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Panhellenic sororities bond preparing for recruitment

Alpha Gamma Delta sorority members arrive on the Quad to welcome their new pledge class.

Alpha Gamma Delta sorority members arrive on the Quad to welcome their new pledge class.

Michael Bojda

Michael Bojda

Alpha Gamma Delta sorority members arrive on the Quad to welcome their new pledge class.

Gina Mahon, Staff writer

One-by-one, about 50 girls file into an elaborately decorated and packed house.
They fill a nearby room from shoulder-to-shoulder, and cheerful, uniformed women surround them. Minutes later, their ears ring as they try to absorb everything around them. The uniformed ladies breathe a sigh of relief. One round down, more to go.

Every year, all of the Panhellenic sororities on campus go through formal recruitment within the first few weeks of school. Formal recruitment is a period over two weekends when female University students investigate each of the sororities on campus during open house and then return to the ones that invited them back in a three round process. Eventually, they find the house that suits them the best.

The week before school starts, all Panhellenic sororities come to campus and practice almost all day for recruitment. This period of time is called work week.

Samantha Rothman, senior in LAS and former Illini Media employee, helped organize work week with the sororities as the president of Panhellenic Council along with Georgia Horn, senior in AHS and vice president of recruitment.

Rothman and the rest of the executive board of PHC work behind the scenes to improve the recruitment process. The University was one of the first schools to make these changes.

“We’ve been transitioned to a value-based system, where we want women to recruit based on common interests and values and less on flash and frill, which is what they’re called in recruitment world,” Rothman said. “That’s what makes Illinois pretty unique. Also, we’re really fortunate to be on a big campus. We cover a lot of territory in not a lot of time. I think we are incredibly efficient here. It’s down to a science. Recruitment here is a science.”

For members of sororities who were initiated into their chapters last year, formal recruitment practice is an entirely new experience. Samantha Horwitz, sophomore in Education and member of Alpha Epsilon Phi, agreed that recruitment practice can be stressful because of the repetition and energy it takes to perfect everything. Within the first few days of work week, Horwitz lost her voice.

Despite the hard work that goes into recruitment, Horwitz said she genuinely enjoys work week, especially because she is living in her sorority house.

“Living in the house is a very easy way for you to connect and bond even more with your sisters because you don’t have to go anywhere after (practice),” Horwitz said.

“Before and after work week … you don’t really have the time to interact with them before that in the morning and then at night. It’s really easy to just meet up with your friends in the house and talk, because otherwise you would’ve just gone home and then broken up into small groups. Now it’s just a place where everybody can be together under one roof.”

Chrissy Piron, sophomore in Business and member of Kappa Kappa Gamma, said she views work week as an opportunity to grow closer to her sisters.

“There’s a lot of older girls in the house that I never really got to see or hang out with that much last year,” Piron said. “A lot of the girls who I’ll be (going through recruitment) with are seniors who I never met last year, and it’s actually really cool because I’m getting really close with them, and a lot of them have already offered to help me out with a lot of my business classes just because they’re in the business school, too, and they’ve already been through the process.”

Rothman, who helped with her sorority as a recruitment counselor last year before joining the PHC executive board, reflected on her time as a recruiter and how it has impacted her.

“As a recruitment counselor, you get to spend a lot of time with them, you get to know them and you become friends with them in a sense,” she said. “They trust you, and you get to help take them through a process that changes your life. It’s obviously changed mine.”

Editor’s note: The name of Samantha Rothman’s sorority has been removed due to a conflict of interest with recruitment. 

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