Some of Rollins’ women-aligned students returned to school this semester a week early. They were excited to go through the sorority recruitment process, which involved following a strict schedule and engaging in semi-scripted small talk.
Meanwhile, guys in search of a fraternity enjoyed a more casual process. They visited each chapter at their convenience and, in some cases, even got the chance to smoke hookah with their potential brothers.
These are just a couple of examples of the drastic differences between fraternity and sorority recruitment on campus. This has a much larger impact on students’ attitudes towards Fraternity and Sorority Life at Rollins. It affects how people feel about the tradition and its relation to their role at the college, and it also begs the question: why does the school allow these differences to exist?
The recruitment process for women is a four-day process. Each woman goes to all six chapters on the first night, and can receive up to four invites the second night. On the third night, women can receive up to two invites back to the chapters. The fourth day is bid day, when women can receive one bid from a chapter.
For the women, the recruitment process is formal. They talk to specific people each night, chapter rituals take place, and strict rules about decorations, food, and time spent at each house are in place. Furthermore, to attend recruitment, women also have to return to Rollins the week before Spring classes commence.
For men, the recruitment process is also takes place over four days. Each of the men go to all six chapters the first night; for the second night, they can choose which chapters they want to go to; and on the third night, men can be invited back to any or all of the chapters. The men can choose where they spend their time that third night. The fourth day is bid day, and men can receive multiple bids and can pick from their options.
Men’s recruitment is a relaxed process. Food is served, music is played, conversations are open, and there is no limit to the time spent at each chapter, except for the first night. Also, men do not have to return early, and there is no fee to go through recruitment.
These differences are in place for specific reasons. Sorority recruitment guidelines are governed by the National Panhellenic Conference and are followed by all chapters nationally. The conference’s goal is to have all women have the fairest experience possible. Rules like no food and a budget on decorations in the houses are in place so every woman’s experience is the same going through recruitment.
The leniency in the rules for fraternities exists because of the North American Infraternal Conference. Their goal is to recruit the best men, and so they leave the specific recruitment details up to each chapter.
Approximately twenty percent of women who went through recruitment did not join a sorority, and thirty women either withdrew themselves or were released because they were not invited back to any chapter. On the last night of recruitment for women before bid day, 118 women were present. Of those 118, 111 received bids from a chapter.
The starting numbers for men’s recruitment do not always line up. The number of men who register for recruitment is very different from the number of men who show up for the first day. This difference exists because of the relaxed environment and noncommittal experience. Approximately 85 men were present for the last night of recruitment before bid day. Of that group, 77 men received bids the next day. The difference in numbers is the result of men either withdrawing from recruitment or being released from the fraternity.
Rollins students are asked to go through recruitment with an open mind. Jazmine Rodriguez, director of fraternity and sorority life, compared recruitment to a job fair: “Thinking about recruitment as a job fair is advice I give. Each job will have different values and wants, and making sure those things line up for new members is important. We educate potential new members on putting their best foot forward during the recruitment process, so they can get the best results. Just like a job fair, chapters will have a certain amount of spots to fill, as well as they might have different beliefs. Being who you are during recruitment will help [you] realize these things.”
However, this year’s statistics prove recruitment is not for everyone. Many women have reasons for not joining a sorority, with some of these relating to the atmosphere at Rollins.
Juliet Tuthill ‘20 said she did not register for recruitment for many reasons. “I’m scared of rejection, pretty simple. But also, I feel like a lot of relationships aren’t authentic. Some girls in their chapters love each other, and some hate each other and we all hear about it because it’s a big part of drama on campus. It’s part of being a girl I guess. It just didn’t look like sisterhood to me. I didn’t want to be in the drama. I like to be on the outside looking in.”
Bria Pallas ‘19 said, “Coming from Michigan, a state with two big schools, I always had it in my mind that I would need to join a sorority to make friends and have a social life. Here at Rollins you don’t need to do that. Not only does the school’s small size make it easier to find friends, but you always know what’s going on. By the time rush came around, I was happy being friends with people of all sorts of friend groups that I didn’t need a main one to define myself by.”
In spite of this more positive perspective, for some, recruitment doesn’t always go as planned. Meghan Gadola ‘20 added, “Being an introvert made recruitment really difficult and tiring. The conversations were very repetitive, but the girls I talked to seemed interested and I thought the first night of recruitment went really well. Even though it was exhausting, I thought it would be worth it. This made it harder when I didn’t get called back anywhere the second day. It was very disappointing, and it made me think the conversations I was having weren’t authentic. It felt staged. Despite that, I’m happy to not be in a sorority. I have friends that are and friends who aren’t, and my social life is perfectly fine.”
On the other hand, Joshua Colson ‘18 said that he really liked men’s recruitment: “I liked the process because it was mutual. On invite night, I went to the houses knowing it was an even playing field. I got to see what each chapter had to offer, and I got to see each house as I wished.”
There are many feelings associated with recruitment on campus, and it’s not meant for everyone. If students do not join a fraternity or sorority, there are plenty of options to get involved on campus and to make new friends and take leadership positions. Whether you support Fraternity and Sorority Life or hate it, one thing is for sure: Men and women are not treated equally, and this is reflected in their experiences at Rollins.