Getting to know Rho Gammas


Madison Kuhfus/Iowa State Daily

A group of women pose for a photo with their greek recruitment leader, known as a Rho Gamma, during bid day Aug. 20. 

Mikaila Gondreau

At 8 a.m. on a warm August day during welcome week at Iowa State, select women from the Collegiate Panhellenic Council (CPC) chapters are preparing for a full day of talking, tours and tough decisions. Amidst the chants and cheers, these women are the ones who strive to provide a clear path for potential new members (PNMs) on their journey to choosing a chapter.

These women are Rho Gammas.

Primary recruitment takes place in the fall just before the beginning of classes. This process can be a stressful time for students making the transition from high school to college. Joining a sorority or fraternity provides numerous opportunities for students, but before those opportunities can come about, PNMs have to make the hard decision of what chapter will best suit them. This is where Rho Gammas come in.

A Rho Gamma’s mission is to counsel and guide women who are interested in joining a sorority and serve as representatives of the sorority and fraternity community. Depending on which residence halls incoming freshman are living in, one Rho Gamma can serve as a counselor for as many as 25 women. As Rho Gammas help PNMs in their decision making, it is crucial they stay unbiased throughout the whole process. Instead of promoting their own chapter, it’s a Rho Gamma’s job to promote the sorority and fraternity community as a whole.

Jessie Grote, senior in psychology, is a member of Gamma Phi Beta. Grote served as a Rho Gamma during the 2016-17 school year.

“I personally love my chapter, but not everyone is like me. So that’s why I say you just need to go Greek and then find your home,” Grote said. “I think it’s really important for any woman or any man to join a chapter.”

Along with giving unbiased information on the CPC chapters, a Rho Gamma has to be able to be selfless with their time and energy. Shane O., one of two vice presidents of recruitment for CPC, works with a team to select Rho Gammas for the following recruitment season and knows just how important it is to be focused on the women to help them find their “home away from home.”

“The primary recruitment process isn’t about the Rho Gammas or me. It’s about the women going through it,” Shane said. “A good Rho Gamma is empathetic, personable and selfless, has good communication skills and is authentically themselves.”

Empathy is key when leading women through the recruitment process. It’s a time of confusion for many, especially when they don’t get a bid from the chapter they originally wanted.

When Natalie N., junior in kinesiology and Rho Gamma for the next primary recruitment, didn’t get her first preferred chapter choice as a freshman, she found comfort in her Rho Gamma’s encouragement and helpfulness. Natalie hopes to give that same encouragement to her future PNMs this fall.

“I like giving people advice and I like being the first one people come to and I feel like I’m a compassionate individual,” Natalie said. “Maybe you aren’t head over heels right now, but who’s to say two years from now you won’t have lifelong friends and experiences and opportunities to grow?”

Natalie feels going through the process of becoming a Rho Gamma and already working on recruiting women is a personal experience as well as a service to others.

“Through being a Rho Gamma, I think it’s almost more of like a personal thing to know that I have touched the lives of women coming into an organization that I know is going to impact them how it’s impacted me,” she said. 

For Natalie and so many others, Rho Gammas are women who PNMs can look up to and depend on, but being a role model like this takes time and effort. Women in CPC chapters apply for the position a year before they take the role if it is given to them. After a long application process, the woman who are chosen for the position go through a whole semester of training to learn the duties of being a Rho Gamma.

This March, Rho Gammas will be reaching out to women through events called Sorority Showcases. These women will be traveling to Minneapolis and Des Moines to talk to future college students about why joining a sorority is a good opportunity for them once they come to college. As this is a new way of reaching out to potential sorority members, the CPC is hoping this will give a better insight to high school students on what the sorority and fraternity organizations at Iowa State have to offer.