Finding a family away from home

Tessa Callender

High heels, dresses and short chats are a routine part of sorority formal recruitment. More than 470 women went through the five-day process three days after flooding occurred in Ames.

Amici Valdez, sophomore in psychology and a member of Alpha Chi Omega sorority, said the flooding made things challenging when preparing for recruitment, but the women stayed positive.

“Going a few days without showering and flushing toilets did not put a damper on our spirits or recruitment,” she said.

Recruitment officials worried the flooding would affect the formal recruitment process. However, minimal problems arose from the situation. The biggest change was sororities were not able to serve food or drink until the last evening of recruitment because of the water contamination.

The formal recruitment process allows women to see the 13 chapters with houses on campus, as well as gives them the opportunity to meet with and talk to current chapter members. It features a mutual selection process in which chapters and potential members pick each other to find the best fit.

While the greek sorority system consists of chapters from two other councils, the Multicultural Greek Council and the National Pan-Hellenic Council, only the Collegiate Panhellenic Council participates in formal recruitment.

The women visited all 13 greek chapters participating in recruitment on the first official day. This gives each of the girls the chance to visit each house for 20 minutes to talk to the members.

Each day, the women returned to fewer and fewer houses until the last night, when they visited three chapters for one hour each. In the visits, women got the opportunity to see skits that represent the chapters’ sisterhood, take house tours and participate in ceremonies.

Some women had no idea what to expect going into the first day of recruitment.

“After the first couple of house visits each day, I was better able to expect what was to come for the rest of day,” said Kelley Glanz, freshman in public service and administration in agriculture.

Glanz is now a pledge at Alpha Gamma Delta as a result of the formal recruitment process.

At the close of each day, the women going through recruitment ranked the chapters they visited and selected ones they preferred.

The women already in a sorority rate potential women based on several factors, which may vary from chapter to chapter.

“As a member of my sorority, my role in recruitment has been just to talk to girls and get to know them the best way I can in order to see if they would fit in well with our house,” Valdez said.

Chapters offer invitations, also known as bids, for women to join on the last day of recruitment. The new members are welcomed to the house for games, food and to get to know the women of the chapter.

Glanz said although the formal recruitment process can be stressful and tiring, it was the best way to find the chapter that best fit her wants and needs.

“I think the formal recruitment process is a great way for girls to find the ‘right’ house for them. It allows you to visit all 13 houses and make your decision based on what you saw; no one else dictates your choice,” Glanz said. “A lot of the time your opinion of a house depends on who you talked to; if you had one great conversation, but the second one was awkward, it can be a tough decision of deciding where that house fits into your list of preferences.”

Taking the time to make an educated decision is important considering the commitment and importance of selecting a sorority.

“Formal recruitment is a process where girls try to find a place where they belong. It’s not just about finding study buddies or a house to live in. It’s about finding a family away from home,” Valdez said.

Glanz also made connections with girls in her group throughout the week and will remember the events outside of recruitment well.

“Being a freshman, I didn’t feel like I knew many people here, but through going through recruitment I met a lot of new people, especially within my recruitment group. We all became very close, and I feel I could talk about anything to any of those girls,” Glanz said.

Women are not the only ones participating in formal recruitment. Fraternities on campus will run fall rush Wednesday through Friday. To register or to find more information, visit the Office of Greek Affairs’ website.