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What is Recruitment? Why is it not called Rush?

Yes, it is called recruitment now, not rush. This can be difficult for seasoned sorority alumnae to make the change in their vocabulary, but we are here to help. The current definition per National Panhellenic Conference is “Primary recruitment: A period of time during the academic year when events are held by each sorority for the purpose of selecting new members. The primary recruitment period is organized and implemented by the College Panhellenic. Should the College Panhellenic not host a primary recruitment, then primary recruitment will default to the earliest opportunity a student is permitted to join. NPC endorses primary recruitment held in the fall academic term. NPC also advocates women be able to join a sorority during their first academic term on campus.” In previous decades the term “rush” was associated with hazing. This urged the National Panhellenic Conference to move towards another term, “recruitment”, to remove the implications of hazing from the sorority recruitment process.

Other terms that have been updated that are equally as important are as follows. “New member” instead of “pledge” is now used to describe a woman who has accepted a bid from a sorority but is not yet an active member of the chapter. NPC has also moved away from the classical skits and fluff/decorations focus portions of recruitment that you may remember being performed during recruitment. Now the term and theme of recruitments on campuses nation wide are, “Values-based recruitment: Recruitment that focuses on conversations between chapter members and potential new members about organizational values and member organizations.”

Another new term used by NPC now is “Release Figure Methodology (RFM): A process used to determine the number of potential new members each chapter is able to invite to events. The process is implemented on campuses by trained NPC volunteers known as RFM specialists.” Letters of recommendations are also different per NPC group. A letter of recommendation for the sorority experience is an opportunity for a member/alumna of a sorority to introduce a woman to a chapter where she is participating in recruitment. A recommendation from someone who knows the woman well and is able to provide personal details on the woman beyond her resume will be far more useful to chapters than a recommendation that copies and pastes the woman’s resume or generic information that is already provided to the chapter via her recruitment application.

While some terms have changed, the recruitment experience is still similar to how you remembered it. The purpose is unchanged to yield connections through sisterhood, supporting women in all aspects of personal development while attending her college or university, and of course there are still social aspects. Though things have changed over time, the ideals and desire for strong bonds of friendship and academic connections still remain relevant today.

For more information on what is current with Sorority Life on campuses across the country, please plan to attend our Sorority 101 Event on April 18th at 3:00pm via Zoom. Please also refer to the following articles and sites plus your own NPC group’s website for the most up to date information:

The Sorority Life: Family and Friends

How Do I Support My Student Through Recruitment?

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