A satirical blog post about the process of Sorority Recruitment at the University of Florida (UF) from an insider's point-of-view. Written for CitiSync Inc., a start-up company founded at UF in 2009, whose web and iPhone applications helped students discover and share all of the events and specials happening in their city.
In 2010 I wrote a "controversial" blog post for CitiSync about the process of Sorority Recruitment, which had never been outlined in detail before. Deemed "controversial" because of the satirical tone –some people (my "sisters") were offended thinking I was making fun of Greek life.
Despite a little negative criticism in the beginning, I left the blog post up and it ended up being a big hit, even among Greeks, and had over 200 views in just the first hour. It was also consistently ranked on Google's first page of results, garnering added publicity for CitiSync's website and iPhone app.
In 2015, noted journalist and author Alexandra Robbins used my blog post for research and interviewed me for an updated version of her New York Times bestselling book, Pledged, which blows the lid off the intriguing world of mainstream sorority life.
Perfect make-up? Check. Manicure and Pedicure? Check. Sundress? Check. Spray Tan? Check. Pearls? Check. Spanx? Check. Total Superficiality? Check!
It’s that time of the year again. That time of the year where hundreds of girls go through the shallow and tiresome, yet rewarding, process of Sorority Recruitment (it was ruled that “rush” is a negative term), thus signing their souls over to Greek Life. Sorority Recruitment is no walk-in-the-park, and UF has possibly the strictest rules regarding recruitment compared to other colleges in the nation.
After being in a sorority for 2 years, and going through recruitment on both sides, I have the ins and outs of everything you need to know about Sorority Recruitment. Basically, Recruitment is comprised of 6 full days. Each day is a different Round, and each Round is further broken down into individual Parties...
But first, a vocabulary lesson
PNM (Potential New Member): The new name given to a girl who is going through recruitment. It was ruled that “Pledge” is also a negative term.
Pi Chi (Panhellenic Counselor): These are sorority girls that have gone through recruitment both as a PNM and as a Sister. They are the liaison between PNM’s and the Panhellenic Council, and are trained to be non-biased guides for the PNM’s. They also wear silly orange hats that they decorated themselves, which is pretty cool, I guess. They are there for moral support (girls actually cry during recruitment, no lie) and are a PNM’s new best friend for the next week. It is not known what sorority they belong to until the very end of Recruitment.
Legacy: The name given to someone if they have a sister, mother or grandmother who was in a sorority. You’re almost guaranteed to be in the same sorority…and I use the word “almost” lightly.
Each Party (the name given for the time slot and corresponding house you are visiting) is timed. All of the girls have to be inside and out of the house in a certain allotted amount of time or the sorority chapter will be fined.
A PNM may not leave with anything besides what they came into the house with. This includes water cups offered by sisters. Sisters may not touch PNMs. This includes handshakes, hugs, and pokes (Facebook and otherwise). Sisters must offer to hold a PNM’s handbag while she is in the house.
No verbal-bids may be given. This means that a Sister cannot say things such as “I can’t wait until you are a sister here!” “See you later!” “You would fit in perfectly here!” etc.
Sisters have a certain way they have to walk and present themselves. They will walk with their hands behind their back, and when standing still, they will go into a “sorority stance." If you're familiar with ballet, they stand in "third position" -that awkward position that's actually never used in dance. It’s supposed to make the girls look elegant, but it’s actually really fake-looking, and when I went through recruitment I laughed the first time I saw girls walking out of a house.
There is even a specific way to gracefully sit down and get back up when sitting on the floor. Yeah, it’s that intense.
Simplifying it as best as possible, after visiting all 16 houses on days one and two, PNMs will narrow down their choices to their 11 favorite houses, and likewise, the sororities will pick the girls they want to see again. But, just because you loved a house that doesn’t mean they loved you and they won't think twice about dropping you. This process continues to 7 houses and then three for the last round. It is very rare to have 11 Parties to attend on the third day or 7 on the fourth. Each house varies on how exactly they choose their girls, but they usually use a rating system in which there are categories and PNMs are given a point value and complicated computer equations do the rest of the work. Obviously the more points you have, the more likely you’re going to get asked back.
Are girls judged based on their looks?
Hell yes they are! As much as no one wants to admit it, girls are probably judged on the way they look more than anything else. It’s a well-known fact that each sorority strives to have the hottest girls so that they can “climb the social ladder” and party with the hottest fraternity on campus… “survival of the prettiest." This includes everything from your general appearance, how fit you are, your clothing choices (don’t wear tennis shoes like I did the first day! haha), if you have visible makeup on, etc. You get the idea. Superficial? Yes. But hey, would you really want a "pig" wearing your letters and representing your sorority?
So then how should you prepare if you are going to Rush?
Sorority girls want girls that look like them so wear sundresses, but remember to keep “the girls” covered up; you’re not at a frat house trying to mack on Fratty McFraterson! You want to look classy and polished…you’re supposed to be a lady after all. Don’t follow that little booklet they give you with examples of what to wear. Always try to look better than the girl sitting next to you. Tanning and teeth whitening wouldn’t hurt either. Straighten your hair too and invest in some good makeup. Wear pearls. Sorority girls LOVE pearls. You think I’m kidding, but I’m not.
Have a personality! Be yourself…or at least try to be. Also, make it seem like you really want to get involved with the chapter and UF in general, and that you have leadership abilities. Each sorority has a philanthropy they support because “Greeks love to give back to the community!” Hah, that’s a joke, we all know the main priority of sororities and fraternities is to party every chance they get and make GDIs (God Damn Independents) wish they were Greek.
Also, keep an open mind! Don’t listen to hype about what other people say about a certain sorority. Go where you feel most comfortable.
So the very last day is called Bid Day, or as guys like to call it, “The Running of the Bulls." It’s when PNMs get their Greek wings and find out what sorority they are in. They are then encouraged to run to that house where they will be greeted with open arms and gifts. Frat guys like to go to the top of the Norman parking garage and cheer for the girls…but we all know they’re just checking out the potential one-night-stands.
Rumors and Secrets
Although hazing is supposed to be against University policy, honestly, some sororities do haze their new members. Most will give you presents though! And who doesn’t love free stuff?
It is OKAY if you do the craft they have for Round 2 or eat the dessert during Preferentials. Trust me. Just make sure you can multi-task and engage in conversation and have eye-contact with the person talking to you.
Why you should go Greek
Greek life is honestly like no other. Besides making friends and having a lot of fun in college, it is great for networking. You will always have someone there for you no matter what. There are date functions, socials, amazing trips and volunteer activities. Greeks tend to have higher GPAs than non-Greeks, and are more likely to graduate. The list goes on. I don’t really know how to explain the experience, but I certainly enjoyed being Greek. College is some of the best years of your life so why take not advantage of every opportunity presented and go out with a bang. You won’t regret it.
Good luck! ...you're going to need it.