Sorority recruitment declared informal, sophomore-only this semester

Chi Omega on Saturday, Sep. 26, 2015. (Jeremy Caldwell / The Tufts Daily Archives)

Tufts Panhellenic Council (Panhel) and the Tufts administration have announced plans for informal sorority recruitment to take place in the spring and for formal sorority recruitment to take place next fall. Current sophomores, juniors and seniors, but not first-years, are eligible for sorority recruitment, according to Erika Batiz and Celia Johnston, co-directors of recruitment for the Panhel.

Su McGlone, director of the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life, explained that closing recruitment to first-years would encourage them to become more acquainted with Tufts before joining a sorority.

“By moving to sophomore eligibility, we are shifting the primary recruitment to the Fall,” she told the Daily in an email. “First year students are still welcome to get to know all of the sororities on campus. One of the really positive things about the shift in the recruitment cycle is that it will give students more time to get to know Tufts and to figure out what they are looking for before deciding to join a specific organization.”

Abbie Gantner, a senior and the president of Panhel, explained that in the previous formal recruitment system, a potential new member would visit each of the chapters and get to know them all over the course of a few consecutive evenings.

“All chapters would be participating [in formal recruitment],” she explained. “With the current informal system, it’s only the chapters that are choosing to participate.”

Johnston, a senior, explained that, though sororities still must abide by national regulations, informal recruitment grants chapters more individual freedom.

“Informal recruitment … [is] completely governed by each individual chapter who’s conducting it, so it’s up to their recruitment chairs … [and] recruitment teams what they want to do,” she said.

Batiz, a senior, added that similar rules apply to both styles of recruitment and that Tufts’ administration has imposed restrictions on both.

“You still have to play by the same set of rules in the informal recruitment cycle that you do in the formal recruitment cycle, like a budget or the timeline that the [Tufts’] administration has implemented,” she explained.

Whether sororities decide to host sorority spring recruitment is determined by chapter size, Gantner explained.

“This year, sororities are able to do informal recruitment if their chapter is a significantly smaller size than the largest chapter on campus,” she said.

Kappa Alpha Theta (Theta) will not be hosting informal sorority spring recruitment this year because it is the largest chapter on campus, according to Dana Popky, chief recruiting officer for Theta.

Popky, a sophomore, said that the shift to sophomore eligibility has both positive and negative aspects.

“It’ll be sad that [first-years] won’t have that opportunity, but at the same time, they’ll know a lot more about Tufts and know a lot more about themselves [before joining],” she said.

Chi Omega will be holding informal sorority spring recruitment this year, according to the sorority’s president, Camille Jackson. Jackson, a sophomore, explained that this year’s recruitment events would follow a similar structure to those in past years.

“We will still closely follow the same format as our past fall recruitments in order to increase opportunity, transparency, and fairness! We will be having three themed events at the house!” she told the Daily in an email.

According to Jackson, Chi Omega’s first recruitment event, “Brunch with Chi O,” was held on Saturday morning; the second event,“Chi-O-Lympics,” will be tomorrow evening; and the final event will be next Monday with the theme “ChiOchella.”

According to Alpha Phi president Rachel Perry, Alpha Phi will also be participating in informal recruitment this semester.

“We are still crafting exactly what the process will look like, but we will be starting with an open house for any interested students to come and learn more,” Perry told the Daily in an email.

The sorority’s Facebook page has posted an open house event scheduled for Feb. 20.

By implementing sophomore eligibility and moving the formal recruitment process to the fall, Tufts administration and Panhel hope to focus more on policy reforms and community outreach.

Sacha Thompson, chief executive officer of Theta, explained that sororities will focus more on new member education this semester.

“We’ve introduced new member education, which talks about leadership, hazing, alcohol … sexual harassment and how to deal with all those issues,” Thompson, a sophomore, said.

Popky said that education is vital for new members who might enter Greek life without a background on these problems.

“I think having that education is really vital [for new members] because one of the biggest critiques of Greek life on campus is that these members go into the sororities or frats and don’t know enough about these problems … so I think having this new member education workshops is beneficial to them, so if ever a problem does arise, they know how to deal with it,” Popky added.

Panhel also hopes to practice more inclusivity and accessibility, according to Gantner.

“We are … spending a lot of time this semester, planning and organizing a lot of events — educational and community-service based — that will benefit and are open to the entire Tufts community,” Gantner said. “[We are] looking to use [Panhel] as a platform for female empowerment and building a strong Greek and Tufts community that work together.”