Sorority Recruitment. Those two words are a mystery to almost every person on campus who is not part of the College Panhellenic Council chapters and the women who have disaffiliated from those chapters.
From Sept. 7-Sept. 11, almost 200 young women made the decision to attempt to join a sorority at UNC Greensboro. While the process isn’t grueling or torturous, it is very emotional for many women because they’re trying to find the right sorority for them.
As a Recruitment Counselor for Pi Chi I have been asked, “How do you know which chapter is right,” more than a handful of times. The answer to this is so simple for me; go where you are yourself without fear of judgement.
Taking the popularity, philanthropy, and room decorations out of the decision is often the best way to go for these young women because they’re meeting so many people so quickly. Sorority recruitment is essentially speed dating with room decorations, cute outfits and chants as your presents for the date, in lieu of flowers or candy.
The women going through recruitment are being led by members of each of the chapters on campus, who have been selected to disaffiliate from their respective chapters for 6 months in order to be unbiased leaders in the Panhellenic community.
The second night of recruitment is what we call Sisterhood Night. This is when the speed dating analogy really comes out. Each woman going through recruitment talks to a couple of women from each chapter for around seven minutes per person.
The idea behind this is the more people you can meet, the more personalities you can experience and the more that the chapters can learn about your personality.
Luckily, Sisterhood Night is not terribly emotional. Most women going through have an idea of the chapters that they would like to continue to visit. Which for me is great because I have the emotional range of a teaspoon.
Philanthropy Night is the third night of recruitment. On Philanthropy Night girls have the chance to meet up to three chapters through a process of mutual selection.
This is a hard night because it is the first time that the girls won’t be meeting all of the chapters. It’s even harder whenever a woman doesn’t get to see a chapter that she wants to join.
The conversations for Philanthropy Night focus on service and leadership. Chapters want to know if you were involved in high school and if you’re passionate about serving your community. Sure, that isn’t the only thing that Greek Life does, but it’s hands down the backbone of each chapter.
On the Recruitment Counselor side, this is the night where we get a lot of questions. It’s the second night that women are meeting chapters and they’re confused. Narrowing to three was easy, but two? Not so much.
Finally, the last night of meeting sisters is called Preference Night. This is a special night where chapters invite women to be a part of open ritual, meaning a ritual that is special to each organization, but is not closed off to just initiated members.
The conversations on this night are deep and personal. Often, women in chapters will talk about why they chose their sorority and what it means to them.
For some, their stories involve best friends, philanthropic connections or just finding a place where they could be accepted as is. This is the night where chapters open their hearts to potential new members, and show them what a loving place each chapter can be.
Being a Recruitment Counselor is teaching me how important it is to relax and listen. Women going through recruitment need a calming and reassuring voice, but they also need someone who they can vent to about the decisions that must be made.
The women going through recruitment can only be asked back to two chapters on Preference Night, and this is when everything gets real. They start to realize that tomorrow they could be running into the arms of a chapter that they talked to during Preference Night.
This is the night of tears, the night that chapters rejoice, and the night when Pi Chis can’t sleep. The final day is Bid Day.
On Bid Day, Pi Chis start the morning off bright and early by getting everything set up to finally end a six month separation from their chapters, and get women pumped about joining chapters of their own.
After hours of waiting and being told that they cannot show their bid cards to anyone, the potential new members head outside to the chapters that have been waiting to welcome them with open arms.
After the women run home, Pi Chis finally get to take off their Recruitment Counselor letters and don those of their chapter once again by literally running to their chapters and getting tackled to the ground.
Recruitment week means no sleep, dealing with tears, being super hungry because the days are long with zero breaks, and finding the women who make life whole. While a long–and sometimes annoying, process–it is still one that is worth every waking second.