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Pi Chi Lindsey Richardson

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at UFL chapter.

Name: Lindsey RichardsonAge: 22Year: SeniorMajor: Applied Physiology and Kinesiology   Minor: Business Administration

Her Campus: What is a Pi Chi?Lindsey Richardson: “A Pi Chi is a Panhellenic Counselor. Pi Chis are the ambassadors of the Panhellenic community. During the recruitment process, we guide and mentor the incoming potential new members in hopes of helping them find a chapter that best fits them and will become their home away from home for the duration of their time here at the University of Florida.”

HC: How would you describe your role as a Pi Chi throughout the sorority recruitment process?LR: “Within each Pi Chi group, there were five to six Pi Chis with specific jobs and roles to help the recruitment process run as smoothly as possible. I was the attendance Pi Chi. This meant that for every party during each round, I had to make sure that all women were present and accounted for under the tent of whatever chapter house we were currently at. I was provided a list of names that I would call out multiple times and if someone was not there, I, with the help of my other Pi Chis in my group, would call the women until we got in contact with them. I loved this job because it gave me a large responsibility and allowed me to quickly learn all of my PNM’s names and faces. Whenever I was not taking attendance, I was able to chat, make connections with PNMs and even council and give advice to the women, and I found this to be my favorite part of the recruitment.”

HC: What kind of training did you have to do prior to recruitment week?LR: “After finding out that I was going to be a Pi Chi, I had to sign up for a two-credit leadership course for the spring. This was a semester-long class that all Pi Chis were required to take, which involved class lectures, guest speakers, team building activities and so on, all of which were aimed to teach and educate us on the process and situations we needed to be prepared for. We also had a Pi Chi ‘Spirit Week’ that occurred the week before the 2015 Recruitment process began. During that week, we learned our specific jobs for recruitment, participated in team building and bonding activities and made sure that we were prepared for any type of scenario that may come our way.”

HC: What did you have to give up or stop while you were a Pi Chi?LR: “During our class in the spring we were not allowed to wear any chapter letters (sorority or fraternity) or have them on anything while in class lecture. Towards the end of the class, we also had to take decals off car or scooters. On the last day of class we became officially disassociated from our respective chapters and had to delete or deactivate all forms of social media including Instagram, Twitter and Facebook. This continued throughout the course of the summer, Spirit Week and the week of Recruitment. The day of potential new member orientation, all Pi Chis moved into the Reitz Union Hotel where we would live for the next eight days (all of recruitment). Pi Chis could not live in their chapter houses or apartments to help reinforce disassociation. At this point we could no longer speak to Panhellenic women in a public setting until Bid Day!”

HC: Why did you decide to become a Pi Chi?LR: “I decided to become a Pi Chi because I love helping and encouraging people. I feel that I am a very caring, nurturing and approachable person and felt that these qualities would be very beneficial for the women participating in the process. I wanted to be able to be my goofy self and also meet and build friendships with Pi Chis in other chapters within the Panhellenic community. Most of all I just wanted to have fun, make a difference and use my experiences from being on both sides of the recruitment process to ease any PNM’s anxieties or worries and help them find the chapter that would be the best fit and that would help them grow into the best woman they can be.”

HC: How did you feel when you were finally able to go back to your chapter on bid day?LR: “Running home on Bid Day was like my Bid Day all over again. It was the best feeling running home to your sisters and friends that missed you and want to welcome you back. It was so exciting running onto the lawn and seeing welcome home signs and yelling and cheers and getting to hug everyone again. Even though it had only been eight days, it felt a lot longer because I talk to my sisters on a daily basis and I had missed them so much! It was so refreshing to get to see their faces and catch up on things I had missed and how everyone’s lives were.”

HC: What was the most memorable part of your experience as a Pi Chi?LR: “There were so many memorable experiences from being a Pi Chi but one that really sticks out to me was a card I received from one of my PNMs. She had written all five Pi Chis within our group personalized cards thanking us for being there and helping her through the process. It warmed my heart so much and took all the tiredness and pain from aching muscles away. That showed me that we really were making a difference in those women’s lives. That one unexpected acknowledgement made everything absolutely worth it and continually reminded and reinforced to me why we were there and why I loved being a Pi Chi so much.”

HC: What was the most challenging part?LR: “The most challenging part was having to release a woman from the recruitment process, whether it was because they were not asked back by chapters or because it was their own choice. The process ended up so great for me and I know how happy I am with my chapter that it was hard to see some women not have or be able to have that experience. It was also challenging hearing PNMs talk negatively about chapters and for me to discourage that kind of talking in the nicest way possible.”

HC: What advice would you give to future Pi Chis?LR: “Always drink lots of water. Wear a bandana under your hat. Chacos are your friend. Take the time to talk to a PNM if she needs it, even if you don’t have time. Take in every second of being a Pi Chi because trust me, you will miss it so much once it’s over.”

HC: Anything else you would like to add?LR: “Being a Pi Chi was one of the best experiences of my life and I would do it again in a heartbeat if I could. Getting to see the impact we had was so rewarding and there really is no other opportunity like it!”