WPA recruitment adjusts process to prioritize emotional wellbeing of new members

Ellie Ito | Staff Reporter

The Women’s Panhellenic Association implemented several changes to its spring 2020 recruitment earlier this month, including lowering the registration fee, spreading out the schedule and changing the bid day process to allow for increased emotional support.

Previously, women received their bids during a ceremony in Graham Chapel, a setup that many women said lacked privacy, especially for those who were unhappy with their bids.

“We had Recruitment Counselors, trained and disaffiliated upperclassmen sorority women, hand them their bids personally and be there as someone to support whatever emotion followed,” WPA Vice President of Recruitment Counselors Megan Lemaire wrote in a statement to Student Life. “Therefore, when the women got to Graham Chapel, the anticipation of the envelope is gone and ideally replaced with the excitement that is to follow once joining a chapter.”

87.7% of women who participated in Women’s Panhellenic Association (WPA) Recruitment received a bid, a slight increase from 86.3% in 2019. Of the 431 women who signed up to participate in recruitment, 46 voluntarily withdrew from the process and 7 women were not invited back to any chapters.

Registration fees for this year’s recruitment were set at $75 between Sept. 1 and Oct. 31, increasing to $100 after Oct. 31. In 2019, registration fees started at $100, increasing to $125 after Oct. 31.

“I’m proud of the changes we implemented this past year in making the recruitment process more financially accessible than it has been in previous years,” Vice President of Recruitment senior Elana Goldenberg wrote in a statement to Student Life. “While it isn’t perfect, it’s definitely a step in the right direction.”

Sophomore Beth Wiesinger said that she was pleasantly surprised by the recruitment process.

“Being a first generation college student, Latinx, and a sophomore, I went into recruitment thinking of it as more of a social experiment,” Wiesinger said. “I felt as though I had already found spaces that aligned with various aspects of my identity and I wasn’t sure Greek life would do the same. I was told about Lambda Q and Sisters of Color right from the beginning, and I realized that I could just be myself.”

While some students were satisfied with the conclusion of the recruitment process, others felt differently.

“I know some of my friends received bids such that they only had one option,” Wiesinger said. “I don’t know that anything could be done about that but I definitely feel that women should have multiple opportunities at joining the sorority they want.”

Others expressed hesitation regarding participation in Greek system for various reasons, including the stereotypically heteronormative culture, issues of sexual assault, fear of not fitting in, financial concerns and more.

“To women considering registering for recruitment, expect the hype and high energy, but also realize that no one is like that all the time in real life,” freshman Hannah Chay said. “It’s also important to remember that Greek Life at Washington University is very different from the big state school experience. Here, the emphasis should be more so on fit than the chapter’s national acclaim.”

Amidst the stress, high emotion and celebration of the recruitment process, WPA representatives said they strived to create a welcoming environment for potential new members (PNM’s) and active members.

“I personally had so much fun at Bid Day and felt that the energy from Recruitment Counselors, Actives and PNM’s,” Lemaire wrote. “It was reflective of the change and intention of a positive Panhellenic community.”

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