On Nov. 13, 2017, SigEp CEO Brian Warren spoke on HLN about the problems associated with rush. “One of the things we’ve been vocal about is the need to abolish this system of rush,” Warren told reporter Carol Costello. Warren shared that rush has, in many cases, “become a funnel for high-risk individuals seeking the high-risk experience we are trying to get away from.” Several brothers responded with their thoughts about the future of recruitment for SigEp.
Greek life expert calls for end to rush
After 20 years working in Greek life, I’ve come to a conclusion: Rush sucks.
Why? Rush forces us to make long-term decisions from short-term data. It’s in the name. We literally “rush” to recruit people instead of really getting to know them.
If a guy is looking for a typical “frat” experience, what does he do? He participates in rush and tries to convince the brothers that he’s a “chill dude” who really wants to join.
Do good men join through rush too? Sure. But hidden among them are the guys that get our chapters closed. And far more good men can be recruited outside of rush. Good recruitment is absolutely necessary. Rush is not.
My experience says there’s a better way. I’ve spoken on over 500 campuses, consulted with more than 20 national fraternities and sororities, and taught thousands of chapters how to recruit more and better members. The answer: Recruit 365 days a year.
When we recruit year-round, we have time to identify, select and recruit the best members for our chapters. This model leverages our existing networks of friends and classmates, as well as networks we create through programs like the Balanced Man Scholarship. So, try this: Don’t add recruitment events to your calendar, add recruitment to the events on your calendar. Show potential members what makes SigEp different.
David Stollman, Maryland-College Park ’94
Stollman is the owner of CAMPUSPEAK, Inc.
Brother says Balanced Man Scholarship changed his chapter
The Balanced Man Scholarship can redefine the way we recruit. Just like any competitive scholarship program, it attracts the highest performers — students who have a record of hard work and success. At my chapter, the scholarship even forced us to raise our minimum standards around GPA, campus involvement and leadership experience because our scholarship applicants were so strong.
Our goal is to recruit 80 percent of our new members through the scholarship. This past year, we were able to recruit 35 new members, including valedictorians, all-state athletes, multiple Associated Student Body executives, nonprofit founders and a Gatorade Player of the Year. These men finished their first semester with a 3.53 GPA — the highest among any IFC or Panhellenic chapter, and the highest recorded fraternity GPA in the history of our campus.
The Balanced Man Scholarship is a tool that has carried my chapter to the next level, and I believe it has the ability to raise the standard for SigEp chapters nationwide.
Taylor Swanson, Washington State ’19
Swanson is a former vice president of recruitment at the Buchanan Cup-winning Washington State Chapter.
Alumnus cites scholarship as reason he joined
There are many outstanding men on college campuses who want nothing to do with a fraternity — until they are introduced to SigEp through something as simple as the Balanced Man Scholarship.
I would have never joined SigEp (or any fraternity for that matter) if I hadn’t learned about the scholarship. It appealed to me initially simply as a way to help pay tuition. I wasn’t interested in a typical rush process, so I didn’t visit fraternities at freshman orientation events. But once I realized the character of Maine Alpha’s brothers and how truly different the chapter was from other fraternities, I was much more comfortable participating in recruitment events.
As a brother, I benefited from the leadership and personal development our Fraternity provides, including learning to work with diverse groups and appreciate varying viewpoints, to manage conflicting priorities, and to be diligent in my research and work. SigEp also cemented my belief in a balanced lifestyle that includes fitness. Thinking back, I still remember smiling and feeling proud when we recruited many other young men who were not initially interested in a fraternity until they learned how truly different SigEp is.
Ben Lakin, Maine ’07
Lakin is a Smith & Nephew staff scientist specializing in biomaterials and advanced healing for sports medicine. He was selected as a member of SigEp’s 40 under 40 in 2015.