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2016 Memories: Returning From Pi Chi Land

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

A year can be chock-full of memories, especially when joining a Panhellenic Sorority or even just guiding women to find their “home away from home”.  Disassociating yourself from every affiliated woman, including your sisters, for three weeks during a stressful recruitment process, may not appeal to many. But for Meghan Ballis, a Sigma Kappa, the Pi Chi process was appealing, as her Pi Chis were there for her during her stressful time as a potential new member going through formal recruitment.

“Their ability to help me in that situation inspired me to help other women go through the process,” Ballis said. “I wanted to support others, the way my Pi Chis supported me.”

Ballis transferred to the University of South Florida in the fall of 2015. She had gone through the recruitment process as a potential new member at the University of Florida, and joined the Sigma Kappa chapter there. When she transferred to USF, Sigma Kappa was colonizing a chapter. She is now an active member of the USF Sigma Kappa chapter.

A Pi Chi, also known as a recruitment guide, is a woman who disaffiliates from her sorority to help women going through the formal recruitment process. They provide unbiased advice, and guide women through the process. Pi Chis fully disaffiliate from their organization three weeks before bid day, and must not associate or talk to any affiliated women. During the recruitment days, they guide women to and from events, help them keep an open mind when narrowing down their selection from 10 organizations and answer any questions they may have.

“We’re their support and their advocate,” Ballis said.

However, a Pi Chi’s job does not being during recruitment. In fact, these women prepare for recruitment starting in the summer, when they take a summer class once a week during Summer B. This class is focused not only on the actual recruitment process and their job, but is also focused on leadership skills, and empowering women.

Pi Chis are paired up with “twins,” which are women from a different organization that will assist each other and a group of potential new members during the recruitment process. Ballis’s twin, Monika Patel, a Chi Omega, was excited when she found out Ballis was her Pi Chi twin.

“When we got each other we were super excited,” Patel said. “It was something new, and a good chance to get to know her.”

Many women describe the Pi Chi process as challenging, but luckily for Ballis, she not only had her Pi Chi twin to lean on, but she also had her biological twin, Karrie Ballis.

“Megan and I were very close during the Pi Chi experience,” Karrie said. “We relied on each other but also on our twins. We didn’t want to miss out on the experience with our Pi Chi twins and our Pi Chi sisters.”

Looking back now, Karrie was happy that she and Ballis were both Pi Chi’s because Ballis was the only Sigma Kappa that went Pi Chi. This is because Sigma Kappa is a newly installed chapter, and it was the organization’s first formal recruitment. Karrie was able to be there for Ballis since she didn’t have any sorority sisters also go Pi Chi.

“She felt kinda alone in the process because she was the only Sigma Kappa going through,” Karrie said. “Having me there probably made her feel more comfortable.”

However, being a Pi Chi isn’t just a stressful experience, it is also a lot fun. The Pi Chis all become very close, and they get to live together in a hotel for a week. It is part of what makes the process worth it.

“Having the connection with the Pi Chis, it’s like its own sisterhood,” Ballis said.

Ballis said her favorite part about being a Pi Chi was watching her group of potential new members open their bids, an invitation to join a Greek organization.

“I told them all week, ‘I am more excited for you guys to run home than I am,’” Ballis said. “I was more excited for them because they are the future of Panhellenic.”

The Pi Chi process really helps the women grow as leaders, especially when they lead their group of 20+ potential new members. Ballis recalls the skills she gained since recruitment.

“I really learned how to effectively work as a team, when working with all the other Pi Chis,” Ballis said. “I’ve really grown in that way.”

Ballis also wants to take what she learned as a Pi Chi and bring it back to her chapter. For example, she wants to inspire Panhellenic love in her chapter. Since Sigma Kappa is the newest sorority on campus, she feels that Sigma Kappa and other Panhellenic organizations may see them as outsiders. By participating in philanthropic events, and encouraging friendships in other sororities, Ballis hopes this will help them feel more a part of the USF Greek community.

Through the fun and stressful times, both Ballis sisters, and Patel, agree that despite the stress of being a Pi Chi, it’s so worth it.

“It was the best experience of my life,” Ballis said. “I would trade anything for that experience again”


I’m a Carolina girl turned USF bull, majoring in Mass Communications- Public Relation. I'm a lover of cats, family, friends and mac n cheese, in no particular order.
I am a junior at the University of South Florida. I am specializing in Public Relations while pursuing certificates in Business and Visualization & Design. I hope to one day combine all of these and pursue law in the entertainment and even branch out to other passions in family law. While I am studying to achieve these dreams, I have furthered my collection of coffee cups and obsession with caffeine. I currently work as a barista and love to whip up new ideas, whether it be actual coffee creations or branding ideas. My other hobbies include enjoying short walks to the movies and my computer. This is usually to catch up on the latest and greatest shows. If it's not film, it is music. I love the thrill of listening to live music of my favorite and new bands. These inspire me to discover my individuality and brand, while challenging myself to help others find theirs.