New system for pledges

Vadim Lavrusik

Campus sorority officials credit a new recruitment structure and a high level of leadership-driven first-year students for the highest number of recruits in years.

The nine sororities that are part of the National Panhellenic Conference had 155 new members join during formal recruitment this fall, the highest since 1998 and a 9 percent increase from 142 new members in 2005.

Gina Rozinka, president of the campus Panhellenic Council, said this year the first round of formal recruitment, which includes meeting all the sisters at once, was split into two days instead of one.

This year, perspective members met with five sororities the first day and four the second day, Rozinka said.

“Splitting the first round over two days made recruitment a lot more relaxed,” she said. “It gave them a chance to take a breather and decompress what their thoughts were about everything so they could make a better decision.”

Typically, sorority recruitment is done in three rounds. After the first round of events, the chapters narrow their list of potential new members while the women rank the chapters they like best in a process of mutual selection. Chapters then do two more rounds of events before choosing their new members.

There are 12 sororities on campus, but only nine participated in the formal recruitment decided by the conference, which ran Sept. 11 to 18. All 12 chapters take part in informal recruitment, which comes after the formal version and includes dinners and other events.

Rozinka said the new first-year class was also a factor in this year’s success.

Because the University has become a lot more competitive in terms of acceptance, she said, the incoming students have had more leadership roles while in high school.

This fall, the sororities had the highest percentage of women who register for formal recruitment and then join since 1993. This year 69 percent joined, compared to 59 percent last fall.

However, formal recruitment had 28 participants drop out of the process this year.

University first-year student Jenny Simons said she dropped out after she saw her friends cry because they weren’t asked back to Pi Beta Phi, the sorority they wanted to join.

“That’s when I decided recruitment was too much for me,” Simons said.

Her friends also dropped out of formal recruitment, but joined during informal recruitment later.

“It’s just like high school all over again, and that’s another reason why I dropped out,” she said.

Despite the bad experience, Simons said she plans to go through informal recruitment in the spring.

“Formal recruitment was just too much pressure,” she said.

Chad Ellsworth, University adviser to the greek community, said the sororities have to abide by a formal recruitment quota – a set number that ensures that each sorority has an equal number of new members.

He said the quota depends on the number of women participating in formal recruitment. This year the quota was 17 and all but two of the sororities made quota, he said.

“It helps ensure that you don’t get a chapter that is super popular and is inviting everyone back even though they can only get 17 at the end,” Ellsworth said.

He said a chapter that is more popular is going to invite fewer people, because more women will want to join that chapter as opposed to another during decision time.

Although the quota makes sure each sorority gets an equal amount of new members, most girls are able to join the sorority they are most interested in, he said.

This year 118 girls were able to join their first-choice sorority, 27 got their second choice and 10 got their third choice, he said.

Chapters typically house around 70 members, Ellsworth said.

University first-year student Shauncey O’Rourke joined her first choice, Kappa Alpha Theta, during formal recruitment.

O’Rourke said she had always wanted to join a sorority and chose the University because of its greek system.

She was happy the first round was split into two days because it made the process more relaxed, she said.

“It is kinda intimidating because when they open the door, it’s basically 50 girls in coordinated outfits chanting at you, so splitting it up made it a lot easier,” she said.

O’Rourke said she chose the sorority, because it was the one she felt most comfortable with.

“I could see myself, like, living there and hanging out with those girls,” she said. “And they had really good food on all the days.”

She said the greek community helped her connect with people by making the University a “smaller place” and she could get involved in activities like homecoming with her new sorority sisters.