Ohio University sororities offer many opportunities for interested women to participate in. Although formal recruitment takes place in the fall, informal recruitment offers students another chance to meet friends and join a sisterhood.
Informal recruitment events began on Jan. 18 with the Greek Expo in Baker Ballroom from 5-7 p.m. Students interested in the recruitment process were able to meet women from multiple Women's Panhellenic Association, or WPA, chapters on campus.
Director of Sorority and Fraternity Life, Christianne Medrano Graham, said the main difference between the formal and informal recruitment processes is the structure.
The 2022-23 year formal recruitment took place from Sept. 9 to Sept. 18, according to a previous Post report. Graham said formal recruitment is a five to six-day process, where potential new members register for the WPA recruitment and visit all 10 chapter houses on campus. From there, potential new members, or PNMs, narrow down which chapters they like until they choose one to join.
"When we do spring recruitment, or the informal process, you don't have that same structure," Graham said. "All of the potential new members do not have to visit all of the sororities. They just pick and choose."
Unlike formal recruitment, campus chapters hold individual events for PNMs to attend. Interested students can choose which chapters they want to rush and only attend those events.
Maire Stonecipher, a junior studying psychology and sociology-criminology and vice president of new member services for WPA, said the formal recruitment process consists of more commitment not everyone can provide. She said the informal process could be easier for some compared to formal recruitment.
"None of the events are required which takes stress away for those who are going through the process," Stonecipher wrote in an email. "Informal events are a lot more relaxed as well, which can build deeper connections and make the decision process easier."
While the informal process may offer a less stressful environment for some, Graham said the informal process does not offer an equal chance for PNMs to visit all of the campus chapters and recommends women visit all of the houses.
"In the formal recruitment process, you visit all of them and try to have an open mind and open heart to determine where you fit in best, as opposed to being so focused on joining one where maybe you don't even fit in with your personality with those women," Graham said.
During the formal process, PNMs have a Rho Gamma, an upperclassman who is an active member in a sorority, to guide them during recruitment and act as a mentor. Rho Gammas do not reveal which campus chapter they are a part of.
Katie Clarke, a junior studying computer science and vice president of recruitment for WPA, said this year's informal recruitment will have Rho Gammas to help promote chapter events and guide PNMs in a less structured format.
"It's having a mentor there," Clarke said. "Just to hear how the whole process is going for [PNMs] ... there to help be a guiding hand through the process."
Clarke said she went through the formal recruitment process to join her sorority but encourages anyone interested in learning more about Panhellenic life to attend informal chapter events.
"If people are on the fence about Greek life, it's not just a social aspect," Clarke said. "We also have scholarship opportunities. You're allowed to get leadership opportunities. A lot of our networking has gotten a lot of our women their internships and post-grad jobs."
Graham said there is a sorority to fit every personality, whether it be through WPA or another Panhellenic organization on campus. She said her advice to women interested in informal recruitment is to stay open-minded during the process.
"I love and believe in the spirit of fraternity very much," Graham said. "I think that, if done correctly, the fraternity and sorority experience could be the premier leadership experience you can have, because you have something that brings you together."