Recruitment for Panhellenic chapters can rock, or it can be a nightmare.
All sororities face some of the same pitfalls and avenues to success.
But Panhellenic sororities also face their own unique set of challenges, and this largely has to do with whether their recruitment embodies Panhellenic values.
Every sorority chapter is beholden to someone, whether that be their national organization, their alumnae, university officials, or—this holds true for all sisters—themselves.
Panhellenic chapters should think about how they present themselves during recruitment, and how that affects the image of their college’s Panhellenic association. Strategies to keep with National Panhellenic Conference values will benefit your chapter and bring you quality sisters.
Why? Because the NPC has been crafting these values for years, and they’re proven to provide a positive sorority experience.
According to the National Panhellenic Conference’s 2019 Manual of Information:
“College Panhellenics and individual chapters are responsible for ensuring recruitment events are values-based and reflective of the NPC sorority experience. A values-based approach should be used with all recruitment styles.”
With a strong focus on recruitment, Panhellenic chapters must recognize that extending bids to new members is ground zero of building sorority greatness.
Whatever efforts your chapter makes are meaningless without the right sisters to pull them off.
Giving bids to the right sisters helps not only your chapter, but all sorority chapters on your campus.
Non-Greeks have the unfortunate habit of stereotyping sisters based on the worst apples of the bunch. However, you can shine up that image and show the brighter side of sorority life.
OmegaFi can help. Here are some of our top Panhellenic Recruitment Tips.
Fix Values Problems Before Recruitment Starts
Your Panhellenic association will guide you toward a values-driven rush, but values don’t start and end with recruitment.
If you try to fake it just to play up your chapter’s image during rush events, you’re doing yourself and your sorority a disservice.
Fix values problems before they get out of hand, and do it well before rush week.
"Recruitment is easily one of your chapter’s top priorities as a Panhellenic member group"
First things first: Put the right sister in the standards chair position, and make sure the president and other executive officers guide her and back her up.
The standards chair should build a network of support from those who make and enforce the rules. This includes people like:
academic standards officials
your national sorority
the Office of Greek Life
your Panhellenic association
alumnae advisors and the housing corporation
anyone else you feel would help enforce positive standards for the chapter
Hopefully you won’t need most of these people most of the time.
But it’s better to be safe than sorry when it comes to upholding chapter values and your reputation on campus.
The standards chair should also closely coordinate with risk management, the house manager or “house mom,” the academics chair, the president, and yes, the recruitment chair.
Remember, if you show bad judgement and poor values on campus, it’s a hard image to shrug off.
No Band-Aid will bring the right kinds of members come recruitment time.
Instead, make sure that Panhellenic values, national sorority values, university values, and chapter values always align. No exceptions.
It’s about Potential New Members, Not You
Some chapters get so wrapped up in music, decorations, food, skits, and parties—in other words, showing off—that they miss out on crucial moments where they could’ve learned more about a potential new member.
There are things you may feel you have to do to compete with other chapters for the best sisters of the bunch.
The problem is that many of those things that amp up your chapter may be good for Greek Week, but they’ll have a negative impact on recruiting.
The difference is clear: Greek Week is about being the best of the best. Recruiting is about bringing the best of the best into your sisterhood.
That requires you to focus on PNMs, not yourself.
How do you achieve this?
First, go against your worst instincts and cut down partying with loud music and massive crowds.
Also, if your Panhellenic doesn’t already expect a dry rush . . .
CUT DRINKING FROM ALL RUSH EVENTS.
You want clearheaded, values-based conversation with PNMs. You want to get to know who they are, so you can make the right decisions on who you’ll extend a bid.
The NPC also recommends the following:
Cut costumes or matching outfits. PNMs want to meet sisters as individuals.
Cut or take focus off skits, as this gives more time for conversation.
Gifts and favors for PNMs are a no-no. They don’t help and send the wrong message.
Focus on getting to know PNMs over everything else. Eliminate distractions.
Follow any other recommendations or guidelines from your Panhellenic association, and you can begin to ensure a quality rush.
Don’t Break the Bank Budgeting Your Panhellenic Recruitment
As we said, your instinct is probably to compete with other chapters for the best new sisters.
Sure, a little healthy competition is good. It brings everybody up. But when you go overboard, you’re going to keep going bigger and bigger, and you’ll put too much stress on the chapter budget.
You can eliminate parts of the recruitment budget that put a financial burden on your members or chapter.
Consider cutting: costumes and matching clothing, excessive decorations, hiring expensive DJs and caterers, and PNM gifts.
Include any donated goods related to rush in the budget ahead of time, so they don’t put you in the red later.
To ensure a streamlined and well-managed recruitment budget, consider using sorority budgeting software. Recruitment is easily one of your chapter’s top priorities as a Panhellenic member group, and financial management can make the difference.
When possible, opt for less expensive costs that drive recruitment toward quiet, productive conversations with PNMs so you can make your bids count.
Once you do make your decisions, make sure you follow Panhellenic guidelines for submitting paperwork and other deadlines.
Are you a member of a Panhellenic sorority chapter? If so, what are some of your best Panhellenic recruitment tips? Let’s talk rush in the comments below.