An NIU fraternity has become the first to nationally abolish their regular pledging system, and they feel other fraternities and sororities will soon follow their example.
The national chapters of Phi Sigma Kappa began their “brotherhood program” in fall of 1990 in order to make their rushees “feel more comfortable with the brothers in the house,” said Rich Shippy, public relations chair of Phi Sigma Kappa.
“The previous pledging system seemed to alienate a lot of the younger pledges,” Shippy said. “However, our new brotherhood program helps rushees feel more comfortable with people in the house because they are treated like a brother.”
The brotherhood program is conducted differently than the pledge programs many other fraternities currently use. Men who are interested in joining the house are invited to come to the house and possibly receive a rushing bid, which encourages them to attend different activities with other people in the house, Shippy said.
“When the brothers get to know the rushee well enough and decide they want them in the house, they become activated,” Shippy said.
Junior Michael Bell participated in the Phi Sigma Kappa brotherhood program this semester and was activated in six and a half weeks. He said he loved the program because as an older student, he didn’t have the time to dedicate solely to pledging.
“We were never forced to do anything,” Bell said. “If we couldn’t be at a certain event, it was understood.
“I think in a few years almost all of the fraternities will abolish their pledging programs, which would abolish some of the forms of hazing which occurs,” Bell said.
Todd Blockinger, another rushee for Phi Sigma Kappa who was recently activated, said the brotherhood program drew him to the house because he didn’t want to be an actual pledge.
“I think it (the brotherhood program) creates a greater bond of brotherhood,” Blockinger said.