Noemi Khachian is a communication studies sophomore and Mustang News opinion columnist. The views expressed in this column do not reflect the viewpoints and editorial coverage of Mustang News.
Despite having the same goal, there are many discrepancies between the Interfraternity Council and Panhellenic Council in recruiting new members. I don’t think one organization is better than the other. Each has their own strengths and weaknesses. However, I believe Panhellenic’s structure of recruitment is one from which IFC can learn. As a proud member of greek life myself, I respect each organization and the way they decide to recruit new members. Still, it is unfortunate that Panhellenic and IFC don’t work together to create an equal standard for everyone going through recruitment.
The process of Panhellenic recruitment begins when potential new members (PNMs) are assigned to a recruitment counselor (RC), a sorority member who is disassociated from her sorority to serve as an unbiased guide through the recruitment process. She is a trustworthy third-party who gives friendly advice and moral support. Each RC leads a group of 10-12 PNMs that will go through the recruitment process together. Each PNM receives a handbook that contains details about each sorority, including the cost per quarter, their motto, philanthropy and GPA requirement. The handbook also contains an explicit schedule of the times they are expected to be at sorority events—house tours, sisterhood day, philanthropy day, preference day, and bid night.
A schedule? A handbook? A recruitment counselor? RC groups? None of these are available for IFC PNMs. There is no one to remind them what time an event is happening and no one to serve as their unbiased guide. But don’t worry: unlike their Panhellenic counterparts, the fraternities don’t have a list of recruits who are expected to attend each event. While Panhellenic recruits are required to go to all 11 houses at their assigned time to give each house a fair chance, IFC recruits may choose which house they do or do not visit. If a Panhellenic PNM fails to visit all the houses, she can potentially be dropped from the process entirely. IFC doesn’t enforce this rule.
This confuses me. Why do Panhellenic PNMs have to go to each event while IFC PNMs do not? Panhellenic enforces this rule for the benefit of everyone involved, whether it’s a house looking for a PNM or a PNM looking for a potential new house. Rather than allowing PNMs to base their decisions off what they have heard about each sorority house, this forces them to consider their personal experiences at each house. I believe IFC should implement this rule to ensure recruits explore every house, meet every member residing within a fraternity and know all crucial information about it.
Instead of glossy handbooks, fraternities hand out “rush cards,” which contain the schedule of events for that specific house. The Panhellenic handbook is far more elaborate, convenient and informative. The PNMs can find all the important information in one place, along with beautiful, colored pictures. It is obvious that Panhellenic puts in more money and time to create these elaborate handbooks and I think IFC should try to implement a similar idea. They should create something more than just a simple rush card and coordinate all the fraternities’ schedules for each event throughout rush week.
The differences between each organization become even more apparent once Rush Week starts. Panhellenic PNMs attend House Tours (Day 1) and Sisterhood (Day 2), a 10- and 12-hour day with little to no breaks. Every event is planned out minute by minute. All the sororities have the same pre-determined time frame for each day and event. If a house goes over schedule, they are fined. But since nothing is formalized within IFC, it’s entirely up to each chapter to decide how long they wish to host an event. The longest day for IFC recruits is four hours (Day 1), with an average day being only 2 to 3 hours. IFC recruits may come and go as they please within the given time frame. Events become “by invitation” only towards the end of the recruitment process, whereas Panhellenic is invite-only every day after the first.
Transportation can be troubling as well. Panhellenic recruits walk with their RC group or, for the farther houses, pile into royal coach buses to reach the location of the next event. But IFC recruits must rely on catching a ride to those far events because a bus is not provided. What if an IFC recruit is unable to attend an event simply because it is too far from campus and they can’t find a ride? I believe transportation should be provided by IFC to ensure that their PNMs can meet with each house.
Luckily, the first day of IFC recruitment is held on campus. All the houses have their own booths, lined up across Dexter lawn. Booths are arranged strategically by the each fraternity’s average GPA the previous quarter. The fraternity with the highest average GPA lines up closest to the barbeque IFC hosts and the rest follow behind based on their respective GPA. This is one way IFC rewards academic achievement. It’s also the only time all the houses are together, so recruits can spend their time as they please. Interestingly, sorority houses are never together during the course of recruitment. Also, sorry girls — no barbeque for you. Maybe someone will provide water with lemon, blueberries, or, if you’re lucky, strawberries!
Overall, IFC recruitment is much more easy-going compared to the structured recruitment of Panhellenic. Both organizations manage to successfully recruit PNMs. Yet they both fall under the umbrella of greek life. If the outcome is the same, why not recruit the same? Implementing the same rules for each organization will ensure a fairer process for all recruits, giving everyone an equal opportunity for Panhellenic and IFC life. If the two organizations learned from one another, they would create a more successful recruitment process for all.