An insider’s guide to the sorority recruitment process.
For many girls at Boston University, the envelope they receive on the fifth day of sorority recruitment is much more than simply an envelope. It represents their initiation into Greek Life and – if they are lucky – into the pledge class of their choice.
Last week, more than 500 female BU students took part in the spring sorority recruitment at the Marriot Copley hotel, said College of Communication sophomore and Alpha Phi member Torre Price.
Despite the stereotypes surrounding sorority life, 11 percent of the BU population belongs to a Greek organization, according to BU’s website.
The process started off early as the girls, dubbed “Potential New Members,” or PNM’s, arrived at 8 a.m. the first day at the Kenmore T stop.
Those who participated in recruitment said the process was highly intensive. According to COM sophomore and new Sigma Kappa pledge Lisa Gange, the PNMs dedicated up to 10 hours a day for five days to the process.
“The one thing I can say about recruitment was it was busy week,” Gange said.
SELECTION AND REJECTION
The recruitment process begins on day one with a series of 15-minute meet-and-greets between the girls and each of the sororities, Price said. The PNMs then decide which two sororities they want to drop.
“The first day was a little stressful and exhausting,” said Becca Golden, a School of Education freshman and pledge of Alpha Epsilon Phi. “But things calmed down after that.”
Golden describes the week as a mutual selection process in which PNMs select the sororities with which they feel most connected and vice versa.
“I wasn’t very intimidated once the older girls explained that the idea behind rushing at BU is that it’s a mutual selection,” she said. “This helps to ensure that every girl ends up where she belongs.”
As the week continues, conversations between the PNMs and their prospective sororities get progressively longer while sororities slowly narrow down the number of girls who they invite back.
During these conversations, the PNMs learn more about each sororities’ philanthropy efforts and unique characters, while the sororities have a chance to look for recruits who fit within their already existing group of girls.
“We look for girls that are outgoing, engaged on campus, that are interested in philanthropy and whose personality is compatible with the personalities of the girls in our sorority,” Price said. “There is really no specific type.”
On day four, commonly referred to as Preference Day, the girls can be called back by at most two sororities. During hour-long conversations, the sororities each perform a personalized “ritual” to entice their recruits to join. These rituals may include performances, songs and slide shows, but the exact content is kept secret.
At midnight on day five, the recruits each receive an envelope containing an invitation to join one sorority, at which point they may accept or decline the offer.
This kind of procedure however, turns some girls away.
“I think girls are judged based on five minutes of sisters meeting them,” said a College of Arts and Sciences freshman who went through recruitment and wished to remain anonymous.
She complained that much of the process is superficial and described it as a way to pay for a group of friends. She added that the phrase “not for me,” is popular by day four among girls disheartened with the process.
But despite complaints like these, other recruits said the process was worthwhile.
“I decided to rush because I wanted to meet new people and branch out socially,” Golden said. “When I got my bid to AEPhi I was so excited.”
Price said the process is an effective way of matching girls with sororities.
“Some girls will open the envelope and not receive the bid they want, but they are usually open-minded about it and eventually – after pledging – still feel they have ended up where they belong,” she said.