Happy Fun Laughing Girls

The Dark Reality of Virtual Sorority Recruitment

Some could argue that the whole world has changed during these last ten months. On a college campus, this feels especially true. One of college’s most exciting aspects, Greek life, has changed for the worst during this difficult time. I love my sisters and the community this organization has brought me, but COVID-19 has reminded me of Greek life’s darkest realities. 

Sororities are often seen as shallow and superficial. I could never describe my closest sorority sisters as such, but I see the Panhellenic community succumbing to this stereotype. This has become especially clear through the new structure of sorority recruitment. We all knew that sorority recruitment in pre-COVID-19 times was not entirely genuine, but virtual recruitment has made this especially obvious. 

I should preface my thoughts with: none of this is the potential new members’ fault. The issues that arose from sorority recruitment are consequences of the Panhellenic community. It is our job to find a way for these young women to show us their true selves. 

For obvious reasons, the entire recruitment experience was made virtual this year. Girls seeking a sorority were given the task of making an introduction video. They were given a list of questions that they needed to address in their video. Therefore, the videos ended up being entirely scripted. The young women appeared rehearsed, nervous, and two dimensional (literally). After watching countless videos, I honestly cannot tell you anything about these young women’s personalities. Because of the short question list, the content of all the videos lacked uniqueness and creativity. Again, this is not their fault whatsoever. The video requirements did not give the young women an opportunity to be themselves or show their passions authentically. 

Because these women were so rehearsed, it felt as though we had to judge them on their comfort in front of a camera. Think of every time you had to record a video or audio file for a class. Do you think that exercise showed the real you? Did you feel confident? I would guess not. Thus, it hurts me to judge a young woman’s video based on how comfortable and approachable she appears to a camera. This does not resemble normal human interactions whatsoever. 

From a potential new member’s perspective, they were tasked with watching a video about each sorority. They based their first day votes on those videos alone. Let me remind you that these sorority recruitment videos are highly planned. The person behind the camera tells us to laugh. They tell us to skip and run together. In these videos, we’re often running and hugging a girl we’ve never talked to. We just signed up for the same video recording time. Therefore, we aren’t being genuine either. We are showing potential new members a fake highlight reel. 

We don’t video or talk about the hard times. They don’t video us when we’re struggling to pass classes together. We don’t show you the dinners we eat in silence because we are so burnt out. We don’t show you the collective loneliness that COVID-19 has caused. We don’t show the tears when a sister’s family member or friend passes away. These are the real moments. We may laugh and dance sometimes, but that’s not what it really is about. 

The sororities and potential new members put on masks. We judge each other on appearance, confidence, and highlight reels. Sororities are not an entirely flawed system. There is so much that I love about my sorority sisters. I just wish everyone knew who we really are.