The "Other Side" of Recruitment
When I ask about which greek life posts you want to read, I always get a really high response rate. I big chunk of those responses are asking about the "other side" of recruitment. For those unfamiliar, the "other side" is going through recruitment as a sister, where you now are recruiting girls to join your sorority. In truth, this part of recruitment is long and sometimes irritating, but overall a great experience. The week lends itself greatly to making new memories and meeting new people. It brings you closer together with your sisters most of all, which makes the entire experience worth it.
To start, the mornings, at least for JMU, are super early and the days are long. I was up most days at 5 a.m. getting dressed, doing my hair and makeup and getting out the door. Each day of recruitment we all have a new outfit that we have to wear so there's a bit of a dress code, but that's delegated you us months in advance so we have plenty of time to prepare.
The mornings usually start with a chapter meeting where we talk about the day and the different conversations we want to have. It's just a good morning meeting that get's the chapter on the same page before we chat with potential new members (PNM's). During this time, girls are chugging their Starbucks, finishing off the last curls in their hair, and franticly hunting for their name tag -- all three were typically me.
I'm going to explain how JMU does things, but I don't think I can totally prepare you for each round because every school does things a little differently. Just keep that in mind!
The first days are what we call "open house" rounds. It's where every PNM visits every sorority at JMU. We chant in the hallway/doorway of the house at all the PNM's for a few minutes. Honestly, chanting is tougher than I thought it was. After 3 minutes screaming at the top of my lungs, jumping up and down, and banging on windows I'm press exhausted -- it takes a lot out of you. I swear for a week, I had bruises on the palms of my hands and on my knees from kneeling in the foyer stacking with girls to bang on the front windows. We had to be careful not to shatter the glass! I love chanting though. It really gets everyone in the spirit of recruitment and it gets everyone excited!
Our open house rounds are just basic conversation. The entire point of recruitment is to get to know someone to see if they fit your chapter well and the open house round is the first time we meet someone. It's just to get to know them! Remember, the PNM's are so nervous on these first days! Be sure to calm them down, ask them how they're feeling because this whole week is about them. For the sisters going through recruitment ,it's a little more taxing because we talk to 2-3 girls a round, moving around, finding certain people, and then we do it for 12 rounds straight.
Once open house rounds are all over, each sorority goes through a round of voting. Every chapter does things a little differently, but nevertheless it takes hours to go through this process. The chapter spends a lot of time waiting for voting, so naturally we jumped into a two hour round of karaoke last fall. At about 1 a.m. we began voting which, for obvious reasons, I won't disclose to you. All you need to know is your chapter will go through some type of voting process. After voting we left the house around 2:15 a.m. Most chapters, at least from what I saw, left earlier than we did but like I said, each voting process of different from chapter to chapter.
The next rounds are philanthropy and sisterhood rounds where each sorority at JMU discusses their philanthropy that they support one day and their bonds of sisterhood on another. It's pretty much the same routine of early mornings, morning meetings, photos behind the house, and then chanting in the hallway before welcoming in PNM's. We dig a little deeper into conversations during these rounds than we did during open house rounds. But like open house, each chapter still sits down and votes. Keep in mind that each day less and less PNM's return to the house as both the chapters and the girls seeking a sorority get closer to making their final decisions.
Preference night is an extremely serious round because it's the night that PNM's make their final decisions on which chapter they want to join. This is the night to really take into account how PNM's are feeling. They just spent a week being chanted at, guided around the houses and the row, and now they're coming close to making a very important decision. I remember how conflicted I was and how stressful the entire night can be. Also remember that they are making their last good impression on that chapter and we are trying to make our final best impression on the PNM's. Similarly, it's the night that chapters decide which PNM's they want to extend an invitation to. You will vote one more time and then it's all up to the PNM's.
This entire process is mutual. If you want to drop a house, you can rank them lower. But, if they want to see you again, you have to go back to them as a courtesy. However, that doesn't mean you have to love them. You can happily rank them low again if you really don't see them as a good fit. If you're going to go through the process of recruitment this year, know that it is NOT okay to be rude to a house. You can be kicked out of the entire recruitment process of word gets back that you were outwardly rude to sisters. Always be nice, never burn bridges!
My Best Advice to Sisters Recruiting:
- Know that you're probably going to get sick. Almost every girl at JMU got sick. Let's face it: you're exhausted from getting up at crazy hours, you spend the week in a cramped house, and you're practically screaming in dozens of girl's faces just so she can hear you. The combination of the germs, exhaustion, and close quarters is the ultimate recipe for illness. To combat this, a week before recruitment drink Vitamin C. It'll help build up you're immune system. EmergenC packs are your best friend. Also drink plenty of water!
- Come with a fully charged phone and invest in a portable charger. 200 girls all vying for the 12 outlets in the basement just doesn't work out. Bring a portable charger so you can post on Instagram, check your grades, or text your mom to let her know you're alive and thriving!
- If your recruitment is during the school year, odds are you'll skip studying for a test to recruit. We've all been there, so complaining about it won't change anything. The good thing though, is that while you're waiting for voting to begin you might have some down time. Obviously, 200+ backpacks won't fit in the house very well so try to email yourself your study guides or keep your notes on Google Drive and download the app to study. You can keep all of your study tools on your phone to cut down on packing for recruitment. Make Quizlets to study and use the app to access your flashcards.
- Pack a lunch or order it ahead of time to be delivered on your break. JMU doesn't have a kitchen for the sorority like larger houses do. We get about an hour break to eat and that's it. Most people walk off campus to get food from the nearby Starbucks or Jimmy Johns. The best thing to do is pack a lunch. If you don't have a lot of space to put a lunchbox, which some houses might not, place your order ahead of time and schedule it to be delivered so you know it will get to you on time. If you order food once your break starts, everyone else is doing the same thing and your food will be late. Maybe split an UBEREats order with friends or split the cost of a pizza. If that doesn't work, ask a non-greek life friend to drop off lunch at a nearby location on campus right at the beginning of your break. I still praise my sister, Lisa, for dropping off Chipotle for my friends and I last year!
- Bring a nice camera if you have one. One of the exciting things about recruitment is that you and all your friends are conveniently dressed in coordinating outfits🙌🏻. It's the perfect time for a photo-op! I brought my professional camera to recruitment with me and got some of the best photos!
Essentially, recruitment week is a huge week full of really in depth conversations. The things that makes the sister side of it so strenuous is all of the behind the scenes work. Most chapters begin recruitment workshops the semester before formal recruitment even begins. And the weekends leading up to formal recruitment are full of workshops in preparation for the big week! The thing that most PNM's don't know about recruitment is there are so many different rules that the chapters must follow when it comes to bid promising, things we can't and can say, decoration restrictions and different dress codes and guidelines. That's truly what makes the sister side a little more taxing. As far as details on those rules go, you'll learn more down the road once you join a chapter.
The biggest thing that makes the sister side of recruitment a little more taxing physically is the time. Most chapters are up at the crack of dawn and most don't leave the house past midnight. I think I got on average, 4 hours of sleep each night of recruitment. The thing that we love though is meeting everyone. I talked to absolutely incredible people last year, and even if they didn't end up in ADPi, they make a fabulous addition to the Panhellenic community. There are girls that I spoke to last year that ended up in other chapters, that I still say hello to and keep in touch with because they were so sweet! Truly, that's what makes the week so fun. Still have questions? Want to talk about this more? Email me here and I'll get back to you!
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