by Cindy Kane, Director of Student Involvement and Leadership
(originally posted to The SA Blog at http://thesabloggers.org/2011/02/lessons-from-sorority-recruitment/)
I have recently confronted the realization that it has been twenty years since I participated in sorority recruitment as a student at Lafayette College. Given most of the readers on this blog probably assume I am 24, you know my secret of graduating from college at 5 years old.
Our campus is buzzing with Spring recruitment plans and just being with our student leaders helped me to recall some great memories with my sisters in Alpha Gamma Delta. When I was in college I spent a lot of time on recruitment activities with the chapter through various leadership roles, so sorority recruitment time always reminds me of the good, bad and YIKES! times we spent together. As a sorority member it’s easy to understand the recruitment process after it happens once, but I can only imagine the experience of those not connected with sorority life to observe these events in action. What in the world could all that clapping, singing, intense discussion and matching clothing have to do with student learning?
When I reflect on my co-curricular learning as a college student, I realize now that the preparation and implementation of recruitment programs had a huge impact. I wanted to share some of my learning lessons:
- There’s nothing quite like a sincere welcome to a group. Since my sorority days, I have been part of enough meetings and committees where I have felt like an outsider or “new person” and haven’t been brought in. I don’t care how old you are. It’s so valuable to have someone willing to “bring you in” and educate you about the standards, history and culture of a group. I appreciate those who have mastered it and use it to bring others into the fold.
- Remembering names is a skill you can work on. When you are meeting hundreds of women at lightning speed, you have to learn to remember names and details about people. Tricks for remembering names have paid off immensely in my work life and in my personal life as well. Even though I’m an extrovert by nature, sorority recruitment taught me to focus on the individuals just one at a time and the value of remembering names and details for the next conversation.
- Tasks and vision must connect. Motivating peers to do most anything is tough as a student leader, but experience as recruitment chair taught me how to clarify the “big picture” and help groups to work with the vision at the forefront. Writing hundreds of names on index cards (old school!) wasn’t all that much fun, but I learned how to help others focus on the fact that each step along that process would bring us closer to a great group of new women for our organization. I think this experience gave me great preparation for supervision roles today.
- Diversity is a pay-it-forward value. Our advisors and chapter leaders taught us the impact that diversity has on a group. They made this intentional membership education so that our voting decisions would be as open as possible to allow for the broadest possible diversity in our organization. Their teaching set a great example of how important it is to have open conversations and diversity education. Today, I am better equipped to teach where it rather than losing patience with people who may lack information or who may still be searching for positive role modeling.
- We all answer to someone. Back then, we were given recruitment rules from the Panhellenic, rules from our national organization, instructions from our faculty advisor, tips from our alumni and directives from any traveling consultants that may have visited campus. It seemed then as if everyone was telling us what to do and that we answered to about twelve different “bosses.” Life is still that way, as I’m taking direction from just as many places with even more “high stakes” involved. I remember thinking it would get easier “in the real world.” Now I realize that accountability is everywhere and that everyone answers to someone.
Sorority recruitment was a whirlwind, but when I think back on all of the life lessons I gained from that experience these are among my most used today. When I was a potential new member back then, sorority life looked like all kinds of fun that might pay off in some way in the end. Today, I look back and realize that the 18-year-old woman who made the decision to get involved during all that craziness made one of the best educational decisions for life and leadership in the future.
I’d love to hear from both sorority members and everyone else too. Let’s talk about recruitment!
We had a great time with the sorority recruitment activities this week and this weekend. Despite Mother Nature and her bad weather plans, student leaders from our Panhellenic designed great opportunities for our students to meet members of BSU’s three great sororities.
Enjoy a few photos here and on our Facebook page later this weekend! Congrats to all the sororities on successful events and best wishes to the newest members of the BSU Fraternity and Sorority Community as they begin their journey through membership development!
by Maribeth Johnson-Flakes, Associate Director
Sure, I know this morning it was -2 degrees but I found myself warm from the excitement for what is to come just one week from today. Fraternity & Sorority recruitment season is here and I am reenergized with the excitement of new members joining our community. Here are just a few reasons why I love Fraternity & Sorority Life at BSU and think you should check it out:
- Fraternities and sororities offer a support system of brothers/sisters who have shared values. Our members are the family you have on campus. Members encourage each other to do well and support each other when times get tough. College isn’t always easy, but it helps to have a group to help you along the way and celebrate your successes!
- BSU Greek life is growing! With 2 new organizations on campus this year there are even more opportunities for BSU students to find their niche and get involved. Never has there been a better time to be Greek at BSU!
- Being Greek is not just for your college years, it is a lifetime commitment. Some of my greatest experiences have been as an alumna of my sorority. I love the opportunities to meet other Greeks across the country collegiate or alumni because I know we share a bond that not everyone has had the opportunity to share.
- When I hear people say, “I’m not that type”, I totally understand. Greeks ARE looking for a type, it’s just not the one you may be thinking of. Fraternity and sorority life is looking for members who excel academically (we have GPA requirements to join and stay active), we are looking for members who want to help the community through hands on service and raising money for charities we are passionate about like St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and the Susan G Komen Foundation for breast cancer research, and we are looking for students who wish to be leaders on our campus.
I hope you will check out some of the fraternity events or register for sorority recruitment. There is no obligation to join just by going to some events and meeting people. It’s a new year, why not try something new? Check out BSU fraternity and sorority life! Go Bears!