As fall sorority recruitment came to an end in October, students who completed the process advanced from potential new members (PNMs) to new members and will soon be initiated into their chosen chapters. However, some students were surprised by the emotional and physical struggles they faced in the process to get there.
“I didn’t think it was going to be as long of days as it was or as terrifying as it was,” agricultural and environmental plant sciences sophomore Emily Margetta said. Margetta completed the recruitment process in Fall 2018.
“I thought we were just going to go through house tours and talk to some of the girls, and that it would be very chill, but it definitely feels more like a job interview, ” Margetta said.
Students voiced concerns about the lengthy time commitment sorority recruitment requires, as events can span the entire day, starting around 8 a.m. and ending around 9 p.m. Since the process takes place within the first two weeks of classes, it can be overwhelming for freshmen who are just beginning to adjust to college life.
Liberal studies freshman Genevieve Kessler dropped out of recruitment after the first day, partially because she said she felt it was too difficult to balance with her academics.
“I had a speech due on Monday, and I was reciting and practicing my speech in between the houses,” Kessler said.
Lead Coordinator of Fraternity & Sorority Life and Interfraternity Council (IFC) Advisor Shawnna Smith said that the council is always trying to improve the process and has considered increasing conversation time. Smith said PNM’s have voiced frustration over the lack of time given for conversations with members of each house, a process that can be crucial in helping PNM’s decide which sorority they want to join.
“We want to give them more opportunities to get to know more members, so they can see if it really is a good fit,” Smith said. “I think one of the challenges with this recruitment process is that it’s so short, and they have to make really quick decisions on brief conversations.”
To help combat the problem during fraternity recruitment, IFC said they planned to span rush over two weekends in order to create a more flexible schedule for students.
Students claim conversations are not only brief, but are also limited to topics which many feel resemble surface level questions, such as a PNM’s major, which dorm they live in or if they are enjoying life in San Luis Obispo.
Some students also told Mustang News they feel as though recruitment can be superficial because PNM’s are encouraged to wear certain clothes that many said they do not typically wear.
“We go over what we should wear and how we should do our hair and makeup, and even though it’s not technically required – it is required,” Margetta said. “It just feels kind of superficial, like I’m not truly putting my face out there. Yes, I look like this sometimes, but on a day-to-day basis, this is not who I am.”
Kessler said she remembered watching PNM’s touching up their appearances between each house.
“Whenever there was a mirror in one of the houses or a reflection, we’d just be looking at ourselves,” Kessler said. “Like that’s so shallow, and it’s none of the girls’ faults – I did it myself. But it’s how that process makes you feel.”
Despite these experiences, students said they enjoyed getting to know other PNM’s in the recruitment process and seeing them around campus. They said some changes they would like to see are shorter days, expanding recruitment over a longer period of time, more bonding activities and more personal conversations and interactions.
“I wish I could tell people who are upset about being dropped or are about to rush [that] this has no reflection on your personality at all, you know?” Kessler said. “If you want to do it, that’s awesome for you, if you’re gonna push through it. But try not to let it affect you emotionally or mentally.”