Jasmine Knox, Staff Writer
As I walked out of the Caf., I saw banners for fraternity recruitment and couldn’t help but be a little jealous. The banners advertised football watching, pizza, nerf gun wars, and casino nights, making me envious of the casual nature with which fraternity men get to conduct their recruitment events. As a sorority woman, I, and all my other Panhellenic sisters internationally, know the stresses of sorority recruitment all too well.
The week (weeks, in the cases of larger schools) of constant hair and makeup prepping, chanting, smiling, posture, and shoes that feel probably about as comfortable as Cinderella’s glass slippers (shattered) is physically exhausting. The mental and emotional exhaustion is an entirely different pain. This year, the Panhellenic Council at FSC saw a record number of women choose to go through the recruitment process- over 300. With a campus size of just over 2,200, a group of over 300 people doing anything is overwhelming. As a senior, I have gone through the formal recruitment once as a potential new member, and three more times as a sister of Alpha Omicron Pi. The parties that used to end around 10:00 p.m. now ran until around midnight, with sisters still needing to conduct discussion and clean their areas.
According to an Alpha Chi Omega sister, “I think recruitment is a very intense process. It’s stressful…I’m all about putting on your best for the potential new members, it just seems like some girls go to extremes. I think the times and number of parties is ridiculous. As a senior I’m trying to focus on my classes. Recruitment makes it very hard to do this, especially when a lot of the professors look down upon Greek life and think it distracts from academics.”
The recruitment process is designed to eliminate as much potential for bias as possible. However, it’s safe to say that it doesn’t always work (we’re women, we talk). Additionally, the recruitment “process of elimination” system leaves hundreds of girls emotionally damaged when they are “dropped” from the house(s) they wanted the most, or in some cases, when they get dropped from the process entirely without explanation. Additionally, women are only able to receive one bid from one house, while fraternity men are able to receive bids from as many houses as possible and choose one to accept.
While sorority women are scheduled to visit specific houses at specific times to ensure that potential new members give each house a fair chance for consideration (lest they be dropped from the process), fraternity men are able to roam freely among all fraternity recruitment events throughout the week. Additionally, sorority women are given “dress codes” for each evening of recruitment, while men are able to dress casually, except for the “formal dinner” evening. It’s understandable that sorority women (and fraternity men, for that matter) are expected to hold themselves to higher standards, but the recruitment process leaves many women stressed and exhausted. This year, many of the sisters and potential new members who went through the recruitment process ended up getting sick from the stress with sinus infections, coughs, and body aches from the physical demands of the process.
Some potential solutions exist, but are not ideal. One solution is to hold sorority recruitment before the start of the new academic year. A vast majority of colleges use this method during the year. However, girls are not given any kind of chance to experience the campus or campus life before choosing to go through recruitment, which may lead to a lower retention rate among sororities. Another option is to conduct recruitment over separate weekends. According to Alpha Omicron Pi advisor Nevena Pehar, this poses some additional issues. “The weekends split for recruitment only works if there is strong Panhellenic trust that chapter members will not recruit potential new members during the week. At FSC, there is a history of having pre-recruitment events so unfortunately I do not think that the campus culture is used to refraining from recruiting during off-recruitment times,” said Pehar.
Brier Wagoner-McCann also presents one additional possible solution: “I think it might be better to bring recruitment back to the Spring of every year. Then you could do it before school starts and it would be a little easier on everyone,” giving potential new members the fall semester to adjust to campus life before choosing to go through recruitment, while still conducting recruitment away from classes.
While there are many different opinions on the matter, a few things are for sure: recruitment is exhausting, emotionally draining, and we’d really like answers as to why we can’t have wings and nerf guns at our parties.