On the crisp morning of Sunday, Sept.14, a group of eager, young women gathered in Spratt Stadium. Adorned in blue, pink and orange T-shirts, they awaited the arrival of the recruits and with each newcomer the final decision for which sorority she would be joining.
Prior to this fall’s Bid Day, many activities were organized to help potential members make a decision about which sorority they would be joining this year. On Information Night, each recruit was placed in a group that would be led by a Rho Gamma, who had separated from her sorority. These groups followed their disaffiliated leaders throughout the week as they learned about Greek life at Missouri Western.
“Being in a sorority means you have to keep up a certain GPA, you have to stay involved,” said Kendra Greer, president of the Panhellenic Society. “There’s the athletic or physical side of the sororities, and there’s also the intellectual side of studying.”
“Really it just depends on which sorority you’re kind of looking toward going home to and what their qualities are,” said Greer. Information Night was designed to give each potential new member a chance to discover which sorority would be a good match for herself. They were also allowed to see the reality of Greek life.
“They learn [that] it’s not what it’s like in the movies, that we’re not that stereotype,” said Jessica Hazlehorst, chair of recruitment. “They honestly got to see how close the sororities are and not the negative sides of them.”
Another opportunity during Bid Week to get better acquainted with the sorority members was during an hour Zumba workout. The goals of this night were to both encourage a healthy lifestyle in sororities, and to remind each group they are all Greek even though they model different letters.
For the remainder of the week, the women could attend parties hosted by each sorority to be introduced to its members. These nights were also designed to teach the recruits about Greek life and whether or not it would be right for them.
Although Greek life isn’t for everyone, it does have many benefits according to its older members. For Hazlehort, some of these bonuses are meeting lifelong friends and having a chapter that has similar ambitions. She encouraged those who are considering recruitment to go to with an open mind to sororities and Greek life.
“Even if you decide ‘oh my gosh, Greek’s not for me. I can’t stand it!’ you meet so many great people just in the process of it. You just have to give it a chance,” said Hazlehort.
While many would say sororities are social-minded groups, there are several other valuable experiences members can take part in.
“There’s definitely a lot of leadership opportunities,” said Tara Caligiuri, who has risen in the ranks of ASA. “There’s also lots of philanthropy. Working with Special Olympics is our main one, and Girls on the Run we do a lot with. I really enjoy doing that; it teaches you to give back.”
Other charity events include Rockin’ for Robbie to promote play therapy for children, and a Teeter Totter-A-Thon to help with the research of childhood diabetes.
Any of Missouri Western’s women are welcome to go through the Panhellenic recruitment. There are newcomers of all ages and school year who register online each fall semester.
“I would say even if you have an inch of thinking that you want to go Greek, to go to Info Night,” said Greer. “Even if it’s not for you, you’ll find that out the first night.”
The chants and applause of the sorority members resonated through the stadium as the recruits made their way onto the field. Each newcomer lined up along the sideline in anticipation of the moment when she would be called to the forefront. Under every girl’s jacket was a T-shirt matching those of her chosen sorority sisters; as the names were called and the sororities were announced, they would unzip their jackets to reveal their ultimate decision.
Each sorority welcomed their new members with applause. Some girls were triumphantly carried to their chosen homes; others found themselves in tears as their sorority sisters surrounded them. Some were just lucky enough to escape a dog-pile and be able to stand beside their new friends.
After newcomers were welcomed, the time came to welcome back some of their other members. These Rho Gammas were ladies who had chosen to disaffiliate from their sororities to help guide the recruits. They sang a short song about being away from their home, and like the new members, lined up for their revealing. These reunions brought even more tears and tackles as they ran back into the loving arms of their friends.
“Most girls would definitely say they’re glad it’s something they did their freshman year so that they can experience it all four years,” said Greer. “It’s the best thing that I’ve done here at Missouri Western.”