As new students begin their adventure on any college campus, they face new challenges, a new place, and the beginning of a whole new chapter of their lives. While they come from different places and backgrounds, they all arrive with one common goal: success. Each student defines college success differently. For some, it may be making the Dean’s list, achieving a 4.0, or graduating with honors. For other students, the number of parties attended or the number of friends in their university Facebook network may characterize success. The truth is that social networking is a key to success that may rival class attendance for some.
Some students may choose to try and attend the same college or university as their friends while others may seek to branch out and explore higher education independently. Whether or not one chooses to arrive with an entourage, college happens; new friendships are forged while others grow stronger or in some cases, fade away. It can be a time to meet a future bridesmaid, business partner, or friend for life. Few college students would argue that socializing is an important aspect of the college experience, and that there are a multitude of ways to do it. One well-known method of becoming an active participant in college life and socialization is by “Going Greek”.
Every fall thousands of students choose to attend recruitment, or “rush” as it is more commonly known. On some campuses, recruitment may take place in both the spring and the fall, and on others it may depend on whether one is hoping to join a sorority or a fraternity. Every college campus is unique, just as every Greek chapter is unique. That is one of the tidbits of information that a potential new member should keep in mind when participating in the recruitment process. So what is recruitment all about…and what is a “potential new member”?
When you first think of Greek life, what do you think about? Was the answer Animal House? Or perhaps it is a more recent portrayal of Greek life- the TV show Greek. While there are a few similarities between real Greek life and what our assumptions about Greek life are, the majority of what people assume about those of us who have worn Greek letters is likely false. So before you choose to take the plunge, or at least meet a few chapter members, put that all away!
These articles will hopefully introduce you to the ins and outs of the recruitment process of National Panhellenic Conference (NPC) organizations. NPC was founded in 1902, and is an umbrella organization of the 26 national women’s fraternities (typically called sororities). While it is unlikely that all 26 organizations have chapters (individual university based groups of each national organization) on your university campus, they may have a large number of them. Before going through recruitment, it is a good idea to learn a bit about them and what recruitment entails at your campus.
Because I went through sorority recruitment, and was a member of my university’s Panhellenic Council, I like helping other women understand what the recruitment process is all about and what Greek life has to offer to not just students, but also to the university and the surrounding community. As with any campus activity or organization, it is fair to say that Greek life is not for everyone. Every student finds his or her niche on campus. Even if you are not sure that you will “fit” Greek life, going through the recruitment process is a great way to meet other women on campus. Additionally, the majority of those other women who are trying to remember each chapter’s philanthropy and colors right along with you are new students too. So even if you do not choose to pledge, at the end of recruitment you may have met someone who can help you get involved with another organization that you are interested in, someone who can explain how to get to Target, or at the very least, someone who will be in a few of your classes.
Now that you have gotten some information about Greek life, it is time todo your homework. Before you make the mistake of thinking that the next four years of your life will look like a scene from a movie or TV show, make sure that you take some time to learn about what Greek life is all about on your university’s campus. Individual chapters will differ from campus to campus, so it is important to learn about the chapters you could potentially join.