Sorority recruitment process receives facelift

Puneet Kollipara

Women’s formal sorority recruitment got a facelift this year, as the Greek Life Office implemented a new recruitment policy and improved its marketing program.

According to Director of the Washington University Greek Life Office (GLO) Ryan-Jasen Henne, the new policy, called Positive Panhellenic Contact, softens previous restrictions on interaction between affiliated and non-affiliated women during the recruitment process.

As part of the policy, unaffiliated women may interact more freely with affiliated women during recruitment.

The new policies states that conversation is limited to discussing the affiliated woman’s own organization in a positive manner, as well as sorority recruitment and Greek life in general.

While affiliated women may talk about their own groups in a positive manner, they may not discuss other specific groups.

“What we’re doing is making sure that people have a good sense of what it means to be a woman in a sorority,” said Henne. “We’ve already found that it’s been much more successful for us and that the Panhellenic experience is definitely more in place than in years past.”

The new policy was passed down by the National Panhellenic Conference (NPC), the national umbrella organization for 26 international sororities and women’s fraternities.

The governing board for all of the University’s women’s groups voted to go forward with Positive Panhellenic Contact last spring.

The Panhellenic Executive Board, which is the University’s chapter council of the NPC, and one representative from every women’s group on campus comprised the governing board that voted on the new policy.

Prior to the new policy’s implementation, the previous NPC standard that the University adhered to disallowed any sort of interaction between unaffiliated and affiliated women.

According to Lucy Morlan, GLO coordinator for chapter development, the old policy was meant to keep the playing field level and to help interested women get a more complete overview of Greek life so they could make a more informed decision, but it sometimes sent bad signals.

“The rule about not talking was supposed to help with that, but sometimes it gave off a bad feeling of, ‘Well, they’re not interested in me and they don’t like me because they won’t talk to me,'” said Morlan. “Our compromise for that is making sure that they’re talking about the entire Greek system and promoting the Panhellenic side of it, which is what women’s formal recruitment is supposed to be about.”

Greek life warmly welcomed the new NPC policy recommendation.

“At Wash. U., we are very much embracing this policy, because we truly think it’s going to have a more positive impact on our system, showing everyone that although Greek life is not for everyone, if you can find a home in our system, we’re really happy to take you,” said Henne.

In addition to Positive Panhellenic Contact, the Greek Life Office has improved its marketing program to help reach out to interested women and better inform them about the recruitment process.

Gamma Chis, a group of affiliated women who disaffiliate from their chapters every year to serve as impartial recruitment counselors for unaffiliated women, and the recruitment directors on the Panhellenic Executive Board are holding more information sessions and posting advertisements around campus.

“We’re fortunate that the leadership of the Panhellenic Executive Council is doing amazing things, that they are really strong women, that they’re independent women, and that they living up to the values of arˆté, which is the Greek standards and values statement,” said Henne. “Having women who are consistently doing what they say they’re going to do is a true testament to what it means to be a woman in one of our sororities.”

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