Sorority recruitment numbers hit record high
Published: Monday, February 20, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, February 21, 2012 03:02
When senior Kaitlyn Mattson and junior Laura Simpler, who are in charge of Panhellenic recruitment, ordered 1,025 T-shirts for sorority recruitment this spring, they thought they would have a surplus. As it turned out, they barely had enough.
"We thought we had over-prepared but we just made it," Mattson said.
More than 960 young women registered for formal sorority recruitment this spring, the highest recorded number of students, according to Adam Cantley, assistant director for fraternity and sorority life.
"By the end of the fall term they had over 1,100 women on their email interest list," Cantley stated in an email message.
Mattson said Pan Hellenic prepares for an increase in potential new members during recruitment each year, but they expected 800 girls to participate in recruitment this spring.
She said the chapters promoted themselves in the fall at Student Activities Night, open houses and with expos in the Trabant University Center, as they do each year.
"There's not a week that goes by when a chapter isn't hosting an event," Mattson said. "The Greek letters are all over campus."
Mattson said she thinks the reason for the high number of potential new members this year was the large freshman class of 3,915 students.
Cantley said looking back through 2007, the largest previous recruitment was in 2010, with more than 750 young women starting the process. He said 200 more women came out for recruitment than last year, during which the number of interested students actually decreased. Mattson said this was due to the university raising the minimum required GPA to participate in recruitment from a 2.4 to a 2.5.
"We added more events to the first weekend of recruitment to accommodate for the numbers," Cantley said. "We created extra recruitment groups, so that less women were in each group. We encouraged chapters to look at their room layouts and change floor plans to allow for more space for women."
He said all 10 chapters host events which focus on general information, sisterhood and philanthropy. He said throughout the process, chapters select women to invite back to events and the new members rank the chapters they want to return to in order of preference.
Cantley said the department uses a mutual selection process to match women to the appropriate chapters. On the final day of recruitment, women receiving a bid for membership will be invited to begin the new member process for that organization.
To accommodate the 960 women going through this process, and Greek Life administrators also worked with Clayton Hall officials to secure more space and larger rooms, and increased the number of bus pickups to allow more time for women to arrive.
Freshman Randi Polizzotto said she and many others did not benefit from the bus schedule. She said freshmen living in Rodney were forced to walk home many times because the chartered buses did not arrive frequently enough at Clayton Hall.
"There was not enough looping during the awkward times, just the regular times," Polizzotto said. "And most people actually had the awkward times."
Mattson said although chapter members learned about the high number of potential new members the Sunday before recruitment began, they were unfazed.
"To manage 960 girls is quite a feat," she said. "We really needed all hands on deck and everyone really stepped up."
Cantley said less than five percent of women participating in recruitment are traditionally released from the chapters at the end of recruitment. He said those who do not finish elect to withdraw on their own for various reasons, but he has not seen an unusual number withdraw this year.
Freshman Kelly Nash said she participated in recruitment and noticed how many women dropped out after the first few days.
"I saw girls that day, when they got their schedules, crying," Nash said.
She said many of her friends on her floor in Harrington Hall went out for recruitment as well, and although she was intimidated by the large number of potential new members, she said it was an enjoyable experience overall.
Polizzotto said she also noticed many participants drop out early on in the process and felt too many students were focused on the names instead of the quality of the sororities. However, she said she's glad it's finally over.
"It was an emotional roller coaster, and we're all sleep-deprived," she said. "You literally just have to trust the system and it'll be rewarding in the end, I've heard."
Mattson said 20 percent of students are currently involved in Greek life on campus, and the number rises each year. She said Panhellenic takes the trend into consideration, and continues to prepare for the number of potential new members to increase in the future.
"We will do everything we can to keep it the way it's always been," Mattson said.