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Thursday, February 25, 2021

Sophomore Christian Mora once thought fraternities were all about drinking beer, partying a lot and paying for friends.

But after researching fraternities and talking to friends over the summer, the economics major also realized that joining a fraternity could help members get paid.

After researching a Forbes 500 list that detailed the companies with the most Greek CEOs, he grew intrigued and looked up which fraternities they came from. He filtered his choices down to a list of four fraternities, including Lambda Chi Alpha and Sigma Alpha Epsilon.

"I wanted to make more networking connections that will help not only in my college career but in my life," Mora said, who was offered a bid by Lambda Chi Alpha earlier this week.

Mora was one of many students to join one of UF's 26 fraternities since the Interfraternity Council's recruitment week began Sunday. About 550 prospective members attended a council forum Sunday, according to the council's Executive Board President Benjamin Caswell.

Pledge class sizes vary from about five to 45, and there is no recruitment cap, Caswell said.

Throughout the week, chapter houses were open for lunch, dinner and an evening event for prospective members to visit.

For one student, rushing was a family affair. Freshman Thomas Derbes only visited a couple of houses this week-Sigma Chi and Lambda Chi Alpha. His uncle and cousins were members of these fraternities at other universities.

After meeting the members at Lambda Chi Alpha and receiving a bid that "looked like a wedding invitation," he accepted.

"I told them about my roots, and it was pretty nice. They were very welcoming," said Derbes, who is shy and hopes his fraternity will help him be more outgoing and get more involved.

Mora visited four houses he had on a list and about three others. He said it came down to which house he felt he connected better with or which members he could have a regular conversation with.

On Monday, Mora was offered a bid for Lambda Chi Alpha. The next day members explained to him that joining a fraternity is comparable to taking another three-credit class.

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"I think this will actually make me better with my time management," Mora said, who is taking 15 credits. "You realize you have so much to do so you have to organize it."

When Mora accepted his bid, Lambda Chi Alpha members ran outside of their Luau-themed house to huddle around him and shout as they welcomed their new member.

"There are bad connotations with the word frat. The world has a picture of a frat guy, not a fraternity," Mora said, who no longer views fraternity members as party animals. "A fraternity - that's what I joined."

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