The University’s Panhellenic Council made several changes to sorority recruitment this year in an effort to make the process shorter and less confusing.
Sorority recruitment is usually a five-day affair, with four-rounds of mutual selection, followed by bid day, on which candidates select their top two choices. In past years students were able to spend more time on their decision before learning of the final selection. This year’s bid day was more immediate, with candidates learning of the selection results on the same day they submitted their final bids, cutting the process down to four days.
“This year was my first year being on the recruitment side,” Deanna Passaretti, sophomore member of Chi Omega said. “Having bid day on the same day as preference round was extremely exhausting for all chapters involved.”
The Council also shortened the process by securing nine different locations on campus for its chapters to meet with potential new members. This is an improvement over last year, when, due to limited space, half of the sororities met in the morning and half met in the evening.
Mock recruitment was a first this year as well. Women interested in Greek Life had the opportunity to meet with different chapters in a shortened, pretend recruitment process. The Council had hoped that the event would give women a better idea of how recruitment works and reduce confusion. It also gave students the chance to talk to girls who already went through the process and formed an opinion.
“I originally looked at schools without Greek life, because I never really wanted to join a sorority in the first place,” McAndrew said. “But I ended up rushing, because I didn’t want to miss out on an opportunity that I know other girls had a great experience with.”
Also a sophomore in Chi Omega, McAndrew went on to say that her experience, “lived up to the idea that there are a group of girls that are very similar to me and hold similar values, and that makes me feel good along with the fact that it makes me feel like I belong somewhere. It sort of makes campus feel smaller for me, because I’m always seeing sisters, but at the same time it’s really cool to be a part of something bigger than just myself,” said McAndrew.
Changes are also being made to fraternity recruitment. Villanova’s Greek community has more women than men, but this year Villanova’s Interfraternity Council is trying to attract new members by improving the recruitment process, which began Wednesday.
At Villanova, fraternity recruitment is less formal than sorority recruitment. Men interested in Greek Life meet with chapters over a one to two week period. The chapters offer bids, and men that choose to accept their bid register with that fraternity.
Before this year, each fraternity was allowed to decide how it recruited new members, as long as it abided by University policies. This year the Office of Fraternity Life is adding more structure to the recruitment process. Chapters will be required to give presentations and hold interviews with potential new members. Jakub Glowala, the President of Villanova University’s Interfraternity Council, hoped that a more regulated process would give fraternities more exposure.
“The Office of Fraternity Life has been a lot more transparent this year and that’s inviting for a lot of people,” Glowala said. “We’re bringing a lot more structure to the process and that’s affecting the number of people that are registering.”
Greek Life’s presence at Villanova has grown in recent years. Participation in sorority recruitment rose a little over five percent this year and about three percent for fraternity recruitment. Villanova welcomed a new fraternity, Pi Kappa Phi, in the Fall 2015 semester, and Jessica McPherrin, Assistant Director of The Office of Fraternity, and Sorority Life said that more sororities might be added in the future as well.
With the increase in size of the freshman class came an increase in Greek Life registration. This year, 585 girls registered to rush a sorority, compared to the 555 who registered in 2015. Sororities were unable to accommodate this increase extending 399 bids, just two more than 2015.
Other students found that Greek Life is not for everyone. First year Pedro Peña decided not to join a fraternity this year.
“I feel like I don’t need to join a fraternity to meet new people or to make connections,” Peña said.
In an email to parents, The Office of First and Second Year Initiatives explained the right and the wrong reasons to rush. The email encouraged parents to make sure their students weren’t falling into the “everyone is rushing” mentality. It said that students participating in recruitment should be acting autonomously and with a strong sense of self. According to the email, a student’s participation in recruitment should come from a “genuine desire” for social connections, leadership, and service opportunities. The Office also warned that the process could be disappointing.
First Year Jenna Kosinski joined a sorority so she could form new relationships.
“I thought that joining a sorority would help me branch out and make new friends,” Kosinski said. “I’m also an only child, so the idea of having sisters appealed to me.”
As more Villanovans participate in Greek Life, the Panhellenic Council and the Interfraternity Council will continue to look for ways to improve the recruitment process by holding annual focus groups.
Graphic courtesy of Caroline Ibarra