each fraternity extends a small number of bids to those men they believe fit the ideals of their organizations.
—Staff writer Hana N. Rouse can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.