Going through sorority recruitment can be a crazy time. I remember at times feeling overwhelmed over the door chants every house did, excited about all of the people I met, skeptical if I would know the right house for me, and at times even worried I would make a mistake. I didn't even know my way around campus yet or 10 people total at my new school. How could I possibly make this decision?
Of course, fast forward four years later, I found my "home", made life-long friends, had the best big and two littles I absolutely love. But how did I know which house was right for me? In my opinion, it was the conversation and connections I had with the other women I spoke to. But a lot of it was just a feeling I got by being in a space. This year, recruitment is going to look a lot different. Some days are going to be held over video chats while other schools will have an incredibly limited capacity. So how do college girls going through recruitment and sorority women feel about these changes? As usual, I turned to social media to figure out if I was the only one skeptical of these new modalities of sorority recruitment.
1. "It's dumb but respectful about people's health. Adapt to changing times or get sick."
This Ohio State alumna shared she thinks this new modality is a little off. However, she did acknowledge it is important to adapt to the changes. Honestly, I agree. I think it would be pretty hard to maintain a safe distance of six feet during recruitment. And masks in the crazy heat, not really conducive to talking. It may not be fun, but still very necessary.
2. "I think it is stupid and it's gonna possibly affect PNMs decision."
A current University of Arizona student mentioned the possibility of this new modality affecting a PNM (potential new member's) decision and honestly, I'm right there with her. A big part of sorority recruitment is finding a sense of belonging. In order to make sure everyone is safe, there need to be changes to what the recruitment process looks like, but how will these changes affect the women looking to find their "home?" I knew a chapter wasn't right for me based on the sense I got from the person I was talking to or just a general feeling. Will these girls still have that option?
3. "I had to submit a video, how will that be enough?"
One PNM going through recruitment shared that she had to submit a short video about herself and was worried that wouldn't be enough to share who she really is. It is an incredibly valid concern. As it is, the parties are sometimes too short, but a simple video is never enough and what about the possibility of tech problems? There are so many potential problems that online recruitment can cause.
4. "I'm honestly excited for recruitment online..."
Here is one student from the University of Central Florida's response.
"I'm honestly excited for recruitment online! I think each sorority is trying to make the best out of the scenario that we're all in. Doing recruitment online is the safest way to keep both active members & pnms safe, which is the top priority for UCF. We also have to ensure that we're following CDC guidelines and doing recruitment online was the safest way to do so according to the University & Pan Exec, which I completely agree with. Overall, recruitment online is going to be a different experience for every current sorority member & pnm. However, I am looking forward to getting new members in Panhellenic even though the recruitment process is online this fall semester."
5."We are doing recruitment through Zoom this year. I am nervous about it..."
A junior at the University of West Georgia shared this statement:
"We are doing recruitment through Zoom this year. I am nervous about it because the point of recruitment is seeing if that connection is there, and it's hard to truly connect with potential new members through zoom."
6. "As a former rush chair, it's hard to capture the essence of a woman but be safe."
One woman shared that she believes it is going to be hard to truly capture who these PNMs are through zoon, but being safe should take precedence. Frankly, I completely agree with her.
7. "I wish it was in person so the PNMs can get the true feel but I'm still happy it's happening in the fall."
While it sounds cheesy, a really big part of recruitment involves a feeling. Although it is hard to quantify feelings, PNMs need to trust their gut, which may be hard to do without getting the full experience of sorority recruitment.
8. "I think recruitment should just be canceled for the fall."
One panhellenic woman at CU Boulder had this to say about virtual recruitment:
"I think it's hard not to do recruitment in person. Not only is it harder for the PNMs, it's harder for the active members. I say this because recruitment is based around how you get along with the PNMs, and I'll be honest, how they dress factors into a big part of it for some sororities. Usually, girls will find some of their best friends on bid day, and not being able to have that in-person interaction may cause the new members not to have the "full" sorority experience. I understand that each chapter is required to fill a quota for their headquarters and sometimes school each year, but I think recruitment should just be canceled for the fall. It just doesn't seem productive and possible to do it online. I wouldn't be surprised if a lot of people drop before initiation."
9. "This makes me glad my school does recruitment in the spring."
Honestly, if we are looking at the glass half-full than we can hope typical recruitment will resume during the spring semester. But who knows what the world will look like in a few months?
10. "I wish it was in person because it's more personal, but I'm glad it's still happening in some form."
This panhellenic woman from the University of Arizona is still happy some form of recruitment is happening. I agree, in-person is such a better way to get to know the PNMs, but it is still a good thing that panhellenic communities across the country are trying to find a way to still make this a memorable experience.
11. "While, yes, it would have been fantastic to do in-person recruitment, it is still such a privilege to be able to meet the new women through an online platform."
One panhellenic woman at Oklahoma State said this:
"I believe that doing a virtual recruitment is extremely responsible of the Greek community. While, yes, it would have been fantastic to do in-person recruitment, it is still such a privilege to be able to meet the new women through an online platform. The Panhellenic community is working extremely hard to allow for this recruitment to remain as authentic as any in-person recruitment would be and to make the experience just as rewarding. I think that whether this recruitment was online or in-person, the Panhellenic community would always strive towards making sure every woman going through had a positive experience. One thing I've gotten to see first-person is how strong, resilient, & adaptable the women of the Panhellenic community is & I'm so proud to be a part of it!"
I think this is such an essential part of recruitment to consider. While yes, it is ideal for these women to connect to one another in person, the risk is simply too high. Women across the country are working hard to create a virtual experience for other collegiate women to experience sorority life.