I do not regret my decision to participate in Formal Recruitment for one second. I was fortunate enough to find a group of girls that are genuine, kind, supportive and didn’t hesitate to extend their offer of sisterhood to me. That being said, the path to getting there wasn’t exactly as uplifting for everyone involved.
For those who aren’t familiar with the process of formal recruitment for sororities, it consists of visiting each house in forty-minute rounds. During your forty-minute stay, you are paired up with an active member of the house to speak with. The conversations usually remain surface-level, (i.e. Your major, where you are from, what classes you’re taking this semester.)
The amount of girls you talk to in a given house could vary anywhere between one and five. This is all dependent on how many people come up to you and join your conversation. So, essentially, your potential membership to a house could be contingent upon a single, forty-minute conversation with one person.
There is no way you can truly get to know someone based off of a single conversation. I have friends that have taken me weeks, almost months, to get to fully know.
Not to mention, entering a sorority house for the first time is intimidating. Clearly, the active members enjoy being there and are greatly enthusiastic. This is because they’ve had the time to get comfortable and know the people they surround themselves with. As for the PNM’s (Potential New Members), the same cannot be said.
Let’s consider someone who isn’t the most outgoing and tends to be more shy in unfamiliar settings. Now, take this person and have them walk into a house where almost one hundred girls are singing and staring at you.
Imagine how uncomfortable they’re going to feel. Imagine how uncomfortable you’d feel? Honestly, I don’t think anyone could possibly be made at ease by it.
Not only does recruitment put those with social anxieties at a disadvantage, but marginalizes women of color. Historically the National Panhellenic Conference
was founded and built off of uplifting women pursuing higher education- which, at the time, were mostly white women. The exclusion of women of color has continued, making it hard to recruit these women when they are not already represented. It is never comforting being the minority in any given setting, further deterring diversity from the Panhellenic conference.
There are no simple solutions for solving the issues surrounding the way recruitment is done. However, I do wish women that holding positions of power in Panhel do take into consideration these problems.
A superficial process isn’t beneficial to improving the image of greek life on college campuses, but more importantly, it influences how young women view themselves in a negative way. If the way we go about finding the right house can be adjusted to promote inclusivity, all women involved in the process will have a more positive experience.
I feel grateful to have found a group of inspiring and accepting women, and I want all women to have the opportunity to find the same.