Sorority recruitment begins tomorrow with day-long activities as potential new members of MIT’s five sororities try to find the right fit. This is the first time since 2002 that sorority recruitment will occur in the fall.
During the last four years, recruitment took place at the end of the Independent Activities Period. The decision to shift recruitment to fall was made in December 2005. According to Annika S. Larsson ’08, president of the Panhellenic Association, the move was prompted by a desire to connect to first-year students. Joining a sorority offers a “support system” with “upperclassmen to help you out if you’re stressed out,” Larsson said. “It’s nice to have an extra semester of … that support system.”
A 2005 Panhel report analyzing the switch suggested that fall recruitment could boost membership. “During fall recruitment, friendships are newer and more pliable,” the report states. “Women may be more inclined to make decisions independently of their orientation friends than they were with their friends from the first semester.”
Larsson said that a spring recruitment was not as effective, since “a lot [of women] aren’t back during IAP.” “Plus, it’s nice to have Greek rush and recruitment at the same time,” she said.
Panhel activities are scheduled earlier in the day so that prospective members may still participate in fraternity activities, said Caroline J. Barker ’08, vice president of recruitment programming. Daniel S. Eads ’08, president of the Interfraternity Council, said that women will not be restricted from any IFC rush activities but will be encouraged to explore co-educational fraternity Delta Psi and take part in Panhel activities.
Sorority recruitment — a busy week of house tours, mixers, and parties — culminates on Wednesday in “Bid Night” when potential members can accept an offer to join a sorority.
Before the Greek Griller, which starts tomorrow at noon, chapters are not allowed to recruit for themselves, according to Barker.
During the first two events tomorrow and Sunday, “all potential new members go [and] can see all the sororities before they decide,” said Angela P. Wu ’08, vice president of recruitment. According to Wu, potential members will get a chance to meet with three sororities on Monday and another two on Tuesday. The selection is mutual, Barker said.
Larsson described the process as a personal one. “Sororities are value based,” she said. Potential members join sororities when they “find [a sorority’s] values in life match [their] personal ones,” Larsson said.
To help potential members find a sorority that fits, Panhel provides “recruitment counselors,” commonly known as PRCs. A PRC, or Pi Rho Chi, is a sorority sister who is de-affiliated for the period of recruitment, as well as other times during the year such as Campus Preview Weekend when potential freshmen are on campus. She serves as an “unbiased guide,” Barker said. Providing PRCs is mandated by the National Panhellenic Conference, an umbrella organization that represents most sororities.
Last year, about 250 girls signed up for recruitment, Barker said. So far, according to Barker, 226 girls have signed up although the two major sign-up days have not yet occurred.
MIT is home to five sororities: Alpha Chi Omega, Alpha Epsilon Phi, Alpha Phi, Kappa Alpha Theta, and Sigma Kappa. Fifteen to 20 percent of women in sororities live in chapter houses, Barker said.
Joyce Kwan contributed to the reporting of this article.