Jessica Dixon, a sister of Delta Phi Epsilon and the Panhellenic Council President, and Kathryn Librizzi, a sister of Alpha Sigma Tau and the Vice President of Recruitment for the Panhellenic Council, must be pretty pleased with themselves right now.
“This year’s Fall Formal recruitment was the most successful it has been in WCU Panhellenic history!” Dixon exclaimed. “The recruitment team was able to break the records for the number of women who were registered for recruitment, as well as stayed in the process.”
Almost 300 new members joined the Greek community through the formal recruitment process, and it is all thanks to the councils and recruitment counselors’ (pi chis) goal planning, extensive training, and hard work.
“Our main goal as a recruitment team this fall was to keep women in the process. We had several recruitment team training days were we spent hours going over possible conflicts that could arise and situations and how to address them with the Potential New Members (PNM’s) to not allow them to drop in the middle of the recruitment process,” Dixon said.
The Panhellenic community is now over 700 members strong. Each sorority reached quota with at least 35 new members. Each organization has about the same size new member class, which has never happened before.
The reasoning behind the major success achieved by the Panhellenic Council comes down to strategic planning and creative marketing. In years’ past, the council has made a theme of recruitment that was relevant throughout the week, but this year they decided to go in a different direction.
“The Panhellenic community voted on just using the standard National Panhellnic Conference crest and colors,” Dixon said.
The colors are dark green and white, and the crest includes a sword, a lamp, and leaves in a shield formation. However, Dixon and her team decided to add their own spin on it and make the crest a floral design, similar to designer Lilly Pulitzer’s creations.
It was very appealing for more people across the board – it did not just apply to one group of girls. It was very plain and simple and straight to the point,” said Maria Martin, the president of Delta Phi Epsilon.
The theme was not the only thing different about this recruitment though. One of the other major changes was the implementation of junior and senior bids. A junior/senior bid is an invitation for an upper classmen to join a sorority without having to go through the formal recruitment process. Sororities individually invited girls and extended them a bid. Almost every sorority extended junior/senior bids.
“The junior/senior bids were a great way to get older girls to join a sorority. They also made each new member class more diverse age wise,” said Jessica Rolfe, a sister of Delta Phi Epsilon.
The junior/senior bids were suggested by Cara Jenkins, the Interim Greek Life Advisor, who started her position this summer. Jenkins was in a sorority in college and was a Greek Life Advisor before.
The most shocking change was the bid day shirts, or lack thereof. The Panhellenic Council and Jared Brown, the previous Greek Life Advisor, made the decision for all sororities to give their new members lettered shirts on bid day. This was a very controversial decision that shook up the Greek community. Usually, one must be an initiated sister to wear letters.
“I like that they got letters on bid day because it isn’t the letters that make them a sister, it’s what they do after they get the letters. New members seem to only care about getting letters once they’re initiated, so if we give it to them on bid day, they can look forward to the sisterhood instead,” explained Mazi Kuba, a sister of Alpha Xi Delta and the Vice President of Programming for the Panhellenic Council.
The roots of the decision are for new members to earn their pins, not sweatshirts and T-shirts with fancy letters sewn on them. So many new members are focused on being able to wear letters once they are a sister when they should actually be focusing on learning their organizations values and earning their official badge.
Many other sorority members see this new decision as helpful as well. In fact, it seems that the decision was used as advertising for the Greek community. The presence of sororities will be more known on campus now that more people are able to wear letters.
“The fact that so many more women will be wearing Greek letters on campus will really get people talking about Greek life,” said Erin Evans, a sister of Delta Phi Epsilon. “Each sorority got at least 35 new members, so over 700 women will be wearing letters!”
Another change to recruitment was the way each new member received their bid. In years’ past, each new member’s recruitment counselor, also known as a pi chi, would individually deliver bids. This year, all the PNM’s opened their bids together. This gave the PNM’s a chance to meet other girls who received a bid from the same sorority as themselves.
“It’s easier to console the girls if they aren’t happy with their bid at first because we are literally right next to them. Also, even if a girl doesn’t feel super excited about her bid- she will notice the excitement around her and start to generate the same feelings. Also, for the Panhellenic community as a whole, it increased our numbers because more girls accepted their bids. It was easier for us to get the girls to the purple gym to meet their new sorority and then become more certain with their decision to accept their bid,” Emilia Levisay, a Pi Chi and sister of Delta Phi Epsilon, said.
Before this year, the new members would then go to Hollinger Field House and be called to the center of the gym to be presented to the entire Panhellenic Community and to their new sorority. Many people found this a little uncomfortable and nerve -racking for the new members, so the Panhellenic Council decided to switch things up. Now they are called in groups and presented to their new sorority as a whole.
“Although this year was a little different, with so many girls, it seems inevitable that recruitment would have to be different, despite all the girls not being called out one by one as they gathered in a circle, you couldn’t help but jumping for joy hoping your sorority was going to be called and you could run out and greet them. It was different no doubt, but change is good and with so many new girls sororities are all changing and growing,” Colleen Fox, a sister of Delta Phi Epsilon, said.
Dixon hopes the changes will become new traditions and will create inspiration for even more changes in the future. With the council’s overwhelming success, they can officially credit themselves for collectively changing the face of sorority recruitment.
Liz Thompson is a fourth-year communication studies major with a minor in journalism. She can be reached at ET715984@wcupa.edu.