First-Year Recruitment Stories: Jackie

JackiePrior to arriving at Drake, I planned what my first few months here would look like. I was going to become best friends with my FYS, join lots of clubs, and of course participate in formal recruitment. I pictured myself to be the perfect sorority girl and could not wait until I was proudly wearing letters around campus! When it came time for recruitment, I had furthered my plan for the first few months at Drake and thought I knew exactly which chapter I wanted to join. The first night, sporting a cute bow and colored pants, I walked myself into what I thought was my dream sorority. I had wonderful conversations with the women, laughed a lot, and by the time the event was over, I was certain that was the chapter I was going to join. However, that certainty quickly disappeared when I received my schedule for the next round of events and found that I had not been invited back to what I thought was my dream chapter.

Maybe it’s needless to say, but I was not a happy Potential New Member. However, after a bit of encouragement from my fantastic Rho Gamma, I was ready for the second night of recruitment events. After round two, I found a new favorite chapter.  I came back the following morning to find that I was not invited back. After this happened a second time, I was very discouraged.  I took it personally and felt that the rejection was the chapters saying that they plainly did not like me. I debated dropping out of recruitment, however once again, my amazing Rho Gamma gave me a pep talk and not before long, I found myself taking part in two very special preference day ceremonies.

Preference day was, by far, my favorite day of recruitment. That day, all of the PNMs had the privilege to take part in a ceremony that is very special to each chapter. Both ceremonies were beautiful and I could really feel the passion, dedication and love that the woman had for their particular chapter. However, in the chapter I am now a member, I remember there was a moment during the preference day ceremony where it all clicked. Prior to the ceremony, I spent time talking and laughing with two amazing girls. At one point, I dropped part of my snack on the ground and was very embarrassed. However, they instantly made me feel better and even had me laughing about the situation. Then, during the ceremony, one of our amazing seniors was standing behind me to guide me through. I could sense how much she, as well as the other women, wanted me to join their sisterhood. I felt comfortable there. I felt like I belonged. Walking out of the house, I tried to contain my excitement because of my previous recruitment disappointments but instead I ended up running up to my Rho Gamma yelling “I KNOW WHERE I BELONG!”

Bid day was pretty scary. I sat there in anticipation with my recruitment group as all of the bid day cards were passed out. After what felt like a year we were all able to open our envelopes. Inside of the envelope, I found the beautiful Greek letters I was hoping for written across the top. I was home.

The rest of bid day was actually the best day of my life but I will not even try to explain that because it is a day you need to experience for yourself. Now, what advice do I have for you, a potential new member? First off, go through recruitment. The worst thing that will happen is that you will meet some fantastic older women you can look up to. The best thing that will happen is that you will find a sisterhood that you truly belong in. You will find dozens of new role models, gain leadership skills, form amazing friendships, and be part of something so much greater than yourself. I can 110% say that my sisters motivate me to become a better friend, student and leader each and everyday.

Second, keep in mind that on Drake’s campus, the definition of a “sorority girl” is much different than my original depiction of a “sorority girl”. Here, the definition of “sorority girl” is a woman that is dedicated and hard working, passionate and loving, and wants to be involved in a million and one activities on and off campus. You do not have to love boys, make up, formals, or be an expert crafter. On our campus, Greek life is honestly for everyone.

Lastly, when going through recruitment, try your hardest to avoid going in with a plan. Be open-minded and let it take you where it may. I later realized that I had a feeling of comfort in my chapter the entire recruitment week, however I was too close-minded to actually see it. I also realized that not being asked back to a chapter does not mean that I have a terrible personality. Rather, it means that those chapters feel that my values and personality would fit better with a different group of women. Now that I have been in my chapter for the year, I see how well my values and personality meshes with the rest of my sisters. They bring out the best, the weirdest, the goofiest, and the most passionate parts of me.

Looking back on the first day of recruitment and my original plan, I did not even foresee an alternative future being so amazing. But yet, here I am, a member of the chapter I did not expect to join and I could not be more grateful that my plan changed.

What Can I Expect During the Recruitment Process?

With recruitment at Drake less than a month away, we hope that you at least have an interest in seeing if Greek Life is for you.  But, we know you still may be confused by the recruitment process.  And that is okay!  It can be a bit confusing.  Hopefully, this post can help to answer some of your questions!

What events do I need to know about for recruitment?

ADPiBefore recruitment even begins, there are some important events to know about.  Come pick up your recruitment shirt or register for recruitment during the first week of classes (August 25th-29th) in Helmick Commons from 10:00 AM until 4:00 PM (only 1:00 PM on Friday).  Recruitment Counselors (Rho Gammas) will be available to answer any of your questions.

On Monday, September 1st, we will be holding a recruitment kick-off event.  Everyone is welcome—even if they have not registered, bring them!  Your Rho Gamma will contact you beforehand and tell you where to meet her on campus at a designated location at 2:45 PM.  Everyone will meet in Parent’s Hall in Upper Olmsted at 3:00 PM for a question and answer panel.  We will all go down to Helmick Commons for snacks/socializing/registration if you haven’t already afterwards.  The registration deadline closes this day at 11:59PM.

APhiThere are three rounds to recruitment at Drake.  The first is Values Night, which is either Tuesday, September 2nd OR Thursday, September 4th.  You will report at 5:45 PM wearing your recruitment T-Shirt and nice bottoms.  There will be a short presentation and afterwards we will walk over to Greek Street together.  Everyone will be attending all five chapter’s events and the night will conclude by 11:15 PM.  Values Night is your first opportunity to interact personally with the members of our Panhellenic sororities. Conversations will be one-on-one and focus on topics such as your extra-curricular involvement, your experience at Drake so far, what you want to get out of a sorority experience, etc.  Additionally, chapters will give you a brief presentation on their philanthropies.

On Wednesday, September 3rd, Drake will host the Student Activities Fair in Upper Olmstead from 4:00 to 7:00 PM.  Everyone is encouraged to attend and look at all the student clubs and organizations.  Greek Life will have a booth at the fair in case you have any questions.  Your Rho Gamma will also be in contact with you and meet up with your group.

The second round of recruitment is Sisterhood Night, which is Friday, September 5th.  You will report at 5:15 PM wearing a nice dress, skirt, or pants (something that you would wear to a picnic or barbeque).  There will be a short presentation and your Rho Gamma will give you your schedule for the night.  You may be attending up to four events determined by a mutual selection process, however, it is quite common to attend less.  The night will conclude by 10:45 PM.  The night’s conversations will focus on each chapter’s member expectations as well as the financial, housing community, service, and scholarship obligations of each member.  A brief tour of each chapter facility will also be given.  Don’t be afraid to ask questions!

DGThe final round of recruitment is Preference Day, which is Saturday, September 6th.  You will report at 12:15 PM wearing a nice dress or something that you would wear to a special occasion.  There will be a short presentation and your Rho Gamma will give you your schedule for the day.  You may be attending up to two events determined by a mutual selection process, however, it is common to attend one event.  The day will conclude by 4:15 PM.  You will talk more in-depth with members about their sorority experience and why their chapter is so important to them, as well as attend a special ceremony that is unique to each chapter.  Some women may be emotional during this round, as they consider the bonds of sisterhood they have formed with the women in their chapter.

On Sunday, September 7th, we will celebrate Bid Day!  If you receive a bid to join a chapter, you will report to Parents Hall in Upper Olmstead at 11:30 AM.  Bids will be opened at 11:45 AM.  From here, you will learn which chapter your Recruitment Counselor (Rho Gamma) and all other disassociated members belong to.  At 1:00 PM, Bid Day with your new chapter will begin!  Bid Day is the start of your journey as a Greek new member.  It tends to be a little overwhelming, but it is filled with excitement and Panhellenic spirit.

What are recruitment events like?

ThetaBefore each round of recruitment event begins, you will be lined up alphabetically with the other potential new members attending the same event outside of the chapter house.  At the start of the event, the chapter members will likely sing in a group and invite you inside.  Once inside, you will sit down with one or two members and just have a conversation.  They want to get to know you better (and you want to get to know them, too!).  This is your time to learn about their chapter and sisterhood.

At each event, a member will offer you a small snack (like cookies or fruit).  Do not be afraid to eat the snack—the members have prepared them specially for you and want you to enjoy them!  But, it is also fine to pass if you are not hungry.  Despite what you may have seen in the movies, you will not be judged on whether or not you eat the snack.  Be sure to eat lunch or dinner beforehand though.  The snacks are not enough to be a meal!

What are my chances of receiving a bid to join a chapter?

KappaIf you maximize your options, there is a very good chance that you will receive a bid to join a chapter.  Drake’s Greek Community is very diverse, and you will likely find a home in it if you keep an open mind.  There is a place in our Greek Community for nearly anyone that is interested in being a part of it.  It is important to come into recruitment with an open mind because you never know which chapter you will connect best with!  The chapter that potential new members think they connect best with may change throughout the recruitment process.  It is also important to not base any of your decisions on the conversation you have with one member of a chapter.  As you speak with different women throughout the process, you can begin to see all the different characteristics each chapter has to offer.

Don’t forget to register if you have not already!

Upperclassman Recruitment Stories: Abbygayle

AbbygayleI didn’t go through recruitment my first year. I sat in my room and studied for class as I watched my roommate excitedly pick out which dress and shoes to wear. Every night she would come home and tell me about how nervous she had been and how welcoming the ladies at each chapter were. I remember her telling me that as she had gone through recruitment, I reminded her of one of the chapters. She thought I would have fallen head over heels for that chapter and maybe even found a new home there.

When recruitment came during sophomore year, I signed up immediately. I’d had a good first year at college, but it felt like there was something missing. I wanted that sisterhood other girls had found. I wanted that home my roommate said I might find.

Formal recruitment is an experience unlike any other. I’m fairly certain I asked at least one woman at every chapter what traits she valued most in herself as well as why she had decided on that chapter. But when I came back to my room those first two nights, I couldn’t stop thinking about two particular chapters. And when I returned for preference night to one of the chapters, I knew I had found the women I wanted to be sisters with for the rest of my life. These were incredibly unique and diverse women that shared a bond of sisterhood and clearly loved one another. I wanted to be a part of that.

So I became sorority girl. I love wearing my pin and my letters with pride, and sharing my college experience with so many amazing ladies. They have changed my life so much, and all of it for the better. My only regret is that I didn’t go through recruitment my first year instead of my sophomore year.

Formal recruitment is an experience that I believe every woman should try. It’s a great chance to meet the chapters and a very unique part of campus life, even if you don’t decide to join. Just be yourself, as cliché as that definitely sounds, and enjoy the experience.

Oh, and if there’s one thing I have learned about sororities, it’s simply this:

We are more than a stereotype.

What’s Got You Worried About Being Greek? There’s Nothing to Fear!

PanhellenicWomenWe know there is a lot weighing on your decision to be Greek.  Here are some common questions and our insight!

I want to do well in my classes.  Will being Greek hurt my grades?

We are glad to hear your coursework is important to you!  Being a student should always take first priority—you are paying too much in tuition to not worry about your grades and career.  Each chapter has their own scholarship program to support your scholastic endeavors.  There is a study room in every chapter facility that all members (even those that live on campus) can study in.  Each chapter can connect you with older chapter members can be very helpful when picking out classes and studying for exams.  And nearly every major is represented in each chapter!  The Greek community is also consistently proud to have an average GPA above the university average.  Being Greek can hold you accountable for your grades—you learn time management and have a wonderful support system to excel in the classroom.  Furthermore, having a network of alumni can help you when finding an internship or job!

I am really excited to get involved on campus.  Will being Greek take up all my time?

Our Greek community exists to supplement your Drake experience—not dominate it.  Every chapter encourages its members to be active in other campus organizations.  At Drake, it is quite common to be Greek and participate in other various activities.  Our Greek members are involved in Student Senate, professional fraternities, service and volunteer groups, Residence Life, Student Activities Board, Drake Magazine, intramurals, choir and performing arts, Adams Leadership Academy, etc.  Greek students not only participate in these organizations—they are active leaders in them.  Our community has a well-rounded representation in all of what Drake has to offer.  Greek life can support you in your involvement and lead you to organizations and leadership positions you would have never known about on your own!

Doesn’t it cost a lot of money to be in a sorority?

Our Greek community does not want financials to be a reason why someone chooses not to be Greek.  Each organization is self-supported through dues charged to all members.  In the first year of membership, a few one-time expenses are assessed.  After those initial payments are made, dues decline.  Each chapter has a variety of payment plans and several women pay their own dues from jobs on or near campus.  If you are concerned about financials, it is important to talk to chapter members about payment plans during recruitment.  They are happy to answer your questions!  Furthermore, as an upperclassman, if you choose to live in the chapter facility, housing and meals can often be much less expensive than living on campus or in an apartment.

What about pledging or hazing in Greek Life?  I have seen TV shows and movies that involve hazing and I want to be respected.

All sororities oppose hazing and are committed to a membership education period which instills a sense of responsibility.   You will not have to do anything that you are uncomfortable with and if you ever believe you have been subjected to hazing activities, it is imperative to report that information to the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life immediately.  Drake has a strict no-hazing policy for all organizations and sororities here are committed to providing an uplifting, socially-responsible, supportive environment.

Okay, I am now thinking I should give being Greek a chance.  How will joining a chapter benefit me after college?

The life-long friendships you make through a chapter will last into post-college years.  Membership in a chapter is a life-long experience.  Wherever you end up after college, chances are you will be able to find an alumni chapter or other members of your sorority in the area.  Joining a chapter connects you with sisters throughout the entire country!  In addition, Greeks have national professional networks for their members to assist in job searching, geographical relocation, life-long learning, and social opportunities.

Don’t forget to register for recruitment!

Meet Our Members: Paxten

PaxtenIn high school, I always had a team—my volleyball, basketball, and track girls who would always be there when I needed them. So, coming to college, I was determined to find a group of women just like those at home. I needed a group of friends I could count on to join in my crazy schemes, enter intramural competitions, push me academically, or go to events on campus with me. But, never in my life had I thought about joining a sorority.

After much persuasion from my peers and my family, I decided to give recruitment a try. Each chapter told me about their amazing sisterhood, their intramural teams, their academic values, and how their Drake experience would not be the same without their sisters. After the third night, I came to realize that perhaps joining a sorority would give me back the team I had been looking for.

So I did it, I became a sorority girl. But here at Drake, this usually derogatory term means something different.  It shows you are academically driven, involved in your community, and dedicated to helping others.  It doesn’t limit what you are capable of joining or doing—it opens up worlds of opportunities. Aside from Greek Life, I am involved in Air Force ROTC, an all-girls acapella group, the Society of Physics Students, Women in Science and Mathematics, and the Drake Honors Program. Balancing all of these things along with keeping my grades up can, I’ll admit, be challenging. But the difficulties I face now would be nothing compared to what Drake would be like without my sisters. They are there to yell and scream at me while I’m in uniform when everyone else avoids eye contact, drag me from my studies because they know I really need a break, and to support me when things get tough. Without these girls, I would have never found my team or my home at Drake.

Wondering What to Pack for Recruitment? What to Wear!

Panhellenic Recruitment LogoWith less than two months before the start of recruitment, we know you probably have several questions.   This week, we will tell you what you should pack to wear (and what not wear!) for each night of recruitment.  Keep checking back on this blog throughout the upcoming weeks for answers to more common questions.  Don’t be afraid to post a question if you have one so we can help answer it!  Also, be sure to register if you have not done so already!

The most important thing to remember when packing for recruitment is to be yourself and be comfortable.  There is no need to go out and buy a new outfit for any of the days—especially because it will likely be the first time you are meeting women in each chapter (and they have never seen your wardrobe!).  You will be having conversations with women, and should aim to look put together and classy—but not over the top.  Each day of recruitment is a bit dressier as the week progresses.  Your Rho Gamma will be available the week before recruitment to do outfit checks with you if you are having trouble deciding between two outfits or do not know if something is appropriate.  Below are some pictures of good and bad examples of what to wear from our Rho Gamma fashion show two years ago as well as some pictures of what Potential New Members (PNMs) wore last year.

Values Night (Tuesday, September 2nd OR Thursday, September 4th)

Values Night is your first opportunity to interact personally with the members of our Panhellenic sororities.  You will visit all five chapters.  Conversations will be one-on-one and focus on topics such as your extra-curricular involvement, your experience at Drake so far, what you want to get out of a sorority experience, etc.  Additionally, chapters will give you a brief presentation on their philanthropies.

Values Night is the most casual day of formal recruitment, so dress is casual as well.  You will be provided with a t-shirt to wear.  This year’s shirt is a black V-Neck with our Panhellenic crest (shown above) in purple.  Jeans, jean shorts, or a casual skirt are all good options to wear on the bottom—but most people choose to wear jeans.  Sandals, flats, tennis shoes, or any other comfortable shoe are appropriate.

The first picture is too casual.  Athletic shorts, yoga pants, and sweat pants are all comfy, but too informal for Values Night.  The second picture is too formal or inappropriate.  Fancy skirts, dress pants, and heels should be saved for a different day of recruitment.  Jean shorts should be an appropriate length and you can probably find a better shoe option than boots.  Remember, you want to present yourself well and this is your first impression.  The last picture is just right!  Also check out the example of what a few women wore on Values Night last year.

Values: Too Casual

Values: Too Casual

Values: Too Formal or Inappropriate

Values: Too Formal or Inappropriate

Values: Just Right!

Values: Just Right!

Values Night 2013

Values Night 2013

Sisterhood Night (Friday, September 5th)

On Sisterhood Night, you will receive a schedule with up to four events for the day; these events are determined by a mutual selection process.  The night’s conversations will focus on each chapter’s member expectations as well as the financial, housing, community, service and scholastic obligations of each member.  You will also receive a brief tour of each chapter’s facility.  Don’t be afraid to ask questions!  Active members will be prepared to answer any questions concerning living arrangements, time commitments, membership requirements, etc.

Sisterhood Night is more formal than Values Night, but still fairly casual.  Dress is comparable to what you would wear to a company picnic or family reunion.  Casual sundresses or a nice shirt with a casual skirt, capris or pants are appropriate.  Flats or sandals are a good choice for shoes.  Remember, on this day you will be receiving up to four house tours, so heels are not recommended.  Don’t be afraid to wear some jewelry though!

The first picture is too casual.  Sisterhood Night is a little more formal than jeans.   The second picture is a better example.  Also check out some candid examples of what a few women wore on Sisterhood Night last year.

Sisterhood: Too Casual

Sisterhood: Too Casual

Sisterhood: Just Right!

Sisterhood: Just Right!

Sisterhood 2013

Sisterhood 2013

Sisterhood 2013

Sisterhood 2013

Sisterhood 2013

Sisterhood 2013

Preference Day (Saturday, September 6th)

During this round you will visit up to two chapters.  You will talk more in-depth with members about their sorority experience and why their chapter is so important to them, as well as attend a special ceremony that is unique to each chapter.  Some women may be emotional during this round, as they consider the bonds of sisterhood they have formed with the women in their chapter.

Preference Day is the most formal day of recruitment.  Dress is comparable to what you would wear to a wedding or an important ceremony.  Most women choose to wear a nice dress.  Flats, wedges or heels are appropriate.  Some women choose to walk to Greek Street in flats or sandals and then change into heels for each event (there are often acorns along the path to Greek Street and we do not want anyone falling right beforehand!).

The first picture is too casual or inappropriate for Preference Day.  Leggings are not dressy enough and be careful not to show too much skin.  The second picture is too formal.  Please do not wear a prom dress or business jacket!  The last picture shows some examples of what to wear on Preference Day.  There are also some pictures of PNMs from last year!

Preference: Too Inappropriate

Preference: Too Inappropriate

Preference: Too Formal

Preference: Too Formal

Preference: Just Right!

Preference: Just Right!

Preference Day 2013

Preference Day 2013

Preference Day 2013

Preference Day 2013

Preference Day 2013

Preference Day 2013

Bid Day (Sunday, September 7th)

If you receive a bid to join a chapter, Bid Day will be spent meeting with your recruitment group, receiving your bid card and joining your new chapter in their planned activities.  You will also learn which chapter your Recruitment Counselor (Rho Gamma) and all other disassociated members belong to.  Bid Day is the start of your journey as a Greek new member.  It tends to be a little overwhelming, but it is filled with excitement and Panhellenic spirit.

When you arrive to receive your bid card at noon on Sunday, wear a tank top with jeans, capris, or shorts (along with flats, sandals, or tennis shoes).  You will receive a t-shirt from the chapter you receive a bid from, and will wear that upon being greeting by those chapter members.

We hope you found this helpful!  Feel free to comment any questions or email and don’t forget to REGISTER!

First-Year Recruitment Stories: Madeline

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWhen I started at Drake, I knew very little about what I wanted out of my college experience. The one thing I knew for sure, though, was that I wanted to go through recruitment. I signed up the second I could. What I expected was new friends, community service, intramurals, and of course wearing the letters. But in reality, my sorority has taught me more about myself than anything I’ve ever been involved in.

If there were one thing I wish I had known before going through recruitment, it would be that sororities here are so different than at other schools. While at big state schools you find chapters where every girl looks the same, talks the same, and only socializes within her own sorority, Drake is completely opposite. There are so many unique girls in each chapter, and because of this it is impossible to stereotype. I wish I had known this during recruitment because I spent a lot of time trying to figure out “what type of girl” each chapter was looking for. What I eventually discovered is that I was wasting my time.

Something that made recruitment difficult was that before the process even started, people planted ideas in my head about which chapter I would fit into most. I went in convinced I was going to join a certain chapter because everyone told me I would. In the end, it turned out that chapter was not the right one for me. This bias caused me to overlook my own feelings and look at myself from an outsider’s perspective. But choosing a sorority is a very personal decision, and where someone thinks you should be will most likely be wrong. If there is any advice I can give about recruitment, the most important thing is to choose the chapter where you are comfortable, not where others think you’ll match well.

While the recruitment process was stressful, it was definitely one of the most exciting weeks I’ve had at Drake! Each day it became clearer and clearer which chapter was the right one for me, and I kept meeting more people who I instantly clicked with. I started to feel at home very early on.

Another awesome part of recruitment was meeting people in every sorority and my recruitment group. I learned a lot about people during recruitment, and I built relationships I may not have built otherwise. Going through the process expanded my network so much, and I have so many great people in my life because of it.

I have two pieces of advice to offer about recruitment. First, do it. Even if you don’t think you’re a “sorority girl,” give recruitment a chance – you might surprise yourself. Second, don’t let anyone else’s opinion affect where you feel most comfortable. Join the sorority that feels like home to you! Each sorority at Drake is wonderful and if you find a chapter that is a perfect fit, don’t hesitate. Make the best of your experience!

Being a member of my sorority has helped me grow so much. It’s actually caused me to become more active in other areas of campus as well! Through the advice of older women in my chapter, I’ve cemented a path I want to travel to achieve my career goals and do the best I can at Drake. Through philanthropy, I’ve helped impact the community and learn about many awesome organizations that make a difference everyday. But most importantly, I’ve gained friendships deeper than ever expected. These women are my sisters, and not just because we wear the same letters. I wouldn’t trade them, or this entire experience, for the world.

Meet the Rho Gammas!

PanhellenicThe Panhellenic Recruitment Team is excited to introduce you to the 2014 Rho Gammas!

Rho Gammas—also known as Recruitment Counselors—help guide potential new members (PNMs) through the recruitment process.  They are some of the most outstanding and outgoing leaders in Drake’s Panhellenic community.  Each was carefully selected to serve YOU—the women we are excited to welcome into our Greek community.  These women are trained before classes start in August to lead a group of young women through the Recruitment process.  They have committed to being disassociated from their respective chapters in order to be an unbiased resource and confidant throughout the recruitment process.  Their passion for the Panhellenic community is contagious and they truly live the core Panhellenic values of service, scholarship, leadership, and sisterhood.

Each potential new member (PNM) will be assigned a Rho Gamma upon registering for recruitment.  Your Rho Gamma will contact you in mid to late August and be there to answer any and all questions you may have.  Until then, click here to meet them and learn why they went Greek, and some of their favorite Greek Life memories.