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The Daily Illini

Rush with an open mind, not a coach


In Monday’s early evening hours, you could hardly navigate through the Quad because of the enormous throng of undergraduate women who clustered together, patiently waiting to receive a small envelope.

The traditional meeting on the Quad marks the conclusion of formal sorority recruitment and the culmination of two high-energy, emotional weekends. This event is famously known as Bid Day. After receiving their bids, frenzy erupts. The newly recruited members storm the sorority houses, where the existing members cheer enthusiastically to welcome them.

Though an exciting day, it is preceded by much anticipation and, oftentimes, anxiety. One emerging trend that aims to circumvent the stresses of formal sorority recruitment is hiring a coach who will train the potential new members.” Featured on the “Today” show”:http://video.today.msnbc.msn.com/today/48968740#48968740, the creator of Go Greek Girl, Kilby Macfadden, explains that the coaching process for prospective sorority members involves a series of conversation workshops, guidance on resume building and tips on how to dress to impress.

The New York Times said training for sorority recruitment has helped many girls obtain a desirable bid. They can converse well with others, and they know what to expect throughout recruitment. However, hiring a coach to prepare for recruitment is unnecessary and somewhat undermines the purpose of the entire recruitment process.

Many potential new members across the nation have used services just like this to maximize their chances of getting a bid from the sorority house they want. Though this idea of hiring a coach to guide girls through recruitment is more prevalent in the South, it is also becoming popular in the Midwest.

Sorority recruitment can be intimidating. Here at the University, there are 18 Panhellenic sorority chapters. With one of the most extensive Greek systems in the nation, 22 percent of the undergraduate student body is involved in Greek life on campus. So, it is understandable that someone about to embark on the recruitment process would want to be ahead of the game, but it may cause a big dent in your checkbook as well as the loss of individuality.

The Panhellenic Council encourages individuality not only of its members but also of the women who participate in formal sorority recruitment. The purpose of going through recruitment is to be yourself so that you can find a house that best suits your personality, not to be coached into how to act or what to say to impress people you barely know. Though Macfadden described how they do not change girls but rather help them enhance the person they already are by teaching them how to stand out, I can’t help but think that if given the same conversational skills and dressing in the latest fashions, girls will inadvertently become clones of each other.

Those interviewed by the “Today” show and The New York Times compare recruitment to a job interview. The coaches say they will teach women skills that will not only help them in recruitment but also to secure employment after graduation.

But joining a sorority is not a job.

Being in a sorority is an extracurricular activity and should be treated as such. You can not be coached on how to be yourself, and you can not prepare for the unique process that is recruitment. Almost every girl who goes through it has no idea what to expect or what the houses are like, and that’s the whole point. If you go in already knowing which house you want to join, then you have totally undermined the entire recruitment process and will most likely end up disappointed.

The process is set up in such a way that enables potential new members to get to know the women in each chapter. So, if you go in with an open mind and a confident attitude, you will succeed in finding the house that best suits you.

_Kate is a junior in LAS. She can be reached at opinions@dailyillini.com._

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