Sorority recruitment season brings a rush of excitement and new possibilities for people interested in joining a sisterhood. For some students at Ohio University, joining a sorority matches with their interests and schedules, but there are others who don’t find it fitting for themselves.
Formal sorority recruitment begins on Sept. 9 and ends on Sept. 18 for people who have registered for Women’s Panhellenic Association’s, or WPA, fall recruitment. Students who are interested in joining sororities may have always wanted to be part of Greek life or recently made the decision.
Megan Collings, an undecided freshman, is looking forward to the start of recruitment. Originally from Chicago, Collings came to OU not knowing anyone. Being from out of town, Collings said she is craving the sense of community that often comes with becoming a member of a sorority.
“I feel like a sorority will give me the opportunity to make a ton of friends and just have a home away from home,” Collings said.
Collings was not always planning on rushing. It was not until her junior year of high school that she started to think about it.
“Ever since then, I’ve wanted to,” Collings said.
Collings said her mom’s work with the Alzheimer’s Association and her own experiences with charitable giving helped encourage her to join, alongside the community aspect. Her mom did not participate in a sorority, so she hadn’t considered the option until her friends in high school began discussing it.
“It was more of an added bonus,” Collings said. “I haven’t looked much into the sororities because I didn’t want to go into it with a bias or anything. I just heard that Greek life is fun here.”
In addition to the opportunity to make friends, the relatively laid-back nature of OU recruitment appealed to Collings as well. With only 10 chapters, OU’s WPA is dwarfed by that of some larger schools, especially schools a part of the Southeastern Conference.
“It’s more chill than ‘Bama (University of Alabama),” Collings said. “That was definitely a good reason – I didn’t want it to be an insane thing.”
Tori Noon, a senior studying management information systems and business analytics, is the vice president of recruitment for WPA. Noon said there’s a lot of planning and events that go into the recruitment process. On Sept. 9, there is a potential new member, or PNM, orientation that Friday evening. The following day is known as Welcome Round, a day-long introduction to all of the houses.
“What will happen is all of the women going through the process will go to all 10 chapters that we have here,” Noon said. “So at the end of the day, the PNMs will rank which houses they like best from one to 10, and then the houses will also rank the PNMs.”
On Sept. 11, the PNMs go through Philanthropy Round, which means they are able to go back to up to eight houses that invite them back. The PNMs then rank their top choices of sororities again and the houses will do the same for PNMs.
“It is like when you're swiping on Tinder, in order to match with someone you both have to swipe right,” Noon said.
Sisterhood Round and Preference Round are the following recruitment steps and require PNMs to narrow their top choices of sororities they want to join.
“And then (there’s) Bid Day, which is when they’ll get their bid and that means they’re not initiated yet, but they’re officially members of that chapter,” Noon said.
In her position, Noon said she has been trying to make the recruitment process more accessible for incoming PNMs.
“We added our pronouns to our nametags and just things like that since I’ve gotten into this position,” Noon said. “One of my main goals is to make recruitment more accessible.”
Participating in Panhellenic life does not appeal to everyone. Ariel Williams, a sophomore studying plant biology, is not in a sorority, nor did she have plans to join one when she came to campus.
“I’ve never been a sorority type of person,” Williams said. “I’ve never really wanted to join Greek life — I just haven’t been interested. I don’t know, I’m not really into it.”
Williams credited her lack of interest in joining a sorority to her upbringing. As an only child, she said being surrounded by that many people seemed overwhelming and deterred her from looking more into the recruitment process.
She said the history of many sororities also deferred her from joining, as she said she knows there have been discriminatory practices in the past. Additionally, Williams said the collaboration of WPA activities with Interfraternity Council activities decreased the appeal of getting involved.
“They (sororities) usually are involved with some of the fraternities — they do conjoined things,” Williams said. “That’s a no for me. That’s a complete no.”
Regardless of opinions surrounding Panhellenic life, it is still an opportunity for women to make new friends and create long-lasting relationships.
“Just getting to watch the PNMs make those connections and experience that joy for themselves, it just makes my heart happy,” Noon said.