Reflecting on Recruitment: a Sorority Perspective

Amanda Maltin, Opinions Section Co-Editor

 

Over the past two years, young people have been captivated by content online describing the process of sorority recruitment, or “rush.” 

On Tik Tok, the videos posted by potential new members of sororities were so popular that they catapulted young women into internet stardom overnight. “Rush Tok” has given insight into the well-known but deeply misunderstood practice of recruiting new members into a chapter.  Some would say that it  has glamorized the sorority recruitment experience and sets a dangerous expectation for women looking to the internet for insight on joining a chapter.  

At Bucknell University, there is a rich tradition of Greek life. In 1855, shortly after the opening of the university, charters of Greek organizations started to pop up and have been a huge part of the Bucknell experience ever since. Every year, sororities and fraternities recruit new members into pledge classes based on individuals’ social, philanthropic and academic characteristics. 

Recruitment for sororities is a formal process, guided by rules and regulations decided on by national organizations. There are three rounds: sisterhood round, philanthropy round and preference round. These span over the course of about a week, and the process is concluded on “bid day.”

Recently, “bid day” was celebrated, and potential new members who went through the sorority recruitment process were offered membership into one of the seven sorority chapters on Bucknell’s campus. But, is the process of joining a sorority as glamorous as it has been depicted online? 

New and initiated members of sororities across chapters answer that question with a resounding no. I interviewed members of three different sorority chapters to get a little more insight into the process.  

The general consensus: bid day is an exciting tradition and highlight of the week, however, the effort that it necessitates makes the week leading up to the day, ‘work week’, takes away from the overall joy of the experience.  The uncomfortability and pressure that is put on sorority women to ‘perform’ under the social pressure of campus as well as the strict standards set by the national chapters of sororities makes what is supposed to be a fun experience of building sisterhood a difficult social puzzle.  Having to be critical of fellow classmates and potential ‘sisters’ throughout the rush process seems antithetical to the idea of a sisterhood built on the principles of community and mutual respect, however, Bucknell chapters are not the ones making that the way things have to be, it is a national issue. 

 

Sororities are, without a doubt, a large presence on Bucknell’s campus.  They facilitate social events and engage in important philanthropic work.  But, overwhelmingly, students question the process of sorority recruitment and its exclusionary nature.  Clearly, there is more of a psychological toll associated with the sorority experience than is advertised on social media platforms.    

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