You may have heard of a little thing called sorority recruitment which will be going on in the Spring Semester. If you’ve thought about going through recruitment here at Gannon, you might have a million questions. Here is the handbook that will answer your questions from “what are these words?” to “what do I wear?” and “Should I even go through?” So here it is, the Unofficial Official Sorority Recruitment Handbook:
COMMON QUESTIONS AND STATEMENTS
What is a Sorority and Why Would I Want to be in it?
According to the dictionary, a sorority is a women’s student organization formed chiefly for social purposes and having a name consisting of Greek letters. But that definition leaves out some other very key aspects of sorority life. Sorority women do a ton of volunteer work on their own or with their official philanthropies. Last year, Gannon’s sorority community completed over 3,500 hours of service. They also offer a magnitude of leadership opportunities to their sisters. Since they are student-run organizations, many members hold positions within their chapter, which help them to develop leadership skills to use in other organizations. Finally, sororities usher you into one of the biggest communities on campus; you don’t just interact with your sorority but also all of the Fraternity and Sorority Life community. If you like volunteering, leadership, and/or making friends, consider sorority recruitment.
What is Formal Recruitment?
Recruitment is the process you go through when you want to join a sorority. You meet all the sororities and slowly start to narrow them down to determine which one you feel like you belong to. There are multiple days where you and the sororities get to know each other. You learn about their philanthropies, their colors and symbols, mottos, and what they stand for. They learn about you: your likes, dislikes, leadership past, and much more. The recruitment process is a two-way street. Its designed so that you and the sorority want each other through each step of the process. I’ll go over those steps later (and what to wear on what days.)
Here at Gannon, formal recruitment costs some money. When I went through the process two years ago, I was not sure if I even wanted to join a sorority, but in the end, I thought “I’ve spent money on dumber things.” You might decide halfway through that this is not your thing and that’s okay, you bought a lesson for the price of a new shirt.
I just don’t think sorority life is for me
You’d be shocked how many people in sororities had said the same thing before joining. There are plenty of stereotypes and rumors about fraternities and sororities circling campus. It’s very important to understand that these judgments and stereotypes are not all true. Do we all yell when we see each other? Sometimes, (huge apology to anyone who is around when this happens; we just get excited to see one another). But other stereotypes are not true. Academics are extremely important to each sorority. Not all sorority women are girly; there’s a wide variety of people who are involved in sororities and all are uniquely themselves. The best advice I can give if you’re not convinced is to just talk to a sister. Ask her about her experience and learn from her.
I don’t have time for a sorority
Alright, so this statement makes me laugh. From my own experience, you make time for things you love. I’m a collegiate athlete. I have two majors and two minors. I work 20 hours a week. I am involved in the honors program, as I am on their leadership board and run their social media accounts. Then, for my sorority, I am VP of Growth, which is responsible for running recruitment. I’m not saying this all to brag about what I’m involved in, I’m just trying to show that if you love something, you’ll find the time. You don’t have to take leadership roles in the sorority (even though I STRONGLY recommend it). I know plenty of people who are not as involved on campus less and others who are not involved in leadership roles within their sororities and they all still love where they are at. I know people who are involved more than I am and still always contribute to their sorority. No matter what, you’ll find the balance that will work for you. So, do not let this one contribute to you not going through recruitment.
WORDS TO KNOW
Bid: An official invitation to join a sorority
Bid Night: A ceremony held the evening of bid-signing where all women who signed a bid are announced in alphabetical order. When your name is called, you run through your new sorority’s designated curtain where they will greet you with open arms. The sisters are not typically aware of which women they will be greeting, so the surprise is half the fun.
Continuous Open Bidding: This is a chance for certain sororities to give out bids throughout the rest of the academic year. If you miss formal recruitment, look out for other recruitment events that the chapters hold because most will be able to extend additional bids after recruitment has ended.
Legacy: A PNM who has a mother, aunt, or sister who was a sister of a certain sorority. (They are not guaranteed a bid from that sorority).
Panhellenic (Council)/NPC: Panhellenic Council is the governing body of the sororities on campus. It is a board composed of elected members of the sororities on campus. They are responsible for sorority-wide community involvement, planning recruitment, ensuring that the National Panhellenic Conference’s rules are being upheld on campus, and much more. The National Panhellenic Conference, or NPC, is the national organization that sets standards and expectations for all sororities nation-wide.
Philanthropy: This is a designated organization or charity that a chapter has adopted as a regular recipient of their service and financial donations. Every chapter holds fundraising events to raise money for their philanthropy throughout the year.
Potential New Member (PNM): This is a woman who is going through the recruitment process.
Recruitment Counselor: These are women who were selected to give guidance to PNMs throughout the recruitment process. These are the women who you will want to go to if you have questions, doubts, or any kind of input during the recruitment process.
Snap Bids: An option for chapters to extend a bid to a PNM after the recruitment matching process has ended. For example, if a woman dropped from recruitment before a bid was extended, or a woman attended a sorority recruitment event but did not go through the formal recruitment process, she could be offered a snap bid. Snap bids can be extended up to Bid Night.
Strict Silence: A time period during recruitment when PNMs cannot speak to sorority sisters about the process. This is to prevent persuasion, favoritism, and allow PNMs to reflect on their experiences to ensure that they are making their decisions for themselves, and not based on anyone else’s influence.
Total: The maximum number of PNMs a sorority can welcome into their sorority.
I would be lying if I said that recruitment weekends are super easy and not stressful at all. It’s a lot of talking and it’s a lot smiling. There’s stress just sprinkled throughout the whole thing like pixie dust. But it is an essential process to finding the sorority that best fits you and it is the most rewarding. The feeling I had when I got to wear my sorority letters for the very first time was indescribable. They are a constant reminder that there are women all over the country who I am connected with, living by the same values and ideals. But the process of finding that starts small. The point of each step of the recruitment process is for you (the PNM) and the sororities to get to know each other. At Gannon, the process is three days long, split between two weekends. In between the two weekends, there will be two days that will offer you the chance to 1. Delve deeper in the sororities’ philanthropies and 2. Get more one-on-one time with your recruitment counselors. Here are how the days go, what to expect, and what to wear:
The Basics: This is the first night of recruitment and the longest. You’ll meet with all the other PNMs in one area (most likely Beyer) and you’ll be split into your recruitment groups. You’ll talk and go over the whole process for that day. You’ll be meeting with all four sororities for a small amount of time. You’ll talk to a lot of the women in each chapter and you’ll learn about their basics: colors, mascots/symbols, philanthropy, and their “vibe”. At the end of the night, you will rank your top four.
What to Expect: No voice by the end of the night. You’re going to be doing a massive amount of talking. Not only are the chapters trying to teach you about them, but they want to learn as much as possible about you too. Also, have two or three interesting facts ready to tell everyone, you’ll be asked and the more interesting the better you’ll stand out.
What to Wear: Cute and simple. I personally wore black jeans, a green short sleeve blouse, and black strappy flats. I know other people who wore blue jeans and an off the shoulder shirt. The best advice on outfits for this day is to wear a statement piece. It could be a necklace, a hairstyle, or fun shoes. This statement piece will help you stand out and with 100 other PNMs standing out is not a bad thing.
The Basics: This round starts by you going back to Beyer and getting your house schedule. You can be asked back by up to three chapters (it is TOTALLY OKAY if you do not get asked back by three chapters, a lot of women don’t.) You’ll go to each house and the women will have games and exercises for them to learn more about you. They’ll give you tours of the house and explain their sisterhoods, philanthropies, leadership opportunities, and values more in-depth. When you are done with this round you will rate your top two sororities.
What to Expect: A lot of walking, talking, listening, and being cold. You essentially walk the entirety of campus a few times. You again talk a lot because everyone wants to get to know you. You want to listen really hard on this one because you learn the most about each sorority during this round. You cannot technically go inside the house until the exact second the round is supposed to start (no one gets extra time or less time). So as long as it not below zero or precipitating hard outside, you’ll most likely stand outside until your house round begins.
What to Wear: More formal than Campus Rounds with comfy shoes for walking. I wore a navy-blue skirt, a navy and white striped blouse, and brown booties. But black jeans, a cute sweater, and booties would work perfectly too. Don’t forget your statement piece !!!
The Basics: You’ll start just like you did for every other round. You’ll get your list from your recruitment counselor and plan for the nights. You’ll be brought to somewhere on campus where the specific sorority has prepared their special ritual for you. This is the night you truly learn the most about the sorority, what they stand for/who they are, and what is most important to them. At the end of this night, you will be asked to rank your top two sororities. You do have the option to only put one sorority down, but it is recommended that you don’t do that.
What to Expect: Emotions and a lot of them. This is the night almost every sister credit to the reason they chose their selected sorority. The rituals can be emotional, but they are meant to be a chance to see the sorority in the deepest view you’ve had. Not only is it emotional because of the ritual but some PNMs have a hard time choose between their two sororities. This is when the recruitment counselors come in and discuss a ton of ways for the PNMs to decide on where they belong.
What to Wear: Fancy. A dress, skirt, dress pants will all work. I wore a baby blue long sleeve dress with black booties. You want to look nice this night because you want to show that you care enough to dress nicely for their special ritual.
The Basics: You’ll either get an email or a call telling you if you got a bid or not. If you did, you go and sign it. Then later that night you meet at the location told to you (last year it
was the Avalon). You’ll stand behind the curtain as the sororities come in. Then the recruitment counselors will yell your name, you’ll run out of the curtain, and your new family will welcome you home.
What to Expect: Loud screaming. Chanting. A lot of pictures. The pure joy of running through that curtain.
What to Wear: Girl, dress up and FEEL GOOD. It’s time to celebrate.
ADVICE FROM SORORITY SISTERS
1. Be Yourself. Don’t pretend to be someone you’re not because the sorority you’re joining wants to know the real you.
2. It is important to remember that you get out of it what you put into it. If you are engaged and ask questions, the conversation will be much more genuine. Try to break away from the typical fast-facts icebreakers, because then the experience will be much more enjoyable, for you and the sorority members.
3. Try to avoid going through recruitment with your friends. If you do, try not to talk to them about every detail. You want to make your own opinions and find YOUR perfect match. I promise you that you and your friends are all different from one another. Don’t let someone else’s experiences affect how you feel about yours. I know how badly you want to know who they ranked, who they didn’t like, and where they’re going, but you don’t want to join a sorority because of all your friends. You’ll make new friends in a sorority that is perfect for you. It won’t end your friendship. If anything, it provides an opportunity to meet even more people.
4. Don’t panic about the little things. No one will remember that your hair was slightly frizzy because of the snow.
5. Be NICE. While the sorority process may seem orchestrated, remember that these are real women that you will continue to see on campus and interact within your remaining years. If you are disrespectful during a chapter’s round, they will remember that. Many women in sororities have friends in the other sororities, so if you are mean or disrespectful, other chapters will hear about it, too.
6. The sisters are just as nervous as you! We want you badly and we want you to love us!
7. Try to stand out. If you have a funny story or a really cool fun fact, share it!
8. Don’t go in with a dead-set goal. A sorority could surprise you. You don’t want to give up the whole process because the one sorority you liked didn’t ask you back. All that means is that there’s something else out there for you.
9. Ignore rumors and stereotypes and what other people say. If you love a sorority but you hear someone talking bad about them, ignore them. Go where you feel the happiest. I guarantee you, whatever negative things people are saying about a chapter holds more truth about the person than it does the sorority.
10. Ask questions. We want to share as much as we can with you so if you want to know something please ask!
DO NOT TALK ABOUT BOYS or PARTYING. NOT AT ALL. NOPE. NONE. BIG HEAD SHAKE.
So there it all is! I’m sure I forgot some stuff and I’m positive you might still have questions. There will be info sessions for those questions and your recruitment counselors (come recruitment) will become your guides. If you want to sign up (which you should) the sign up for recruitment is http://bit.do/gusorority . do it, you won’t regret it.
I’d like to thank Maria Hays ( Phi Sigma Sigma Alumni) and Kennedy Walters (Alpha Sigma Alpha and Past Panhellenic President) for their help with this article and their dedication to the Fraternity and Sorority Life Community. Thank you to all the sisters who reached out and offered their advice.