I always knew I wanted to be in a sorority. Both my parents were involved in the Greek community at their respective colleges and always told me it was some of the best days of their lives. My mom even taught me the Greek alphabet when I was little! I came into college with the mindset that recruitment was something I really wanted to do, but I know that’s not the case for everyone.
I’m sure you saw the “Alabama Rush” social media phenomenon in August. The amazing thing about primary recruitment at Iowa is that it’s so different from what was portrayed on social media. In fact, quite a few girls I’ve talked to even said, “I didn’t think sorority life was for me because I didn’t think of myself as the typical sorority girl.” It can be daunting looking from the outside in. But those same girls that didn’t think greek life was for them, are the same girls that couldn’t stop talking about how much they love it now that they’re in a house.
This year, to prevent any Covid outbreaks, the Panhellenic Council decided to move primary recruitment online. At first, I was bummed, but I soon came to realize that it was a blessing in disguise because I didn’t have to walk from house to house in 95-degree heat.
The first round each house put together a 3-5 minute video about their chapter, and each Potential New Member (PNM) sent in a 2-minute video about them. I’m not going to lie, it was really hard to rank after that round because, after a while, the videos began to sound very similar. Nevertheless, I ranked my top 10 houses and ended up getting 9 back!
Tip: Be honest and make your video as genuine as possible. I know of some girls who took their video while laying in bed. There is no need for a full Hollywood production.
The second round is sisterhood. We actually got to talk to the chapters that invited us back via Zoom, which at first was really nerve-racking because I didn’t know what to expect. As soon as I was done with my first party of the day, I thought to myself, “okay, I can totally do this.” It’s so fun and exciting to meet all these new people! Be open to each chapter and what they have to offer. You never know what may be your new home.
Tip: Take notes after each round. After 9 or 10 parties, it gets hard to keep them all straight. Go with your gut feeling at the moment, and be sure to write it down after the party to reference later while you rank.
The third round is philanthropy (where chapters talk about their philanthropic events and fundraising). I got back 6 houses, so I had a full day. This round we got a little more time to talk to girls from each chapter, and it was really special hearing about personal connections to their philanthropies. This was also one of the most challenging rounds because you go from 6 houses to 2 houses, which is quite the jump!
Tip 1: Be enthusiastic! At this point, many girls are pretty fatigued, but on several occasions, girls told me my enthusiasm was “just what they needed.” I strived as excited, if not more, to talk to them as they were to me… It goes a long way!
Tip 2: Don’t get deterred if one of your favorite houses doesn’t invite you back. It’s certainly not personal, it simply means they think there is a better-fitted house for you on campus! Trust the process.
Fourth (and final) Round
The last round of recruitment is preference, or otherwise referred to as pref. This round is probably the most important and personal round. Round four, you only meet with two houses, and then you pref whichever one you can see yourself fitting in the best. Sometimes, it’s an easy decision based on which houses invited you back. Sometimes girls only have one house that brought them back. Or sometimes it is a really difficult decision. That’s what happened to me. I was so torn between my last two houses, but in the end, I went with my gut and I’m so happy I did.
Tip: Make this decision based on your gut, and not what anyone else says. Don’t pay attention to rumors or reputations. Do what is best for you, trust the process, and you’ll end up in the right place.
The beautiful thing about primary recruitment is the fact that everyone around you comes from different backgrounds and is joining for different reasons. That being said, at the end of the day, everyone ends up where they’re supposed to be. Being a part of Greek life is not only fun but such an amazing way to meet people and get involved on campus. I’ve already met so many girls who I may not know if it wasn’t for our sorority bringing us together. Additionally, I’ve met so many people through my friend’s sororities as well. You’re not just joining a house, but a whole community. I can’t wait to see where this takes me, and the connections I make in the future!
Last but not least… the reveal… I ran home to Tri Delta!! DLAM!!