Recruitment is a fun, exciting, and nerve-wracking time for many people looking to enter the Greek community. As Panhellenic recruitment approaches at TCU, many female-identifying students begin to make plans to give themselves the best experience possible. With this in mind, here are five vocabulary terms and five pieces of advice essential to having a successful recruitment at Texas Christian University.
When coming into recruitment, new terms are being used that may overwhelm participants. It is important to begin to have a grasp on these topics so that you can focus on your conversations rather than your recruitment knowledge.
1. Potential New Member (PNM)
A Potential New Member, or PNM for short, is any person participating in Panhellenic recruitment in the hopes of joining a chapter. This term is used because each chapter on campus is seeing you as someone who could potentially join their organization but does not yet have a bid. If you are reading this article, this is most likely you! Welcome to Greek life at TCU!
2. Rho Gamma
A Rho Gamma, or recruitment guide, is a member of the Panhellenic community that has temporarily disaffiliated from their chapter to assist PNMs during recruitment. This means that they are not functioning as a member of their chapter and will instead be a PNM’s counselor during the recruitment period. They assist PNMs in getting to various events on time and in helping PNMs decide what chapter is best for them. During recruitment, a Rho Gamma is PNM’s best friend and resource!
3. National Panhellenic Council (Panhellenic)
All Panhellenic sororities are housed under the same organization, the National Panhellenic Council. This organization sets standards for all Panhellenic chapters. At TCU, we have 12 Panhellenic chapters: Alpha Chi Omega, Alpha Delta Pi, Chi Omega, Delta Delta Delta, Delta Gamma, Gamma Phi Beta, Kappa Alpha Theta, Kappa Kappa Gamma, Phi Mu, Pi Beta Phi, Sigma Kappa, and Zeta Tau Alpha.
4. Mutual Selection
Mutual selection is the process used during recruitment so that both PNMs and chapter members have a voice. PNMs exercise their right to mutual selection by preferencing. This means that, at the end of every round, PNMs will rank chapters they have visited in clusters, showing their choice of chapter(s) to which they would like to return. Chapters also submit their selections, making the process mutual. Through mutual selection, the voice of every PNM is heard as they continue through the recruitment process.
5. Preference (Pref)
Preference can take on multiple meanings during recruitment. First, as mentioned above, “preferencing” or stating your preference at the end of a round means that a PNM is letting TCU Panhellenic know what chapters she would like to return to.
Preference is also the name of the last round of recruitment when a PNM makes her final decision as to what chapter she would like to join. This round is often more serious and allows a PNM a glimpse into a chapter’s ritual and history.
Now that a standard of recruitment vocabulary terms has been established, here are some tips for recruitment at TCU. Please take these to heart as they may be your saving grace!
1. Bring Everything You Need in Your Bag
At the beginning of recruitment, every PNM will be provided with a tote bag in which you can carry anything you need. You will also be provided a water bottle, which I recommend you fill at every chance, and a booklet that describes each chapter. You are also advised to take personal notes on every chapter.
PNMs are encouraged to bring anything they may want during the recruitment process. I recommend bringing any makeup products you may need. After a long day in the Texas heat, PNMs tend to sweat off their makeup, so bringing makeup allows each young woman to reapply so that they feel their best. I also recommend bringing any hair products you may want. I brought a curling iron and a brush which allowed me to not only touch up my hair but curl the hair of the young women around me and get to know each of them.
Finally, I recommend packing card games or other small, portable activities that you can play with other PNMs! Please do not bring your phone or a watch, you will not need them! It is best to be invested in the people around you and stay present.
2. Eat Well and Drink Water
Recruitment can be a big strain on the body! PNMs endure lots of walking, hot weather, lack of sleep, and some stressful environments. With this being said, it is so important that each PNM nourishes her body. I encourage each of you to eat well and drink plenty of water so that they are not thinking about that while at an event. The last thing a PNM or member wants is to feel sick due to a lack of food or water!
3. Talk to as Many People as Possible
Recruitment is a special time like no other. Not only are you meeting women in Panhellenic chapters, but you are also meeting other PNMs! I encourage each of you to introduce yourself to as many people as possible. You never know when you are meeting a friend for life! Whether or not you end up in the same chapter as the women you get to know during recruitment, you may see each other in classes or clubs in the future. During recruitment, everyone is searching for new friends, so use this to your advantage!
4. Keep an Open Mind
Each chapter is so much more than what meets the eye. Rather than just a set of letters, a chapter is made up of individual women with their own personalities and reasons for being a member of that chapter. Going into recruitment with an open mind allows PNMs to get to know the women of each chapter and make a decision based on that.
If you go into recruitment with a specific chapter in mind, you may not be open to the chapter that is best for you. Additionally, if you are not extended a bid from this chapter, you are setting yourself up for disappointment. As a PNM, it is so important to get to know each chapter for yourself and make decisions from there. You never know when you are sitting with the perfect sisters for you!
5. Make Decisions Based on YOU
When you go to Starbucks, you choose what coffee you would like. You don’t want lots of people telling you what coffee to drink or not drink, especially if they are all telling you different things. Recruitment is the same way! During recruitment, it is so important that each PNM takes the time to get to know each chapter with an open heart and mind. Then, make decisions based on how YOU feel about those chapters.
Make your preferences based on the way the women in the chapter make you feel, where you see yourself fitting in, and where you see yourself growing the most during your time at TCU. Where you best fit is not necessarily where your roommate, friend, or even your mom/sister best fits. That’s okay! It is so important as a PNM to find your best fit and to stick with that.
Additionally, it is important for PNMs to not spread or believe rumors, good or bad, about any chapter. These may mean that someone does not join the chapter that is meant to be her home. If you need any help determining what chapter is best for you, I would recommend consulting your Rho Gamma. These women are trained and excited to help you!
Bonus: Advice from Chapter Recruitment Directors
To get some more insight, I asked chapter recruitment directors, “What is your biggest piece of advice to PNMs coming through the recruitment process this fall?” Here’s what they said:
One piece of advice that my mom told me when I was going through recruitment that is very true, is that sometimes the best group of women are the ones who challenge you. So when I went through recruitment I knew I wanted to find a sisterhood that was going to pursue me for myself, while standing by my side in obstacles and in victories. I wanted a sisterhood that wouldn’t settle for anything less than the best but to challenge me in ways I didn’t expect in my freshman year. I have found that challenge in Alpha Chi Omega as they have loved me, pushed me, and have held high expectations of me and its members to represent this organization in the brightest possible light. My advice to you is to go out of your comfort zone, keep an open mind, and search for the sisterhood that will root for you, stand by you and hold you accountable in everything you do. (Ellen Brown, Alpha Chi Omega VP Recruitment)
My biggest piece of advice to PNMs coming through the recruitment process this fall is to listen to yourself, and not those around you. The Panhellenic Community is super close, so PNMs should not be pressured to follow where their friends are going or where the women close to them want them to go. This process is designed to help the Potential New Members find their best fit on campus. It sounds cheesy, but everyone should be themselves so they can find their forever home! (Annalea Pedigo, Chi Omega Recruitment Chair)
My biggest piece of advice as the Tri Delta recruitment chair this year is to be yourself. Conversation is the heart of recruitment. Pretend like you are talking to your best friend or a family member just having a simple conversation in order to show your personality. The most beneficial factor for me was coming through recruitment with an open mind. My sister was in a different sorority than me at TCU, and I am so glad I gave the other sororities a chance from the beginning to get the full experience.
Don’t be nervous. The sorority members are just as nervous as you are! We were all PNM’s at one point in time and remember dealing with those fears. Lastly, you can’t go wrong with any sorority you end up in. Just have fun and enjoy meeting new, great women that could end up being your friends for a lifetime. (Grayson Gabrisch, Delta Delta Delta Recruitment Chair)
My biggest piece of advice would be to make your choices for yourself and your happiness. This is a personal journey to truly find your reflection in a large group of women. So look at yourself in that reflection, and no one else. Do what makes you radiant! (Kaitlin Soltis, Delta Gamma VP Membership)
Don’t listen to the things other PNMs are saying about chapters! If someone is speaking poorly of a chapter you love, don’t let them change your mind (And most times the things they’re saying aren’t even true)! When I was a PNM, I spent the first half of recruitment wishing to be in a sorority I thought I should be in based on what I heard from other girls and people from high school. But luckily I changed my perspective to finding the chapter that would be the best for me, and me only! You don’t want to pretend to be someone you aren’t for the next 3 or 4 years, trust me! Oh and also, drink water!! When your Rho Gamma tells you it gets hot, she’s not lying! (Lindsey O’Neil, Gamma Phi Beta Membership Vice President)
My hope is that you enter recruitment this year with an open mind, a steady heart, and a positive outlook. I want to encourage you to make decisions about your future home not based on looks, outfits, or Instagram feeds, but instead on whose footsteps you’d be proud to follow as you make your mark at TCU. The beautiful thing about the Panhellenic community is that there is a place for everyone to become their best self, no matter what or who that may look like! (Olivia Egloff, Kappa Alpha Theta Recruitment Director)
Each sorority is made up of amazing women that all bring their own value to the Panhellenic community at TCU. My biggest piece of advice is to go through the recruitment process for yourself. If you focus on what you want to get out of being in a sorority and the qualities in people you want to surround yourself with not only for the next 4 years but for the rest of your life, you will find the chapter that fits you. There’s no better opportunity to get a fresh start than coming to college and immediately surrounding yourself with people who are going to be supporting you as you learn and grow and no one knows the type of people who can do this for you other than you. And have fun! I met some of my best friends through recruitment and I’m so grateful to have met so many amazing people. (Paige Price, Kappa Kappa Gamma Membership Chair)
My biggest piece of advice to a PNM coming through recruitment is to be yourself and trust the process. I know it may seem crazy but things always have a way of working themselves out for the best. As a PNM, it can feel overwhelming and very nerve-wracking, but I can assure you that we are just as overwhelmed and excited to meet you as you are to meet us. In the end, just trust the process, because speaking from personal experience, everything happens for a reason and it will lead you to where you are meant to be. (Sarah Littlejohn, Phi Mu Membership Director)
As long as you are true to yourself, get to know each chapter, and make choices based on that, I am confident that each of you will find a place in one of the phenomenal Greek organizations on TCU’s campus!