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Alpha Chi Omega sisters (left to right) Gwendolyn B. Johnson ’08, Stephanie V. Brenman ’09, Meghana A. Limaye ’08, and Jessica Hickey ’07 chant at the Panhel Reaffiliation Ceremony in La Sala de Puerto Rico last Monday night.
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Sorority recruitment experienced a banner year, with a record 154 bids being given out to women who went through the recruitment process, a 12 percent increase over last year’s 137 bids. Most of those bids were spread out evenly among four of the five chapters.

Anna E. Massie ’07, outgoing vice-president of recruitment, said that though she could not guarantee the numbers for each chapter, Alpha Phi had the most new members, with 39 women accepting their bids. Alpha Chi Omega had 35, Kappa Alpha Theta had 36, and Sigma Kappa had 38, she said. Alpha Epsilon Phi had five new members. AEPhi was founded at MIT as a smaller chapter, said Shannon N. Nees ’07, outgoing president of the Panhellenic Association. Sorority recruitment runs for six days, with each sorority being stationed in separate rooms of the Student Center.

Women were advised during the recruitment process by 25 Panhellenic Recruitment Counselors, or Pi Rho Chis.

The first night, Information Night, gives potential new members an overview of the formal recruitment period. The next night is Welcome Night and Philanthropy Night is the subsequent evening, when women visit every sorority house and are introduced to each chapter’s philanthropy. Longer conversations happen on Sisterhood Night, Alyse Wu ’08, outgoing vice-president of recruitment programming, said, when mutual selection narrows down each woman’s choice to three sororities. The next night, Preference Night, shortens the list to a maximum of two sororities. The process culminates in Bid Day, when each woman is given only one bid.

“We matched every single person who went through Preference to a chapter,” said Wu.

Wu said that part of her job is to train the PRCs to know all of the chapters and Panhel. She said that they are also taught a counseling technique that is “unbiased and helps [potential new members] make the right choice” about what sorority to join.

PRCs must disaffiliate from their sororities during Campus Preview Weekend, all of fall term, and Independent Activities Period. They must make their best effort to keep their affiliation concealed, Wu said, but can remain active members of their sorority. During the formal recruitment period, all PRCs stayed at the Hyatt Hotel adjacent to MIT’s campus.

Leanne M. Veldhuis ’08 said that being a PRC this year made her “appreciate being part of my sorority more.” Also, it was a chance to “be able to see how recruitment is going across all chapters,” she said.

Women who went through the recruitment process did so for several reasons. Katherine A. Puckett ’10, who is now a new member of AEPhi, said that before recruitment she wasn’t sure she wanted to join anywhere but wanted to try it out and take advantage of the opportunity to explore the idea.

Laura E. Aust ’10, a new APhi member, said that a lot of her older friends loved being in a sorority and said she first became interested in joining a sorority during CPW because her host was in a sorority. She said that the “recruitment process itself was incredibly stressful,” she is happy with her decision.

This was the last Panhel spring recruitment, since this fall the sororities will transition to a fall recruitment period.