Smokers Though The Years

How has fraternity rush changed over the years?  A lot.  Here are some tidbits I've found online:

Professors and local clergy were invited to smokers and attended.  Students listened to music (including performances from the Clarkson Melody Boys), sang songs (including college songs) around pianos, ate sandwiches, cider, donuts and coffee and played cards.  They also stayed up "way past bedtime."

The fraternities tried having one big party instead of separate smokers at each House, to cut down on the expense and monotony of smokers.   The night bids are handed out there is a Pledge Party.

In 1952 each of the five Clarkson fraternities got one night to hold a smoker, so there was no overlap. In 1952 Clarkson fraternities stopped rushing freshmen in the fall.

And they really did smoke (1954)

A large freshmen class at Clarkson in 1955 caused IFC to break the students into two groups during March smokers to avoid too many students at each smoker.

Spring rush started February 20th in 1956 and lasted three weeks with each fraternity having three smokers.

In 1958, according to one article, there are too many students interested in fraternities at Clarkson and not enough fraternities.  This was causing problems during rush, so some members of IFC attended a regional conference to get some ideas on improving their system.  At a typical smoker there may be 300 rushes present.  They remedy this by making the second round of smokers during only 2 nights, forcing rushes to narrow down their choices earlier.

1959 smoker schedule:

1960 Yearbook

1964 smoker schedule


Smokers were held from October 17th - January 30th in 1974 with each House having three smokers.

1975 Clarkson Integrator ad
1975 Clarkson Integrator ad

The rise of the drinking age (18 to 19 in 1982 then 19 to 21 on December 1, 1985) means another change to smokers - dry rush.  Houses get creative over what to do during smokers, one plays mini golf through the house, others play pool and air hockey.  There are still house tours and "mug shots" taken when the rush enters the house.

In 1989 there were two weeks of smokers (2 per House) then invite-only smokers before bids were handed out.

Fraternities start to focus more on approaching potential members and attempting to recruit them. Pie-eating contests, football games, bowling, poker, movies and even "dorm wars."  Here's what rush looked like Spring 2015 for Sigma Chi and Sig Ep:

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