Updated: Sept. 21, 2015 at 7:59 p.m.
Potential new members won’t be the only women who have been rehearsing lines when recruitment kicks off next week.
For the first time, all potential new members, as well as members of some chapters, will formally list their personal values before recruitment. And some sororities, like Delta Gamma, have been coached by their advisers on how to talk with a potential recruit and see if her value set matches the chapter.
The new training comes after Panhellenic Association President Mollie Bowman and Interfraternity Council President Keaton White committed to a recruitment process that was more value-centered than that from past years.
Bowman said the chapters chose five values to look for during recruitment, adding that it’s one way to help determine which women “really want to go through recruitment.”
“It’s so much more important to me to find women who really find value in these organizations than just people who might be joining for the wrong reasons, or people who know the stereotypes of Greek life and think that that’s the type of thing we have going on here,” she said.
On Oct. 1, Panhellenic recruitment counselors — known as Pi Rho Chis — will lead a workshop to help potential new members determine what their values are through a program called iValU.
The program is mandatory for every student going through recruitment, Casey Crisp, the area coordinator of Greek Life in the Center for Student Engagement, said. Crisp said the workshop is a chance for new members to “examine some of their convictions.”
Last fall, a record number of 600 women received bids from sorority chapters. Roughly one-third of GW students are members of Greek-letter organizations.
Sororities can participate in a similar program for current members called a weValU workshop through the Panhellenic Association or the Center for Student Engagement, said Crisp, who leads the chapter workshops. She declined to say which chapters participated in the optional training. Ten chapter presidents did not return a request for comment.
“While some chapters chose to supplement their process by participating in weValU this year, other chapters may have another system in place to highlight the values they wish to embody during recruitment season,” Crisp said.
During the 90-minute workshop, a chapter “collectively discovers how they can determine, through normal conversation, within the process of recruitment if a potential member possesses those values,” Crisp said.
She added that the sessions are the same for each organization, though every chapter will likely decide on a different set of principles to seek out in new members.
The Panhellenic Association paid $1,000 for all potential new members, as well as chapters who opt to, to use the program.
Delta Gamma president Isha Elhence said the training helped members of her sorority determine their chapter’s values.
“The program was very helpful and made me feel more confident that we are better equipped to recruit women for the future of this chapter,” she said in an email.
White said the IFC aims to play a more prominent part in rush this year, including encouraging chapters to recruit new members based on their values and holding philanthropy events for students interested in rushing.
“We want to show one of our values, philanthropy, right at the beginning of recruitment,” White said.
He said the IFC has been training chapter leaders for recruitment since May. In past years, training didn’t start until September.
Markus Brauer, a psychology professor at the University of Wisconsin‒Madison and an expert in effective group work, said there is an “incredibly high” chance that new members of sororities or fraternities will adopt specific values if they are stated and endorsed by the organizations’ leaders.
He added that chapters may be trying to replicate a business recruitment model.
“It’s what companies do, right? They have a certain organizational climate and recruit based on that climate. The organizational climate is not going to be the same at Google as it is at a mining company in Montana,” he said. “It doesn’t shock me. It sounds pretty reasonable.”
This post was updated to reflect the following clarification:
The Panhellenic Association paid $1,000 for all potential new members, as well as chapters who opt to, to use the program. The company that runs iValU and weValU, Phired Up Productions, offers a different recruitment training that costs $3,250 per day.