There's a lot of change happening on UK's campus this year: the new student center opening up, the struggle of the evil eduroam wifi, and of course, delayed recruitment for Panhellenic and IFC. For me, and many other students, it's the delayed recruitment that is really making waves.
For the first time this year, Panhellenic recruitment is not taking place the week before school starts. Instead, the University of Kentucky has mandated that recruitment happens on the first two weekends of school. Open House occurred on August 25th and 26th, and the remaining rounds will occur on labor day weekend, with Bid Day on September 4th. The Saturday of Labor Day Weekend means that all members participating in the recruitment process will miss the (gasp) first home football game of the year.
I'm a Gamma Chi, which means that during the recruitment process, I am disaffiliated from my chapter in order to serve as an unbiased guidance counselor to a group of 12 potential new members. When I went through recruitment, I loved my Gamma Chi, and she was a big part of the reason why I wanted to take on this role. My Gamma Chi's name was Bailey. Bailey was inclusive, positive, and helped bond me with the other girls in my Gamma Chi, regardless of whether they ended up in my chapter. I wanted to be that role model for a new generation.
However, when I interviewed and accepted that role, I had no idea how different the recruitment process was going to be. I was slightly disappointed to realize that the girls would not be able to dedicate their full time and energy to recruitment and getting to hang out with our Gamma Chi group.
They would have classes, and everyone else would already be on campus. I then realized that there was no way I would be able to give all of my time either, as I had class and other organizations that I was involved in. I wanted to give my PNMs (potential new members) the same experience I had. I didn't want to juggle school, and recruitment, and everything else. I certainly didn't want to miss the first Caturday.
As I've now undergone 40 hours of Gamma Chi training, and are well into the thick of the recruitment process, I can tell you that my opinion has changed. This process isn't perfect, and some of my PNMs are certainly stressed about balancing school and rounds, but I can see the advantages.
Because of the delayed recruitment registration deadline, more women had the opportunity to sign up. Everyone started out on the same page by moving in on the same week. The registration deadline didn't end until the first day of classes, giving more women who wouldn't normally know about the Greek process, the chance to learn about it and give it a try.
I personally know of at least one freshman who signed up at the last minute, and would not have been able to do so if the process had been the same as was it in the past. The more women we can get to sign up, the more diverse and inclusive our Panhellenic community can be, which is a huge positive.
While my PNMs haven't been able to devote 100% of their time to recruitment, it's good for them to learn early on how to balance school and Greek life. Being part of any chapter means that some of your weekends will inevitably be filled with philanthropy events, sisterhood retreats, or any number of things. The earlier they can learn how to get their school work done before the weekend, the more successful they will be in both their chapter and school.
This leads to how bonding with PNMs looks different this year but is probably a more accurate representation of how they will hang out in the school year. I couldn't take them all to the mall as my Gamma Chi did, but instead, we had study dates in Starbucks and coffee shops. Much more low-key, but it reinforces the fact that we're all in school first and can support each other while still getting to know one another.
Panhellenic is even hosting a Planner Party so that women will be able to use their syllabi to fill out their planner and meet more women going through recruitment.
Do I still want to go to Caturday? Of course. But I'll survive, and so will all of the women involved in the recruitment process. There are many other home football games, and Panhellenic is making the best of a not ideal situation by hosting a watch party in the Student Center. In between rounds, the girls will be able to take pictures, eat tailgate food, play cornhole, and do all of the things they would've done at a football tailgate.
Overall, I'm proud of the way Panhellenic has responded to this situation. No one likes change, but all of Panhellenic Exec has worked hard to turn this into a positive experience that will ultimately make our community stronger. The PNMs don't know any different; it's only the people that have been here in years past that are really resistant to this change. It's time for everyone to come together, and accept this decision for what it is: not that big of a deal.
****This article is my own opinion and does not represent the views of Panhellenic or the University of Kentucky*******