It’s the beginning of the fall semester here at the College of William and Mary, which can only mean one thing: time for sorority and fraternity recruitment. All that I can say is that it’s all Greek to me.
As an outsider to recruitment, it all seems extremely complicated and stressful.
For sorority recruitment, I see students who are part of recruitment literally rushing around campus to attend the weekend-long events and use the few hours to spare for classwork. Even girls who are already members of their chapters have busy weekends due to meetings, events and voting after rounds of recruitment. My roommate is already in a sorority, and she did not come back to the dorm this past Friday until 2:30 a.m. due to the all-day event and voting!
Unlike what I previously thought, fraternity recruitment is actually much different than sorority recruitment. Instead of spending each day at different events for open houses and information sessions about each chapter’s philanthropy like the sororities, the fraternities host more social events for potential new members to attend.
I have very little point of reference for fraternities, but their method does make a lot of sense to me. On the surface, it may seem shallow and based solely off partying, but in reality, they may actually get a better picture of the guys they are accepting into their organizations than sororities. They are actually testing the guys to see how they act in social situations. For example, they can see if they know how to interact with people and if they know how to treat people with respect. They will most likely get a better idea of their new members than sororities, because it is much easier to put up a pleasing facade when speaking one-on-one with a sister and less so when at social events like a date party.
The general consensus that I have heard from girls, especially last year in my freshman hall, is that recruitment is absolutely terrible. They are being constantly judged, and each day ends with the sisters voting for who they want to invite back. For some, it can mean intense feelings of rejection out of nowhere. Also, everyone is exhausted.
While fraternity recruitment seems very relaxed on the exterior, fraternities and sororities are not all that different. Either way, a lot is on the line.
Fraternities structure their voting differently than sororities, but I am sure that the guys on campus experience stresses of their own.
For example, male students here at the College cannot get into any fraternity parties if they are not a brother for that specific fraternity, due to the liability of letting in guys who they do not know who could cause trouble for the party. That means that their social lives are completely dependent on if and where potential new members are accepted.
A lot of conversation about recruitment circulates around the traditions and seemingly ridiculous rules and regulations. Some call them old fashioned. Others call them part of the college experience. I can see both sides. In regard to recruitment, I want the traditions to change because I see my friends taking the rejection personally, since it is often based off personal conversations, and I want the system to be less judgmental or based off exteriors. However, I also understand that if people do not like the traditions, then they do not have to join.
I am just glad that the College has a fairly small percentage of Fraternity and Sorority Life among students compared to other universities, so students can actually decide for themselves if they want to join or not. I know that other students at different schools do not have the same luxuries if they want to make friends.
I do not want to bad mouth Fraternity and Sorority Life, and I do not think that my article will change anything about this nationwide phenomenon. I understand the strength of Fraternity and Sorority Life and their histories. I see the importance of traditions and uniformity, but I generally think these groups are too demanding of students. The intensity of recruitment should be adjusted to actually accommodate students and make them hate themselves a little less at the start of the semester. Sororities and fraternities have to be more understanding of students’ other obligations. It is incredibly taxing to expect all potential new members and existing members to sacrifice their Friday, Saturday and Sunday for the entire day for two weekends straight at the beginning of what could be their first semester on campus.
I hope that recruitment will become more student friendly in the future, despite age-old traditions of Fraternity and Sorority Life.
Email Alyssa Slovin at firstname.lastname@example.org.