Going Greek: A beginner’s guide to starting the recruitment process

The+2014+pledge+class+of++Chi+Omega+meet+their+sorority+sisters+after+receiving+their+bid+cards+on+Bid+Day+on+the+Quad%2C+on+Monday%2C+Sept.+15%2C+2014.

Brenton Tse

The 2014 pledge class of Chi Omega meet their sorority sisters after receiving their bid cards on Bid Day on the Quad, on Monday, Sept. 15, 2014.

By Joseph Longo , Assistant news editor

The University of Illinois has one of the biggest Greek life scenes in the U.S. In the spring of 2016, there were 7,790 undergraduate students involved in fraternities and sororities. Additionally, 59 fraternities and 38 sororities are recognized on campus, ranging from those within the Interfraternity and Panhellenic Councils to multicultural and faith-based organizations.

While this high level of participation in Greek life offers many opportunities to get involved, many students might still find themselves asking,

“Where do I start?”

However, several key events occur early in the semester that allow interested students the chance to meet members of numerous Greek houses. Below is a list of some outlets to consider.

Quad Day

Almost all Greek houses regardless of council affiliation set up a booth on the Main Quad. It’s the most efficient way to stop by and meet as many houses as possible. Some may have music playing or a game of bag-o going.

Houses usually try their best to create a friendly atmosphere in their given space. All of the Greek organizations will be roughly grouped between Foellinger Auditorium and the Undergraduate Library. Be prepared to trek your way through clusters of students.
Interfraternity Council

Unlike formal sorority recruitment, fraternity rush lacks an official process. Mike O’Neill, the Interfraternity Council Vice President of Recruitment and a former Illini Media employee, said he understands the pitfalls of an informal process.

“For an incoming freshmen who doesn’t know very much about the process, definitely go to these events because there are not a lot of opportunities to reach out,” O’Neill, a senior in Media, said of Quad Day. “It is going to take some effort to get involved in the
community.”

O’Neill said having preconceived ideas of what fraternity a new student wants to join is detrimental.
Instead, he said students should be open to learning about all chapters.

“It is important to find which one fits you best,” O’Neill said. “It’s a one time decision, and you make a commitment to a chapter that you can’t really go back on.”

Formal Panhellenic Recruitment

The first two weekends of the school year, you will hear singing and shouting echoing across campus as waves of women run from presentation to presentation at different sorority houses. Each day of recruitment spans the full day, so you’ll probably have each sorority’s song ingrained into your memory by the end of the first week.

Sorority recruitment is a formal process, meaning you must register with the Panhellenic Council prior to rushing.

Although rush can be notorious for precisely planned outfits, Taylor Naughton, a senior in Business and member of Delta Gamma, encourages women rushing to keep it simple.

“You’re trying to impress girls, not boys,” Naughton said. “It’s really only about the conversation, so focus more on being yourself.”

However, Naughton does not think inflating oneself helps the chances of getting in to a specific house.

“Being humble and genuinely caring about what each house … (and) girl has to say will do a lot more than just coming up with things you can brag about,” Naughton said.

Reach out

When all else fails, don’t be afraid to contact houses on your list.

IFC, Panhellenic and the Black Greek Council all have websites with information to put you in contact with their respective houses.
It’s a great opportunity to get a one-on-one experience.

When it comes to Greek life, making the effort to reach out and show your genuine interest early on is a simple way to stand out among the many other students on campus rushing.

[email protected]