The recent changes to formal recruitment procedures implemented by sororities on campus have toned down the highly involved process. The changes comply with National Panhellenic Council’s regulations and seem to bode well for the University and student life.
For one, the new rules seem to follow a societal desire to trim excess. They eliminated recruitment skits, cut extra decorations and preference letters and established a budget cap. They also placed restrictions on noise, forbidding screaming and keeping singing or chanting at a reasonable decibel level. In addition, sorority members must keep both feet on the ground at all times–a rule that Hunt Hall’s structural integrity can appreciate.
Although the switch to “no frills” has its perks, it also raises several questions about the change itself and the recruitment procedure as a whole.
The new NPC regulations have been in place since 2003, but the University’s Panhellenic council did not adopt them until this year, citing “tradition” as an inhibiting factor. Many sorority members believe the former recruitment process involving skits, cheering and energy truly embodies the personality of a sorority. Do such tactics alone convey all there is to know about a sorority? What about the traditions of philanthropy, community service, educational programming and sisterhood? The frills emphasize the superficial aspects and stereotypes of sororities, and stripping them away should help potential new members focus on what the experience is supposed to be about.
Moreover, the restrictions associated with recruitment policy as a whole seem to stifle the personalities and characteristics of potential new members. Current members are not allowed to discuss boys, alcohol, financial status, brand names, politics or religion with potential new members during the discretionary period, according to the Bucknell University Panhellenic Association Recruitment Rules and Procedures. Such topics are a central part of one’s identity. The recruitment process is supposed to help sisters and potential new members get to know each other, but these restrictions limit the degree to which members and potential new members can actually get to know each other just as much as the glitter and shouting do.
By amending the rules for recruitment procedures, the University’s Panhellenic Council calls into question the procedures by which members are currently selected as well as the definition and purpose of a sorority. While implementing these changes, perhaps the Panhellenic Council should consider suggesting further revisions to National Panhellenic Council.
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