Formal Recruitment Remodeled
By Rachel Campbell The Panhellenic Council, the student run self regulating body for sorority life, has recently voted to move formal recruitment up from the first Tuesday of Winter term to the Thursday before Winter Term begins. Sorority members and potential new members, commonly referred to as PNMs, would come back to campus at least three days earlier to participate in formal recruitment on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday afternoon or evening the week before classes begin. Bid Day would follow on Sunday.
This change was primarily a result of the concern many sorority women voiced about juggling the responsibilities of formal recruitment with the demands of the first week of classes. Typically, affiliated upperclassmen women must remain at the sorority house past 1 AM every day of formal recruitment. Alice Moore, a member of the Panhellenic Executive Council, has stated, “Many sorority members, myself included, were frustrated with having to balance formal recruitment with classes during the first week of winter term. I think the changes will make formal recruitment less stressful for upperclassmen and PNMs, and will also allow us to focus on academics during that first week of class.”
The decision to change the traditional dates of formal recruitment was not voted on by Panhel alone, but by the individual sororities as well. After discussing the issue with both the Executive members and sorority delegates present, the Panhel President and recruitment chair explained the proposal to each sorority during chapter and answer any questions. Finally, the sororities voted on the proposal and delegates brought their decisions back to Panhel. Julianne Campbell, a first year sorority woman, declares that even though she was originally against the change, she felt that the voting process was done “in a very democratic and fair way by simple hand vote.”
Changing the dates of formal recruitment will not only allow sorority women to focus on their classes the first week of second semester, but will allow winter athletes to engage equally in the rush process. Emma Redding, a first year who pledged, described how she could only attend the second night of formal recruitment due to the demands of her basketball season. She explained, “The one night I could actually go I had eleven minutes to be from practice to the sorority houses in a nice dress. Because I missed the first night, I didn’t have a chance to experience all the sororities and had to drop two chapters without even going to the individual houses."
Several sorority women wondered how this change would affect PNMS specifically. First year Megan Steel stated, "The change will eliminate the stress of rush week on top of starting new classes for everyone involved. The women will no longer feel the need to skip class or fall behind on schoolwork. On the other hand, the PNMs will have very few distractions from the stress of rush week. I think this will create more drama between the PNMs during the formal rush process.”
Abigail Beasley, a first year drawing from her own experience, speculates that an earlier rush week will actually decrease the drama between PNMS. She said, “Everyone returning to campus a day later would definitely distract PNMS from the stress of Bid Day and make it seem as less of a big deal.” Women who choose to remain unaffiliated and not go through the rush process would also escape the chance of feeling left out simply by returning to campus at the normal time. First year Caroline Leak, however, laments that Bid Day would be too early, stating: "I will actually miss having bid day right before tear night because it was so fun and special to go out with your new pledge class right after going through such an emotional week.”
Moving formal recruitment to the week before winter term starts will impact not only sorority women, but their families as well. Pam Steel, mother of first year Megan Steel, explained how the new change would cut into family time. She explained, "Many of the students only return home a couple times a year and Christmas break is one of them. Many families enjoy time at home over the holidays and then take a family vacation before heading back to campus. With the new schedule change, this will shorten or eliminate that opportunity."
Despite the various pros and cons of this coming change, Mary Crowgey, a second year Greek woman and member of the Panhel Council, summarizes: "Panhel changes come as self-regulating changes that are made for the betterment of all sorority women. Since our recruitment process is so different from the mens’, we are still working to perfect the process and there is always room for improvement. Sorority recruitment will never be perfect, but through trial and error we are working on finding the best possible solution to ease anxiety on all."