Panhellenic sorority recruitment will undergo several changes this fall with the intent of making the process more inclusive and unbiased for the potential new Greek members.
This year’s 54 Panhellenic recruitment counselors will bunk together in three off-campus townhouses in Northwest Washington for four nights during recruitment weekend.
Their isolation is meant to prevent the neutral counselors – who must disaffiliate from their chapters during the recruitment period – from revealing ranking information about potential new members, which would jeopardize the fairness of the recruitment process.
Panhellenic President Sara Fischer said the separation will ensure that counselors do not access the online system that shows potential new members’ preferences after each night is over.
“If you know how they rank, you can match them up with certain girls, so we’re trying to avoid that altogether,” Fischer, who is also a Hatchet cartoonist, said. “It’s not fair for the [potential new members] going through and it’s not fair to other houses who are abiding by the correct rules.”
To cover the added expense and to accommodate larger recruitment crowds, Panhel will increase recruitment fees this year, bringing them up to $40 from $25 last year.
Phi Rho Chis will be allowed to bring laptops and cell phones to the townhouses, but will be discouraged from communicating with members from their chapters in “an honor system,” Fischer said.
The executive board of the Panhellenic Association, along with Director of Greek Life Christina Witkowicki, staff advisor Gina Chang and local alumni will also stay in the townhouse “to make sure nothing fishy is going on,” Fischer said.
Isolating the Pi Rho Chis will bring GW’s recruitment process in line with National Panhellenic Conference guidelines, which suggest that officers be housed separately.
Terricia Soyombo, the vice president of recruitment, initiated the change after studying recruitment systems at schools with similar-sized Greek Life, such as New York University and the University of Southern California.
Soyombo said the exact location and cost of the off-campus housing has not yet been determined.
Interest in Greek life at GW has been increasing in recent years, with a record 618 women participating in sorority recruitment last fall – a more than 20-percent increase over the past three years.
Fischer, who anticipates 800 females will go through the recruitment process this year, does not expect the added fee to deter those who want to join a sorority.
After consulting a professional recruitment specialist, Fischer said Panhellenic Association will also reorganize the party system, altering the number of chapters each girl can visit during recruitment.
“It’s going to retain so many more girls in our system,” she said, adding that the new order will create “a very small chance of not getting a bid.” Last year three-quarters of the participants were invited to join Greek life and 88 percent of those girls received bids from their top-choice chapter.
In measuring the success of the rearranged recruitment process, Fischer said, “It’s very subjective.”
“I guess the only number we could see potentially is girls that stay in the system, girls that have a positive sentiment about recruitment,” she said.
This article was updated Sept. 2, 2011 to reflect the following:
Based on inaccurate information from Panhellenic President Sara Fischer, The Hatchet reported that Phi Rho Chis will not be allowed to bring laptop computers to the off-campus townhouses during recruitment weekend. That rule was discussed, but was not finalized by all members of the Panhellenic executive board. Laptops and cell phones will be allowed. We regret this error.