When I was a freshman, I decided to join a sorority and endure spring recruitment. As a potential new member, I visited all five sororities trying to discover if Greek life was for me.
I remember being scared the first day of rush, choosing my words and an outfit that was sure to impress. All potential members visit representatives from all the Greek organizations, and meet the current members during one long night in the Palumbo Academic Building. It was hard to remember names and faces, but if the members saw potential you would get an invitation to visit them at their own house the next day.
I was chosen to visit three houses. Each house was different with its own advantages and disadvantages. I just felt special to finally get a chance to peek at the secret quarters. During these house meetings you saw how the sisters interacted with each other, what service projects they performed and what social functions they participated in on campus.
If a sorority “clicked” with you, you then submit a bid to join. Then the endless waiting begins. While frequently checking your cell phone you can’t help but ask: What if the sorority I liked didn’t like me? What if I don’t receive any bids? How am I going to endure this day-long wait?
While the potential member waits in agony for a reply, the current sisterhood looks at those people that want to join their group. Because I had never gone through formal recruitment, being initiated in my sorority only a year ago, this aspect was new to me. Each potential recruit is discussed according to how well they interacted with current members, their leadership potential, and if they would be a good “fit.” A secret vote is then taken, and the potential members are offered bids.
On the third day the reveal takes place. Current members do not know which potential member has accepted the bid, or even if a certain potential member got offered a bid; a curtain hides potential members from current members.
Waiting behind that curtain as a new member, I was excited about joining a group that would guide my activities and introduce me to lifelong friends. At the same time I was nervous thinking about if I chose wisely. Similarly, current members feel this same apprehension. They do not know if the pledge they really clicked with was offered a bid or even if they accepted the bid.
When the curtain is opened there is a collective sigh from old members and new pledges. Amidst laughter and tears, new pledges are embraced into the fold by current members ensuring the legacy and tradition of Greek Life and of their own particular chapter on campus.
Having been on both sides of spring recruitment, I now realize that they are both equally stressful. The current sisters are preoccupied with putting together an event and maintaining conversations among potential members. On the other hand, the potential members are worried about making a lasting impression on the sorority and advancing through recruitment weekend. Being on both sides of the recruitment process taught me the importance of being myself.
As a potential new member, it’s important to act like yourself during recruitment so you are showing your sincerity. As a current sister, it’s important that your chapter shows its true colors so you attract the right girls. After all, according to Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar, “It’s all Greek to me.” Best of luck to all the new members of Greek life!