Recruitment for sororities at Hopkins began Sat., Feb. 2, kicking off a two-week period in which undergraduates interact with members of Hopkins’ 11 recognized fraternities, four recognized sororities and other Greek organizations with the hopes of gaining membership.
Panhellenic Council sorority recruitment, which ends tomorrow, attracted 281 female undergraduate participants. This marks an increase in the size of the recruitment pool from 2012 by 45 students, Coordinator of Greek Life Rachel Drennen wrote in an email to The News-Letter.
Inter-Fraternity Council (IFC) recruitment, a rolling process that ends on Feb. 15, has 213 male undergraduates thus far enrolled. Drennen predicted that the IFC is “on target” to see spring recruitment numbers similar to those of last year. Twelve percent of participants in sorority recruitment and 15 percent of the registered participants in fraternity rush are upperclassmen. The two-week process
entails a series of meet-and-greet events with members of fraternities and sororities.
It is an exercise in mutual appraisal: prospective members generally hone in on one or two organizations they seek to join, and the organizations in question gradually whittle down the list of prospective members until a pledge class is decided.
Both the University and the national headquarters of campus Greek organizations mandate that fraternity and sorority recruitment periods and any new member activities maintain a strict alcohol-free policy.
The upcoming weekend is “dry” for fraternities and sororities, as it falls in the middle of the fraternity recruitment period and at the beginning of sorority new member processes.
“Having a dry weekend ... gives our Greek organizations opportunities to plan fun brotherhood or sisterhood events. That weekend will be an excellent time to get to know new brothers and sisters, and members will hopefully have opportunities to reflect on what they appreciate about their friends and their values-based organization,” Drennen wrote.
In spite of the stereotype of Greek recruitment at American universities as a superficial, harsh and sometimes cruel procedure, many involved stated that rush at Hopkins has proven to the contrary.
“I’ve been pleasantly surprised by the recruitment process,” freshman Leela Subramanium said. “Before I came to Hopkins, I never pictured myself being in a sorority. But I met so many friendly people, and have learned how the sororities at Hopkins have so much to offer to my college experience.”
For most students seeking membership in a Greek organization, their motivation is simple: the appeal of a broader sense of campus camaraderie.
“The appeal of joining a sorority is the mix of both social and academic opportunities. It offers you a bond with more girls on campus, and it also broadens your social life by letting you meet more people,” freshman Gaby Frid said. “You also gain lots of networking opportunities when you’re in school and afterwards with the national chapter.”
Many male freshmen participate in Greek Life for similar reasons.
“I have no idea what is in store [for rush], but I know it is going to be a lot of fun. I want to join a fraternity because of the whole aspect of having the brothers, those people who are going to be there for you and have your back,” freshman Alex Michel said.
However, even the most eager prospective members identified an undercurrent of stress in the process, citing its time-consuming nature and competitive nature.
“The most stressful part about the sorority recruitment process is that you feel that you are really connecting with some of these girls, but you do not know how they feel until the end of the process,” Subramanium said. “My preferred sorority surprised me, but I simply felt a strong bond to these girls. The way I knew that they were my favorite was because I didn’t need to overthink what I was saying. I could just be myself and not have to worry about saying the right thing. My biggest fear is that they won’t think we connected like I think we did.”
Some students, disillusioned by recruitment procedures, abandoned it altogether.
“I dropped out of the recruitment process because I realized that I don’t see myself in a sorority and do not feel that it will affect my social life,” freshman Nicole Cornet said. “Sororities, though not necessarily Greek Life as a whole, don’t dominate the majority of the social life on campus because they don’t have houses and therefore cannot host campus-wide parties. I also didn’t feel left out from the Greek experience because the majority of my friends weren’t rushing.”