Greek life. Seeing those words in anybody’s opinion column is usually enough to make someone immediately stop reading and throw away the newspaper, because the piece almost always goes one way or the other. You either absolutely love it or you think it’s absolutely stupid. But please, people, before you throw down my column in exasperation and go, “I can’t believe she’s really writing about Greek life; have some originality!” I promise you that I won’t say what you think I will. Well, at least not entirely.
As I’m sure many of you know, John Carroll’s fraternity and sorority recruitment took place last week. How would you know that? Well, for the ladies, it means they quite literally disappeared for basically the entirety of the weekend, either because they were going through recruitment or they are already part of an organization and were recruiting their new members. It truly is an excruciating process, and that is what I’m here to discuss this week.
For those of you who don’t know anything about me, I am a proud sister of Kappa Kappa Gamma. I went through recruitment last year as a sophomore and excitedly joined the sisterhood that has undoubtedly shaped my college experience for the better. I won’t go into detail about that though, for the obvious reasons stated above. The point is, going through recruitment is still a fresh memory in my mind. This year, I got to be at the other end of the table, which, in all honesty, is an entirely different experience and just as nerve-wracking. Yes, I was excited to meet the girls who could potentially join my lovely organization, but I was also incredibly nervous about the kind of impression that I would make on them. What a lot of people don’t realize is that recruitment really is a two-way street. The girls who are rushing definitely are concerned about convincing us they would be beneficial to the sorority, but we are equally concerned with convincing girls they belong with us, too. It is a very personal process, and now, having been on both ends of the table, I must say I believe there should be some changes.
The sorority recruitment process basically goes like this: any girl who is interested can sign up. There are a few activities before recruitment weekend in which the interested girls can meet some Greek members in a very casual setting, such as at the highlighter party and the Meet the Greeks picnic in the fall. They also can interact with Greek members in other casual settings, such as in or out of class, in the cafeteria, etc. Then, recruitment weekend rolls around. The girls who are really interested sign up, and basically spend the entire weekend meeting each of the five sororities on campus, gradually narrowing down their options at the end of each day. By Sunday, the final day, the girls are asked to pick which sorority they would like to join. If the sorority they pick also chooses them, they become new members.
The problem with this is that the whole process is similar to speed dating on steroids. There are roughly 60 girls in each sorority, and over 100 girls rush each year. There is not nearly enough time in one weekend for everyone to really get to know each other. In most cases, the girl in the sorority gets to talk to the potential new member for maybe 10 minutes, if she is lucky, and then usually must base her judgement off that one interaction. Furthermore, it is virtually impossible to meet every single potential new member. Therefore, in most cases, girls are forced to base their votes either on very little information or the information that other members provide. Additionally, going through recruitment is like going to five interviews in a row. It is a very unnatural and awkward setting, and for most girls, it is very difficult for them to truly be themselves.
I feel that this system should be remodeled to resemble the fraternity recruiting process more closely. If the potential new members were given the chance to get to know each of the sororities a little better through a more extended period of time, say, over the span of a week, they would likely find it less exclusive. It would also benefit the girls in the sororities as well, by allowing them to get to know their potential new members in a much more relaxed setting where they are more likely to be comfortable and let their true personalities shine. Finally, increasing the amount of recruitment time would also increase the number of girls one would get to meet, which would eliminate the problem of having to vote on someone you didn’t get to know very well. I really, truly wish such changes would be strongly considered, because it would definitely make Greek life a much more inclusive process and eliminate one of the most negative stereotypes that it has on campus.