Ella Kelsey – Staff Writer
Here on campus, sorority and fraternity recruitment is in full swing. Gustavus Greek life aims to deconstruct ingrained expectations of sororities and fraternities with our campus’s unique chapters, and create viable communities of growth, support, and change.
Early this week, sorority and fraternity recruitment began its week-long process. On Monday and Tuesday, potential new members (referred to as PNMs) interacted with each of the four sorority or fraternity “chapters”. The fraternity recruitment process is more of an informal open house style. For the sororities, the process is more formal. Each of the four sororities is stationed in a room. PNMs spend twenty minutes in each room, rotating every five minutes. This way they get to experiment and get a feel for which group they may fit with the best.
When asked what they look for in members, Livija Shaeffer, president of the Tri Sigma Sorority, said, “we’re not looking for anything in particular. We’re looking for people that can fit our values and are interested in Greek life for the right reasons… they want to do community service, they want to meet new people, they’re not here to look cute on instagram… we want them to actually be interested and share a passion [for what we’re doing],” Shaeffer said. She makes it clear that sorority members are not just girls getting together to have fun, but good people who are ready to take on serious commitments and make a difference in the world surrounded by people they feel truly connected with.
After initially meeting with each of the sororities on Monday and Tuesday, PNMs have a break from the process on Wednesday. They will receive communication from sororities or fraternities that have chosen to invite them back for Thursday’s process. On Thursday, PNMs will meet with the two chapters which they received an invitation to return to. If PNMs have more than two invitations at this point, it’s time they narrow it down – they can only visit with two on Thursday. This is the night where potential new members really start to decide which group is the right choice for them.
“Each sorority is an amazing, fantastic sorority; it’s more of finding the best fit for you.” Schaeffer said. Maddie Sweeney, vice president of operations for Tri Sigma and president of Panhellenic, the board which oversees the two national sorority chapters, echoes Livija’s sentiment.
“I look for someone who is their true, genuine self and just has that sense of comfort and relief when they walk in our room.” Sweeney said. She stresses that finding the right group to be a part of is more than anything about finding that sense of home, finding the group of people you really feel you belong to. She adds that the recruitment process is about continuing a legacy, making sure there are enough people to carry it on, and keeping Greek life alive.
After the final exploratory meetings on Thursday, PNMs list out their choices of either sorority or fraternity chapters, first to last. In a matching process, sorority/fraternity chapters examine their own choices, and the PNMs’. By Friday night, the chapters will have made their final selections and extended their bids. A “bid” is an official offer for membership. PNMs have until Saturday at noon to accept.
Once the recruitment process is finished and bids are accepted, members go through the new member period, and then they are inducted. The induction process is a different, special, and clandestine rite of each chapter that consists of varying traditions. Post induction, the new member education period lasts about a month, where newly welcomed members are integrated into their sorority or fraternity through different informative/bonding processes.
Andrea Junso, the Director of Campus Activities at Gustavus, elaborates that the main goal of the recruitment process is not to be selective, exclusive, or limiting. Junso hopes that both members and potential new members keep an open mind in the process, and to have deep consideration on both sides before deciding the best fit.
Junso speaks warmly of Greek life here at Gustavus and the many improvements they’ve made in the past few years and continue to make. Junso takes pride in the students here and the “unique and amazing” communities they continue to build, one new member at a time.