The Ins and Outs of Sorority Recruitment

When I first came to American University, greek life was not on my radar whatsoever. I knew I was signing up for a smaller city school, that traded in football game tickets for museum passes, and I didn’t mind one bit. I didn’t believe greek life was for me, as the majority of us girls think, “we’re not like the typical sorority girl.” 

However, as the school year ended and sophomore year crept up on me, I started to notice more and more greek lettered tote bags and t-shirts roaming around campus. I talked to a few friends about their experiences in panhellenic life, and began to see that this community wasn’t just made up of rumours and gossip. I heard stories of unconditional support from within these organizations. What surprised me was that these girls all had different personalities, passions, and looks. My cookie cutter mold of a sorority girl was beginning to change shape. With these thoughts in mind, I filled out the spring recruitment application. 

It all started with orientation. Walking into a large lecture hall, I immediately felt a pang of imposter syndrome. Looking around, I saw hundreds of beautiful, confident women. Everything was a blur of painted nails, straightened hair, and perfectly set makeup. That night, I frantically began pre-planning my outfits. Thinking back to the recruitment leaders’ recommendation of themes like, “think brunch!” and “meet the parents”, part of me wanted to cringe, but the other part still wanted to make a good impression. Spoiler alert, I am sure that none of the members remembered the outfits I had carefully picked out, because I know I don't remember theirs. This stuck with me, as I realized that my reasoning for gravitating to the organizations that I did, was solely based on the conversations I had, and not the clothes or the appearances of any of the girls.

The first full day was brutal. Everyone warns you that recruitment is a long process, but you don’t truly realize the draining effect of small talk, until it’s done for 13 hours straight. Each day consisted of visiting organizations on campus, and at the end, voting for which ones you pictured yourself in the most. The mornings were tinted with anxiety, as you received the list of organizations that invited you back for another round. These daily unveils were often met with mixed emotions, as some girls found that they did not click with the organizations that invited them back. This caused many people to withdraw from the process, which is completely okay to do. Trust me, it’s way more common than you think. 

After the three rounds, you rank your final vote of the top two sororities that you’d like to be a part of, and head down to Bender Arena for the long awaited "Bid Night". Essentially, the whole thing reminded me of the opening scene of the Hunger Games, except, instead of competing for survival, the sororities competed to see who could scream their catchy cheers the loudest. This resulted in headaches from the recruitment class, and lots of sore throats from the current members. 

On the count of three, everyone opens their manilla envelope and sees which organization they now belong to. The slogan, “run home”, is actually quite an accurate description of what happens next, as dozens of eager girls simultaneously forget the rules of common courtesy and trample anyone stopping them from running into the arms of their new sisters. 

But, if you’re not one to squeal and cry tears of joy, don’t feel like you need to do that either. Even though you’ve made connections with girls who may become your future besties, the whole recruitment process lasts for only 72 hours. All of a sudden you’re part of this life long community of women whose names you’ve probably already forgotten. There is a culture among the recruitment process to possess instant feelings of belonging and friendship, which get amplified even further by the subsequent stream of Instagram posts showing off the new recruits. Just remember, it takes time to build true bonds with people, even if you’re suddenly calling them “sis”. So, take your time in getting to know your new sorority, and the obligatory hand sign that goes along with it, as you’ve got however many years to leave your mark on your new home. Image Credits: (1,2,3,4)