As a member of Alpha Omicron Pi sorority at Rollins College, reading last week’s Sandspur article “Surviving Rush” by Emily Kelly was intriguing, to say the least.
To begin with, I found the article (wait for it) refreshing. I cannot deny that she employed a varied vocabulary and exhibited excellent grammar skills. She kept my interest for the entire article and I must admit that it takes some guts to write an article that scathing and one that surely not everyone will enjoy.
That being said, however, I strongly feel a need to clarify some of the overarching statements she used. From her language, I infer that Kelly went into the recruitment process already with a biased view of sorority life. She used such generalizations as how most of the girls were “fitted in signature Lilly Pulitzer prints and Jack Rodgers sandals” and that their eyebrows were “painstakingly plucked.”
However, I went through recruitment only last year and not only did I not wear these items or even pluck my eyebrows, but many other girls did not as well, and as I saw all the girls pass by on the three nights this year, I noticed a variety of styles. “She treats these women in this article as if they were as superficial as Stepford Wives or Barbie Dolls,” says Delta Zeta and Panhellenic member Mary Neville ’13. Kelly also describes Bid Day as “an opportunity for women to objectify other women.” As she did not even experience the actual Bid Day herself, I do not think she can make an educated observation.
I was especially offended by her use of the word “clandestine” to refer to the absence of “free booze” and “pill swapping” on Philanthropy Night, as if these things are actual occurrences in every sorority. The writer cannot rely on her movie and television portrayals of sororities to assume the everyday activities of the sororities on our campus. “It was like Sydney White (or any other typical sorority movie) was the definition of a sorority woman on this campus… Rollins sorority life is special and very different than any other,” Neville expresses.
I also felt rather unsympathetic when she said that she “was losing [her] sense of identity, falling prey to recruitment.” I do not know if Kelly felt pressured to join the recruitment process, but sororities do not wish to act as predators and “hunt” down the innocent PNMs. Instead, we want to see each girl as an individual and wish that every girl that comes through recruitment tries to show off her unique traits; sororities do not want carbon copies of themselves as members! Also, the recruitment process is a mere three days, so I find it hard to believe that someone could lose her sense of identity in such a short time period.
The description of her withdrawal process was a little disconcerting to read. The recruitment counselors I spoke to were upset by their representation. “The only reason we try to talk to women when they drop is because we want to make sure they are ok and didn’t have a negative experience. Recruitment counselors are there for support and guidance through the process; they are not there to make it difficult to drop, they are simply there to help,” says one recruitment counselor who wished to remain anonymous.
As someone who once saw the recruitment process from the outside looking in, I can understand how hectic and even silly it can be at times, with each sorority showcasing identical outfits and performing what seems like an endless setlist of songs. The recruitment process is not perfect by any means, but one must understand the difficulty a sorority goes through to express its values and personality in such a short and structured amount of time. Frankly I felt a little overwhelmed myself when I went through, but I forced myself to go through Bid Day and that is when I was really able to to know the girls better and realize what strong, ambitious, and independent women they are.
“Recruitment was a kind of exhausting process but it was a lot of fun to meet so many people. It was really great for me because I came out of it with a great group of sisters. I am really happy that I went through the whole process!” says Sarah Katherine Meng ’16.
Despite being in a sorority, I do not believe sororities are meant for everyone, and one can find happiness on Rollins’ campus in many other ways. I will say, though, that I went through the formal recruitment process twice and I can confidently say that the recruitment process on the other side is way more fun. It is unfortunate that Kelly did not enjoy her recruitment experience, but hey, at least she got a free t-shirt.
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