Mason Formal Recruitment: Home Is Where Your Sisters Are

Greek life is probably one of the most common ways to get involved at Mason. Recruitment can be a frustrating time for many of the young women going through it. Tensions and insecurities can become high when no one knows what to expect from recruitment or Greek life itself. We encourage you to breathe and not to worry. Trust the recruitment system and you'll find your new home! 

Here are some words of wisdom from the Panhellenic Executive board and testimonials from members of each chapter on campus to ease your mind and get you excited for your first steps into Greek life! 

Ciara Havener: George Mason University Panhellenic Council President

Courtesy of Ciara Havener

Why she loves the Panhellenic community

CH: I love the Panhellenic community because I have found support and friendship through such a strong group of inspiring women. My chapter and so many women in other chapters inspire me and push me every day to be a better version of myself. Through the Panhellenic community, I have found women who share the same values and hold the same ideals as me but also women who challenge my perspective and help me to think outside the box.

Her advice for women going through recruitment

CH: Remember to always stay true to yourself and put yourself out there! This process is such a unique experience and these chapters are so excited to get to learn more about who you really are.

Bekah Pettine: George Mason University Panhellenic Council Vice President

Courtesy of Bekah Pettine

Why she loves the Panhellenic community

BP: I love my community because we are a true support system of diverse and vibrant women, all coming together for the greater good. Although each of us is different, we all hold the same values, and strive to be the absolute best we can be. I owe so much of my development as an individual to this organization, and have had so many meaningful opportunities presented to me solely because of this position.

Her advice for women going through recruitment

BP: Be yourself and have fun! Recruitment is all about getting to know new people and forging friendships that will last your for the reminder of your collegiate experience and beyond! Enjoy the process!

Leigh Burte: George Mason University Panhellenic Council Vice President of Programming

Courtesy of Leigh Burte

Why she loves the Panhellenic community

LB: I love the Panhellenic community because of the wide variety of women. Not only are we diverse and come from all different backgrounds, but we also have so many different personalities. Being able to meet someone new every day is such a treat. I love being able to support everyone no matter their affiliation and I see women supporting women everywhere I look. I am so lucky to be a part of a community that makes me so proud to be a student, a women and a sorority sister.

Her advice for women going through recruitment

LB: My advice for women going through recruitment is to be in the moment. There are times that will make you so tired that you curse your favorite wedges or even want to tear off all the jewelry. There are also times that will make you so in your head all you can do is overthink. The best thing to do is to take a deep breath and be in the moment one minute at a time. Don't think about anything else besides the conversation or the women in front of you. The more you live in the moment the more you have more natural conversations and enjoy yourself. By being authentic, you can find your true home based off wonderful conversations. So don't forget to breathe, stay focused and have fun!

Lauren Lapid: Panhellenic Vice President of Public Relations

Courtesy Of Lauren Lapid

Why she loves the Panhellenic community

LL: I love the Panhellenic community at Mason for multiple reasons. First, Mason's Greek community helps create a small school feeling—after joining Greek life, you start to recognize more people around campus, are instantly involved in events year round, and you are encouraged to make friends with people beyond your individual chapter. At other schools, Greek communities can tend to be clique-y or exclusive, but Mason's community truly is Panhellenic in that it's highly encouraged to be involved beyond your chapter. Some of my best friends aren't in my chapter, and that's never been an issue. It's really awesome to be a part of such a supportive, inclusive, and genuine community. As an out-of-state student who knew no one before coming to Mason, joining the Panhellenic community was exactly what I needed to come out of my shell, make new friends, and be a part of something bigger than myself.

Her advice for women going through recruitment

LL: Go in with an open mind! Don't let others tell you how to feel or "what chapter is best." This is your experience, and the chapter that is "best" for you is the chapter that you feel most at home and comfortable in. Remember that these are the women you will be spending the rest of your college experience with, so think of the kind of woman you want to be and look up to. When you go through recruitment, just stay true to what you want out of your Panhellenic experience, and stay confident in yourself. You got this!

~Chapter Testimonials~

Emma Tinney: Zeta Tau Alpha’s Academics Chair

Courtesy Of Emma Tinney (Right)

ET: I went through formal recruitment at George Mason in the fall of 2016, at the beginning of my Sophomore year. I had spent my first year at Mason scared, lonely, and isolated. I grew so desperate for human connection and a sense of belonging that I signed up for formal recruitment as soon as the application opened in April. I was the seventh person to apply. ​  

On Day 1 of recruitment, I stood outside my first room, lined up with a number of other girls that I already knew in my heart were better, smarter, funnier than I was. The formal recruitment process had not even started yet, and I knew I had already failed. A newsreel of negative thoughts rolled their way through my brain—you aren’t cut out to be in a sorority, nobody will like you, you’ve never put yourself out there like this, you won’t get a bid from anyone—and then the doors opened, and I was whisked into Zeta Tau Alpha’s room. For the first time in weeks, my thoughts were silent, and I was just myself, surrounded by people who immediately and unquestionably accepted that. The rest is history.   

Two years later, I am a senior sister, with a position on our Executive Council, countless friends, and a little sister I love fiercely. To put it as simply as possible—sorority recruitment changed my life, and was the best thing I could have done for myself at the time. It transformed my college experience into something that I will never be able to put into words. It has made me feel loved, appreciated, admired, wanted, and deserving. Walking into Zeta Tau Alpha’s room in 2016 felt like coming home. I have never been as confident or as sure of myself in my life, and I owe it largely to sorority recruitment.

Payton Fackler: Alpha Phi

Courtesy Of Payton Fackler (in Teal)

PF: Alpha Phi has provided me many opportunities to grow as an individual, and I have never met so many girls all equally determined to work to be their best selves, together. This chapter houses a sisterhood stronger than anything I’ve ever encountered, and a support system like no other. I went through recruitment as a freshman in 2015, then certain factors in my life pushed me to transfer to VCU as a sophomore. After a year, I returned to Mason as a junior. I didn’t have anywhere to live at the time, until one of my sisters heard about my situations and reached out to me with the sweetest message. They offered me a spot in their house, and encouraged me to come live with them. They welcomed me with open arms, and made my return to Mason easier, and fun. This showed me that even though I was MIA for a year, and no matter what I’m going through, the sisterhood and bond I have with Alpha Phi will never fade. Over the years, Alpha Phi has given me a home away from home. I know that these sisters of mine will not just be my sisters for 4 years, but my bridesmaids and sisters for life.

Sophia Diana: Alpha Omicron Pi’s Fundraising Chair

Courtesy Of Sophia Diana

SD: I walked into the recruitment room not knowing anyone and left it knowing I had found my family. Since then I've gained an amazing support system and have met so many women that inspire me to do better and work harder everyday. My first semester was rough. My friends that hadn't gone through recruitment didn't support me going through the new member process, there were a lot of nights that became emotionally draining. Once when I voiced this to my big and sisters they were so understanding and helped me through it. It's not uncommon for people to not support Greek life but they just don't understand what we do. I rushed so I could be part of an organization that gives back to the community. The whole point of Greek life is to do just that! Since becoming part of AOII I have not only contributed to our own events but others as well. AOII gives me the opportunity to give back to any organization. In early August I went to a Juvenile Arthritis convention where a few sisters and I gave panda bears to the kids there that had been affected by the disease. That experience is why I am an AOII. I will never be able to put into words what it was like being there and seeing the impact of what my sisters and I do everyday. I am part of a group of intelligent, genuine, ambitious, and inspiring women that work hard for everything they do. That is why I am an AOII and I will always be an AOII.

Sojla Tiwana: Gamma Phi Beta

Courtesy of Sojla Tiwana

ST: The social aspects of Gamma Phi Beta allowed me to meet my best friends. I know this sounds very cliché, but it’s true. When you are constantly participating in activities and hanging out in the same rooms, the people around you become more like family. Some of my best friends have graduated from the chapter, but they still remain my best friends. This bond and connection was created because we both joined Gamma Phi, but it lasts throughout time. Another huge social advantage you gain by being in a sorority is knowing where EVERY event is. I was able to meet so many people from different organizations and clubs. It allowed me to see the inner network that Mason has. To anyone who feels lonely or disconnected, I truly believe that joining a sorority can broaden your social horizons. One of the main concerns many people have before going through recruitment is whether or not their education will be affected. We as students are here to learn first, and I am so proud to be part of an organization that holds the second highest GPA in the Panhellenic community. Moreover, I was able to hold 3 internships during my 3 years here at Mason, because my sisters knew the right connections and were able to get me interviews.

I know putting yourself out there is scary, but the girls in the Panhellenic community want to welcome you because we have all been in your shoes before. We understand the motivation to be a part of something bigger, and we want to help find the best fit for you whether that’s GPHI or any of the other amazing sororities on campus. I know during recruitment season you will hear this a million times, but please be yourself. We want to be able to see the uniqueness that every girl holds. No one is quite like you so you should embrace those qualities. Good luck in recruitment! I hope everyone going through recruitment finds their home away from home just like I did. It is a going to be a long weekend, but the rewards of being part of an organization are too great to miss out on.

Adanna Newby: Kappa Delta’s Vice President of Membership Education

 Courtesy of Adanna Newby

AD: I love Kappa Delta because I truly believe in our platform of building confidence and inspiring action in women and building confidence in young girls. I would love for every young girl and woman to feel 100% confident and comfortable with themselves and I love that through the work we do with the Girl Scouts and Prevent Child Abuse America, we get to do that, even if it seems minuscule.

I also love that since we’re newest chapter on campus we get the chance to really shape what our reputation and legacy will look like on this campus. We’re all apart of this really special opportunity to make a lasting impact that bonds us in a special way. My sisters are beautiful, compassionate and ambitious, and it’s inspiring to be around a group of women with those qualities.

Do not go into recruitment with your mind on one specific sorority. There’s always a chance that you may not get the one you want, so it’s important to keep an open mind. Every sorority on our campus is full of amazing women that give back to their communities and are leaders in every sense of the word. You’ll be a welcome addition in any of them.

Jordan Latham: Pi Beta Phi

Courtesy of Jordan Latham

JL: The thing I love the best about my chapter is that I don’t have to be any one thing in order to be a Pi Phi. I don’t have to be Jordan-The-Athlete or Jordan-The-Brainiac. I get to be just Jordan, whatever that means to me. Then, if I ever want to try something new, I have every sister’s support. We always do everything we can to help each other reach whatever goal we set, from getting better grades to learning a new skill, and no goal is less important than another.Another thing I like about my chapter is how different we all are. I was so concerned about entering the room and finding the stereotypical sorority that you see in the movies and that was something that I really wasn’t interested in. To enter a room and have everyone look different is one thing, but then it goes deeper to major, hobbies, religious beliefs; I love that I will always have a sister with different opinions than me but we’ll still be friends.

I’m one of those people that always takes the group photo - the Designated Photo Taking Friend. That didn’t change when I joined a sorority, especially since I joined while dealing with a return of my extreme acne. So, I wasn’t all that confident in myself. Fast forward to my first formal and I’m taking everyone’s photos with their dates. I didn’t have one, so there I was taking the photos. After everyone was done, one of my close sisters took my phone out of my hand without asking.

I figure she just wants to see the photos in case she wanted to retake them before we left the photo op area. Then, she tells me, “Go stand over there. It’s your turn.”

I was so taken aback that someone was considerate enough to take my photo, that I didn’t have to ask, and that this person was thinking that I would want a photo too.

That story is just an example of all the little times that my sisters have just seemed to sense that I need a little reminder that There are things about me that are worthy of confidence. People might think it’s easier to compare yourself and feel less than when you hang out with a large group of women, but it’s really been so much easier to find a community that lifts you up when you most need it (even if you’re afraid to admit you need it, like me).

My top pieces of advice for girls going through recruitment are: take care of yourself, keep an open mind, and know that you are adored. It’s easy to get swept up in the excitement and forget basic things like eating lunch or drinking water. It’s super important to keep in good health when doing something stressful like going through recruitment.You’ll also hear people tell you to keep and open mind. It’s true that if you give each chapter the same respect and chance to show themselves off, you’ll have a better time. You also have your entire new member process to decide if you /really/ want to join, and there’s no shame in saying that you don’t want to.And you always have to remember that the sisters your talking to want you to like them as much as you want them to like you. We truly think you’re as awesome as we tell you, and we want you to feel welcomed.

Sarah Alashoush: Chi Omega

Courtesy of Sarah Alashoush

SA: Going into recruitment, I had no idea what to expect, how I would feel, or what the impact of deciding to go through recruitment would have on me. I expected to be very nervous throughout recruitment, but found myself feeling at peace the entire weekend, knowing Chi O is exactly where I belonged. It’s a sisterhood filled with women who bring so many beautiful, unique backgrounds and qualities, from cultures, to areas of study, to personalities. We are all different in our own ways, yet the most perfect mesh of women with the same values and love for one another. When tragedy struck my hometown in Syria, so many sisters reached out just to ask how my family back home was doing. I felt an overwhelming amount of love from women who remind sisters why their place matters. My big, Giulia is the truest representation of that. She has taught me what it means to be happy each day, to work hard, to get out there and make changes for yourself and others. She is my inspiration, my role model, and my confidant. I know I can always turn to her for utmost support and love when I need it the most. I am so incredibly grateful to Chi Omega for bringing me the most special people who I get to call my best friends and sisters.

Molly Feser: Alpha Xi Delta

Courtesy of Molly Feser

MF: When I was going out for recruitment, I just wanted a home away from home where I could be myself and have a good support system. Having transferred to Mason as a junior, I was a little apprehensive to go out for recruitment because I wasn't sure if I was "too old." It turns out that it didn't matter. I found my home in Alpha Xi Delta and it has been one of the best decisions of my college years.

One of the biggest blessings AXiD has brought me is my big and my little. My big was one of my Rho Gammas during recruitment and when it was revealed that she was in AXiD I was so happy. I was even happier when she became my big. She has taught me so much and inspires me every day still. Even though she's graduated, she will always be a part of my life. When I took my little I strived to be that same big and she has inspired me so much. My little has been such a bright spot in my college experience. From our DC trips, to Broadway shows in NYC, our adventures will continue long after I graduate. My little and I came from very different backgrounds and I teach her as much as she teaches me.

My sisters are such intelligent, strong, beautiful women who embody all of our values. They will drop everything to help you, whether you need a laugh, a study buddy, a shoulder to cry on, or someone who's just down to just get food together. Alpha Xi Delta has also given me skills in leadership. I am currently the Panhellenic Delegate for my sorority, which has given me the opportunity to meet so many other amazing women in the panhellenic community. I couldn't imagine my life without my sisters and this amazing community we are part of.

~Author’s Testimonials~

Jackie Lorincz: Gamma Phi Beta

Courtesy of Jackie Lorincz (Left)

JL: Before transferring to Mason, I would’ve never thought I would go through sorority rush and actually become a member of such an amazing organization. But after signing up and attending the orientation, I became more excited to meet all the chapters and find my home. It was on day 2 that I fell in love with Gamma Phi and their philanthropy and knew that this was where I belonged. My first semester at Mason was rough, I was working 40 hours a week and going to school full time but my sisters were there for me every step of the way. Spring semester came along and I became more involved which helped me come out of my shell and become more comfortable around my sisters. We stayed up late working on props for Greek week, I hung out with sisters a lot more outside of our usual Sunday chapter meeting. I met some of my best friends and made life long bonds and connections that I don’t think I would’ve made if I never went greek. I know how intimidating going through recruitment can be, and if you’re thinking of rushing the best advice I can give, and you’ll hear MANY times is to be yourself. All of the organizations at Mason are amazing and provide girls with different opportunities. Don’t let your friends influence where you go. Many girls in my Rho group all went to different chapters and we’re all still great friends. It’s a long weekend so stay hydrated, but most importantly have fun! Going Greek was the best decision I made for myself, I found my best friends, volunteer and career opportunities but most importantly.. I found a home where I receive unconditional love and support.

Salma Hamze: Alpha Xi Delta

Photo courtesy of Salma Hamze

SH: I didn’t know anything about sorority life, much less did I think it would be for me. Fall of my sophomore year I decided to give this whole Greek Life thing a try. After walking into room after room after room, Alpha Xi Delta was the last room I walked into. You know in a book and you read the words “he/she breathed a sigh of relief”? That’s what it felt like walking into that room full of those girls who little did I know at the time would become not only my sisters, but my confidants, my study buddies, my go-to girls for advice, my road trip partners, my support system, my hype women, the girls that I come to for my celebrations, and the girls that I come to when I cry and need a hug, and the people that push me to be the best version of myself.

Running “home” felt like running home. These girls embraced me with open arms (and lots of glitter) into this sisterhood that is bigger than all of us. We’re apart of something that is meant to ensure that women become leaders after they graduate and that they have amazing memories to look back at later in life. I learned more and more and grew more and more each day learning about this sisterhood that will always be apart of my life. The colors we have and the letters we wear aren’t just colors and letters. They are symbols with a much deeper meaning and we hold ourselves to that standard.

Through Alpha Xi Delta, I was able to gain multiple positions within my sorority and outside of it as well. I’ve gained experience within my field and my resume is now about two and half pages long. These girls have been there for me whether it be 2am in Starbucks trying to get through finals week or 2pm in the JC grabbing food and catching up. There’s always at least 15 of us around campus somewhere, finding a friend has never been hard.   

Alpha Xi Delta has given me the chance the give back to the community through service and through our philanthropy where I was able to connect with families and their children at the Autism Speaks Walk. I may or may not have cried knowing that even though, at the time, I had only been a new member for about 2 weeks, I still felt that I made a difference. And now after a year I still am.  

And I didn’t just join an AMAZING chapter of 100+ women, I joined a Panhellenic Community, where women from eight SPECTACULAR chapters are also apart of. I’ve made friends with these girls even though we don’t wear the same letters. We’re all here for support and to push each other to succeed and thrive while we’re here at Mason. The Panhellenic Community is full of strong headed leaders that will make amazing differences in the world one day.

Whatever preconceived notions you have about Greek life, drop them, throw them away and never look at them again. We’re not what you think we are. We’re beautiful, strong and smart, girl bosses from different parts of the world, different cultures, backgrounds and walks of life.

As “basic” and cheesy it may be, going greek was the best decision I made my college career. And I hope it is for everyone who goes through recruitment.

Jenny Muchnikoff: Zeta Tau Alpha  

Courtesy Of Jenny Muchnikoff (Right)

JM: As cheesy as it sounds I went ZTA because when I walked in the room it felt like home. Every sister I talked to was unique & vibrant in their own way. Everyone was so diverse whether it be personalities, ethnicities, or personal beliefs everyone had some new perspective to add to the conversation. I fell in love with the atmosphere of feeling like I belonged and that these were the type of people that would genuinely have my back. My sisters have been there for me every day since I ran home. Through ZTA I’ve found my best friends, the people I talk to everyday, study with, eat with, cry with and laugh with. Their successes are y successes and their losses are my losses. It doesn’t end there though. What I love about my sisterhood is even if someone isn’t your best friend they’re still your sister. There isn’t anyone I wouldn’t feel comfortable going to with a problem or asking if they wanted to grab a bite to eat or study. Sisterhood means somebody always had your back and fills you with a feeling of security and love as you know that your sisters are your family now and forever.

Wherever you run home too, collegiettes, you'll be surrounded by a new family of empowering and inspiring women. Good luck with recruitment!