What NOT to say as an active chapter member
11. The golden rule
Treat others the way you want to be treated. It is the most basic rule to follow and one you should keep in mind while talking to PNMs during recruitment. Do not talk trash about other chapters in your Greek Life community. You may not be the biggest fan of Alpha Alpha Alpha chapter, but those are thoughts you should keep to yourself. When you talk trash about other sororities, you just look trashy yourself.
“Recruitment is an important time for the entire Greek community as a whole. Talking trash on the other chapters does not promote the Greek Life system or, for that matter, make your chapter look good if you have to resort to talking about other chapters when the PNMs are trying to learn about yours,” Elise, a recruitment leader for her chapter, said.
12. My boyfriend is perfect
If you have found your dream man, congratulations, but it may be a good idea to leave him out of your conversations with PNMs. Girls go through recruitment in order to find a sisterhood to join. If you have a thirty-minute conversation with one of those PNMs all about the ski trip you just took with your boyfriend, then she isn’t learning anything about your chapter’s sisterhood. Talk about how you met your boyfriend participating in Homecoming with your chapter or how he loves your date party at the bowling alley each spring, but leave it at that. Chicks before dicks, remember?
13. One nation under God
Although most sororities have a cross-section of members both politically and religiously, it is difficult to have a positive and meaningful discussion about these subjects during recruitment. You are too short on time, and these issues are too touchy. Getting beyond surface conversations is important, but make sure to stay on fairly neutral topics of interest. Talking about your volunteer work for Obama’s campaign is one thing, but arguing about the nitty-gritty details of the healthcare bill is another.
14. Sorry for partying
Just like PNMs shouldn’t talk about partying, active members shouldn’t either. You never know what type of PNM you may be talking to. One girl could have been voted “Most Likely to Host a Killer Party” in high school, while the next was Miss. Square. There is so much more to your chapter than your social aspects, so make sure every PNM coming through recruitment knows that.
15. I’ve stalked you on Facebook
As an active chapter member you have spent weeks, if not months, preparing for recruitment. This means you probably already know some details about certain PNMs going through the process (maybe girls from your high school or certain chapter legacies). The PNMs should expect this, but that does not mean you should pull back the curtain like Todo in The Wizard of Oz and show them the inside process. First off, it is kind of freaky to do this. Hearing their list of high school activities and senior awards will out you as a true Facebook creeper. Second, letting them tell you about themselves will show you what is most important to them. Maybe a PNM’s involvement with the American Cancer Society is listed last on her recruitment resume, but it is actually the most important activity she thinks she does.
“I still see certain girls even after recruitment is over, and I remember where they are from or what their hobbies are, but I never let them know because it would just be too weird for me and them. My mom was in a sorority in college, and she says she can do the same thing for random people she runs into even though she did rush over 25 years ago,” Katie said.
16. Drama, drama, drama
“It’s awkward when someone brings up girl drama. Everyone has at least a little bit of it in her life, but I think most girls want to join a sorority that is pretty drama-free. You want to join a sorority where girls get along and work through disagreements,” Ellie, a junior who has been through recruitment three times, said.
If you and your sister are in the middle of an unresolved disagreement, it is not the best idea to bring it up with a PNM. A lot of girls go through recruitment nervous about what joining a sorority entails. A lot believe it will involve a lot of girl freak-outs. As an active member you know this isn’t the case, but make sure to prove it by leaving the drama out of it.
17. Money, money, money
As an active member you know picking sorority sisters is not about finding the ones who have private jets and vacation houses in Cabo. But, a lot of girls going through recruitment still think it is. Do whatever you can to avoid making them think money matters in the impression you are making about them. Don’t ask what a PNM’s father does for a living or where they “summer.” The questions may, at times, be situationally appropriate, but can also be interpreted wrong.
“I had a friend who would always somehow talk about her designer sunglasses or fancy clothes in conversations. It was annoying and made you think she felt she was better than you because she had those brands. I did, too, I just didn’t feel the need to obnoxiously show them off,” Jen said.
18. My chapter is the best at everything
You may really believe this, after all isn’t that why you joined it to begin with? You have the best sisterhood, the best intramural teams, you win every Greek competition and obviously host the greatest date parties, but if you aren’t careful you won’t sound like the best chapter to PNMs, you will just sound like the biggest braggers. Make sure to tread the line carefully between talking your chapter up and bragging. Hit the key pride points of your chapter but don’t sit with a PNM and list your chapter’s resume.
Sometimes it is not always about what you say, but how you say it:
“When I visited a chapter the active member wasn’t looking me in the eyes, and it made me feel like she was looking at me for flaws and not actually giving me her full attention. I swear she was staring at my legs the whole time, and I just wanted to tell her I had big muscular legs because I play soccer, and I wanted to tell her to stop judging me,” Jen said.
Simple things like eye contact and body language are important. Make sure to be professional. Make eye and hold eye contact. Sit up straight. Actively listen. When a PNM comes through your chapter that may be her one-and-only experience with your sorority. You want to make sure every girl leaves loving your chapter and feeling like she had your full attention.
Michelle Parsons, former University of Missouri PHA President
Sorority sisters from colleges across the country