From boards to bid day: a look at sorority recruitment

Camryn Collier, A&C Reporter

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Boot-cut jeans, star earrings and big smiles were a staple last weekend at the Plemmons Student Union as Panhellenic recruitment started Aug. 23. 

Macie Stafford, a freshman computer information systems major, waited outside the Solarium with group 15, watching the flurry of sorority women rush by, awaiting the first round of recruitment. 

Stafford wore a light gray T-shirt with “Appalachian State Panhellenic Recruitment” on the front, the same shirt all potential new members, or PNMs, wore. Her pink highlighted hair was in two buns, and she wore purple lipstick, paired with a yellow jean skirt.

Excited and nervous, Stafford said she was most anxious to learn more about each sorority’s morals. 

Sorority recruitment began earlier this year, with fall registration opening in early June. Normally, the process starts mid-September, but began a few weeks earlier after Hurricane Florence delayed last year’s recruitment. 

  Senior exercise science major Ashlyn Lowder is the president of Alpha Phi Fraternity. She said an earlier recruitment has benefits.

“Since (registration) is earlier now, the girls don’t have time to ask people what they think. Now it’s really them coming in with an open mind, which is how it should be,” Lowder said. 

Along with Stafford, 510 other PNMs were split into 15 groups for the first round of fall recruitment, called “boards,” where they visit each of the 10 Panhellenic sororities in designated rooms in the student union. 

The process started Aug. 17 with Meet the Greeks, a cookout on Sanford Mall that helped PNMs grow familiar with Greek life. PNMs then attended an orientation on Aug. 22, where they received a “little black book” with information about the details of the recruitment process.

A few days after orientation, PMNs begin the first of four rounds, broken up over two weekends, before receiving invitations or “bids” to join a sorority. 

Through this process, PNMs and sororities narrow down their choices in a “numbers matching list,” Beller said.

It is rare, she said, for a PNM to not receive a bid at all. 

“We always tell girls to ‘trust the process,’” Beller said. 

Generally, all 10 sororities have 30 to 45 open spots. An average of 50 women drop out over the process and the numbers balance out, Lowder said. 

While most girls who go through recruitment receive a bid, it doesn’t always work out, a former sorority member said. 

“I joined it, and they were so nice during the recruitment process. But after I got in, I felt that they were very unwelcoming and not that friendly,” she said. “I thought sorority girls were happy and would be excited for a new person and want to be friends, but mostly they just stayed in their cliques and didn’t help me feel welcomed.” 

The Panhellenic community works at getting along with the entire Greek community through “pan love,” Beller said.

  This community also includes three sororities in the National Pan-Hellenic Council, which are historically African American organizations. They use a process called Membership Intake, which involves a Meet the Greeks event and an informal meeting with presentations and panels. 

Communication studies major Kenedy Singletary is president of NPHC executive board and a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc.

I’m an only child, and prior to college I never had anyone to call ‘sister.’ In April of 2018, I gained nine sisters. Joining a sorority has definitely greatly improved my college career and personal life,” Singletary wrote in an email. 

The NPHC intake process began Aug. 26, and anyone interested can fill out a form on AppSync, according to App State’s NPHC website. 

Junior childhood development major Faith Kernan, president of Alpha Delta Pi, shared her advice for PMNs going through the last stages of recruitment. 

“With recruitment, I know it can be very scary and intimidating, but we’re just as nervous. We all want to impress the girls, but we want them to feel very welcomed and want them to love Greek life at App,” Kernan said. “It’s something to be super excited about because it is just the beginning of an amazing journey.” 

The first weekend of rounds brought smiles, excitement and more space buns from Macie Stafford. 

“I actually got three hours of sleep last night, so I’m jazzed,” she said. 

Stafford said she is excited to continue going through recruitment and to find a sorority she can call “home.”