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By: Cassie Little & David Stollman

Many members dread primary recruitment. Long hours spent projecting the ideal sorority experience and “selling” women on the idea of joining who we have never met before. We are encouraged to get to know the PNMs but it’s nearly impossible in the highly structured machine of primary recruitment. We know we can only scratch the surface. It isn’t our fault, the system is set up that way. We are told to get into deeper conversations in those 12 minutes and 37 seconds. You are told to have value centered connections! Seriously?!
“I’m sorry, but it has been 8 minutes and 3 seconds already so I must artfully transition our conversation toward the ways my sorority is the embodiment of your lifelong mission to serve. Then we will clap and chant you out the door.” Oh no! Hands crossed behind her back… BUMP!
But since that is the way primary recruitment is designed, how can you make any meaningful change without wholesale reorganization of the entire system? The answer is by…

Stacking the Deck.

Imagine being at your first primary recruitment event. You look around and see that you already know most of the potential new members. Women you have been getting to know for a while. Would primary recruitment be less stressful? Do you think you would make better decisions about who to extend membership to? Recruitment is be more fun and effective with PNMs you already know. You certainly make better choices when you’ve known PNMs for longer. Imagine if the number of women that you encouraged to participate in recruitment equaled or were twice quota? If these women had signed up because of YOUR chapter, wouldn’t it all be a little less stressful?

Best of all, creating relationships and getting to know women before recruitment isn’t DIRTY but actually encouraged! Getting to know unaffiliated upperclassmen or new students only could increase their interest in the Panhellenic community instead of writing it off as exclusive. The only window of time you are NOT allowed normal, ethical contact with a woman who isn’t a member of a sorority is very limited. The NPC outlines that the only time your College Panhellenic should limit contact between PNMs and members is the time between Preference Round and Bid Day. The rest of the year should be filled with positive, ethical contact.

So be real with one another and be good women. Simple as that. Don’t promise bids. Don’t throw shade on other sororities. Speak positively about the overall community… Basically, be upstanding sorority women.

How do you stack the deck when you don’t know many women who will be going through formal recruitment? The strategies are different for Fall Formal & Spring Formal, but the concept is basically the same.

Some community strategies to encourage chapters Stacking the Deck:

  1. Normalize ethical contact by discussing it in Panhellenic. Make it a community effort to get to know unaffiliated women and encourage them to join Panhellenic!
  2. Make an effort to encourage upperclassmen to find their home in the Panhellenic community. Upperclassmen have incredible membership potential in leadership with their first few years of collegiate experience outside of sorority life.
  3. Encourage chapters to promote primary recruitment sign-ups. Even host a competition.
  4. Be involved on campus to meet and make friends with unaffiliated women based on shared interests and passions! They will be more interested in recruitment if they know an awesome Panhellenic woman already
This is just one of the many approaches that are taught in CAMPUSPEAK’s Interactive Workshop Recruitment Boot Camp. To learn more about Recruitment Boot Camp at https://campuspeak.com/workshops/recruitmentbootcamp/