During this year’s recruitment process, current members of Greek Life found an even larger sea of women lining up on the lawns of their sorority houses than in years past.
LSA senior Laura Raines, the vice president of public relations for the University’s Panhellenic Association, said the number of students registered for Panhellenic recruitment — a process consisting of four sets of events over the span of three weeks and culminating in the addition of a new pledge class to each sorority — grew by about 50 to 100 more women compared to last year.
Raines said she has noticed a trend of increasing participation in recruitment over the past few years.
“We’re just really excited that more people decided to go through recruitment,” Raines said. “We’re expecting a larger pledge class this year as well.”
Panhellenic sororities will give out more bids this year, which quells the assumption that more women involved in recruitment will create a more competitive environment for bids.
To ensure that a fair amount of bids are made, the total number of women who have gone through the preference parties and have ranked the sorority houses will be divided by 15, the number of houses on campus, and that many bids will be released, according to Raines.
“Mathematically, there is a spot for everyone to get a bid that goes through the entire process,” Raines said.
LSA sophomore Sarah Haddy said the increase in participants was noticeable, and had some adverse effects on the recruitment process.
Haddy dropped out of recruitment during the first week because she only got invitations from two sororities that she had little interest in.
“I could definitely tell that there were a lot of girls,” Haddy said. “I would constantly go to each house and we would talk to some of the sorority girls … I could kind of tell that they weren’t really able to remember me very well, because they were talking to so many girls.”
In past rush seasons, it was common for sororities to decorate their houses in accordance with a decided theme. This year, deocrations were banned by the Panhellenic council and its member sororities.
Raines said the community-wide decision was enacted to ensure a “No Frills” style of recruitment like that of other Big Ten schools. She added that it places a greater emphasis on the personal interactions between current members and potential new members.
“It allows the focus of recruitment to be more based on the conversation that you’re having in the house rather than the girls being overwhelmed with the decorations,” Raines said. “It also saves the sororities the money and time they had to put in decorating and buying the decorations and things like that in the past.”
However, some students like Haddy said the process of recruitment was distracting enough, so decorations would have helped them remember each house better.
LSA freshman Erica Joseph said she was able to remember each house solely based on the talks she had with the current members.
“Personally speaking, I was able to remember all of the houses simply based on the conversations I had with individuals, as well as the house itself,” Joseph said.
LSA senior Meaghan O’Connor, a member of Alpha Chi Omega sorority, said she sees both sides of the decoration ban.
“I definitely remember as a freshman when I rushed, I loved going in and seeing all of the decorations,” O’Connor said. “I think that was just part of this magical experience that you have, and it does make it easier to differentiate houses in that way.”
However, she said she thinks the ban is appreciated by current members who have to put in a lot of time and effort into decorating the houses.
“It’s actually kind of refreshing and it’s definitely made our girls think a lot more about what we have to do in terms of talking to the girls to get them to like our house,” O’Connor said.
—Daily Staff Reporter Katie Szymanski and Caleb Vogt contributed to this report.