Greek life prepares for sorority recruitment

Jenna Thompson

It’s that time of year again, and no, I don’t mean Christmas. It’s time for the University’s sorority recruitment. Each year women interested in joining one of the nine sororities on campus come back a week early from their Christmas breaks and participate in a week-long recruitment process.

According to Villanova’s Greek Affairs office, “Recruitment is a process of mutual selection involving a sorority and a Potential New Member, or PNM. It is a week-long series of on-campus events where chapters get to know PNMs and PNMs get to know the women of the chapters.”

During the week, each of the nine sororities host separate events or “parties”, in Dougherty Hall. These parties allow both the PNMs and the sisters to get to know each other better. There are four different event rounds, each with a different theme or activity that allow the PNMs a chance to get an idea of the personalities of each sorority and to see where they would be most comfortable.

The first round, Open Round, allows the PNMs to attend all nine sorority events. During this time, general presentations are given on scholarship, leadership, service, rituals and social events.

The second round is the Philanthropy round where PNMs attend five sorority events. Each sorority takes this opportunity to explain its own specific philanthropy and what they do to volunteer and raise money for it. In addition, PNMs participate in an activity or craft that will benefit each sorority’s philanthropy.

The Theme Party round is the third round where PNMs attend three sorority events. This round is supposed to be a fun, party atmosphere where PNMs have the chance to talk to many of the sisters in a relaxing environment. In addition, the financial commitment of each sorority is discussed.

Finally, the last round during the week is the Preference round where PNMs attend just two sororities and have the opportunity to witness a ritual. This is the most formal of all the rounds and it is after this that the PNMs decide which sorority they would like to join.

John Osborne, head of the University’s Greek Affairs office and the advisor for recruitment, admits that sorority Recruitment can be overwhelming. “It is intimidating and a little scary for PNMs to walk into a room with a bunch of girls singing and clapping at you,” he says.

He explains that to have so much crammed into one week can be stressful for the PNMs, the chapters and the Greek Affairs office as well.

However, Osborne notes that what sororities do is similar to what most college campuses do in respect to how they conduct their recruitment.

“While we know that there is room for improvement, there is no light switch to make it better,” he says.

According to Osborne, sorority recruitment does nevertheless have many strengths. First and foremost, it’s fair. There are many rules that the sororities are accountable for that allow the PNMs to be exposed to all nine chapters so that “everyone enters on the same playing field with equal time at each ‘party.'”

Recruitment at the University also abides by the National Pan-Hellenic Council’s policy of a “no frills” recruitment process. This means that rather than concentrating on the decorations and style of the various rounds, emphasis is placed on the PNMs, the sisters and the desire for conversation and interaction. This allows PNMs and the sisters to get to know one another.

The University has also initiated a new software program for recruitment that is more user-friendly and will allow the week to run more smoothly. The new program will help sororities and PNMs to accurately match up with one another according to each group’s preference.

In addition, all PNMs will be given a recruitment t-shirt to wear for the first two rounds so that everyone can come in as the same and let their own personalities shine rather than what they wear.

Osborne hopes that these initiatives will help everyone feel more comfortable and less stressed.

Despite the anxiety that may come during the week, recruitment can also be a time of relaxing with friends. Nicole Lunn, the vice president of membership for Delta Gamma and the one in charge of recruitment for her sorority, remembers her week of recruitment fondly. “I loved getting to hang out in dorms with all the girls going through recruitment with me. We played games and did lots of cheesy, fun, girl things.”

Lunn encourages all women interested in recruitment to come out and participate. “The Villanova Greek system is wonderful now but has lots of potential for growth. It’s so important that women continue to be a part of the recruitment process to help inspire this growth.”

Osborne also hopes women will seriously consider going through recruitment. “In life, it’s always worth checking out new things,” he says. “Greek life is so much more than people give it credit for – both during and after the college experience.”