So for all the Irish out there who, like me, have no idea how it all works, here’s a summary of what recruitment involved:
Sorority girls and fraternity boys were prominent on campus throughout orientation, representing their chapters and hosting events such as a casino night where you could meet them in an informal environment. All the promoting sold me and so I decided to register online for recruitment. I never had plans to join a sorority; I had just heard it was a great way of meeting people. I was also really intrigued to find out what the big deal was anyway.
On Saturday 6th September, I headed off to the sorority suites for the first time with my friend, Erin, and roommate, Rachel. We spent two hours in only two of the suites because a) I never know how to properly end a conversation and b) I didn’t want the conversation to end. This was just a small insight into what the next week would hold.
The next evening, we met our recruitment groups for the first time. There were six of us all under the guidance of Ashley. She was one of many recruitment counselors who had disaffiliated with her own sorority so that she could help us go through our recruitment – “We gave up our letters so you can find yours.” By the end of the week I knew she was a Zeta Tau Alpha girl and that she would be one of my best friends. As a group, we talked about what we personally value in life and came up with questions that we could ask each chapter about how they uphold these values.
We lined up in alphabetical order outside each suite hearing the roaring and chanting from inside. The Recruitment Council would count down ten seconds to the warning knock. A short time later, there would be another ten second countdown to the entrance knock when each sorority would get a bang on the door. The door opened, the cheering stopped, and as we ‘rushed’ in we were each taken away to a seat by one girl while the whole chapter would sing their sorority’s song. When the song ended, and some of them even had a second funny song, the ‘speed dating’ began. I talked to five girls in each suite for a few minutes and every so often we would be stopped – “We’re going to have a speech now” - by one of the members to tell us a little more about their chapter.
Thursday was the same process except this time I visited Alpha Omicron Pi and Phi Mu. I met so many people these first two nights, whether it be outside waiting in line with girls as nervous as myself, or inside the suites with girls who spoke so passionately about their experience in Greek life. My friends and I often compared it to a marathon because when the night was over, I could have slept for days. So much talking and so many names. I don’t think I’ve ever said “I’m from Ireland” as much in two days, but I don’t mind because apparently the accent is ‘awesome’. After Thursday night, we had our first ranking were we would put each sorority in order of how much we wanted to return the following night. I could barely sleep with excitement to get back the next night – if I was at home, I would say “I’m buzzing.”
Preference day. For the fourth day in a row, I obviously didn’t have a clue what was going on. Our recruitment counselor told us in her daily uplifting text to ‘dress like you are going to a wedding and there will be chicken fingers.’ Strange wedding, but okay. Again, I was so happy to learn I would be going back to the maximum two suites that day. This day was different though – there was no chanting, all sorority girls dressed in black, lights were dimmed, and there was no ‘rushing’ us in and out. This was our opportunity to sit down with girls we had already talked to on previous nights and have longer, deeper conversations. It’s incredible how after a few minutes with someone, you think they could be your best friend. It was my favorite night of the week. The seniors got emotional, hell, even I got emotional. Greek life was a huge part of their college experience and I wanted it to be a part of mine.
And so although I have no letters to show for my experience with Greek life, I couldn't be any happier that I went through recruitment. For some, it’s a chance to meet some great people and for others, it’s a chance to find where they belong – even if it’s not where they originally thought. It’s a chance to find yourself. Greek life at the University of Evansville is thriving and rightfully so. These girls are not stereotypical, they are unique and could not have been more welcoming. I started the week looking to just meet some people and I’ve left with a lot more than I could have imagined.