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New Members for Old Sororities

Seventy-eight potential new members (PNMs) started sorority recruitment week, Sep. 2-8, but the three social sororities on campus recruited only 50 young ladies.

Alpha Gamma Delta (AGD) received 14 new members, while Sigma Sigma Sigma (SSS or Tri Sig) and Alpha Sigma Alpha (ASA) each received 18 new members.

Isaiah Collier, Assistant Dean of Student Development, said a recruitment class is usually 98 to 99 percent Freshmen.

“To see these young ladies become acclimated to Missouri Western, to get to know them and see them go through these parties, blossom and meet new friends is a really good time,” Collier said.

He said that people tend to focus on the stereotypes of Greek life.

“They don’t get a good sense of what’s behind the sisterhood, which is very strong here at Missouri Western,” Collier said.

PNMs must meet the following three requirements:  admitted to Western without academic conditions, hold a 2.5 cumulative GPA and carry at least 12 credit hours.

During recruitment week, PNMs go through a ranking process while attending parties.  The matching of PNMs to each sorority is done by a computer system monitored by an unbiased third party, Interactive Collegiate Solutions (ICS).

After a party, each sorority’s recruitment advisor sends its ranking data to ICS.  There, a recruitment specialist compares the numbers of current PNMs to the numbers of previous years and determines each sorority’s new member quota and the number of PNMs each sorority must release.  These ladies will not be invited to the next party.

Ladies who did not make the cut this fall can try for a following semester when the sororities may not meet their quotas and continuously open bid (COB).

The ICS computer system matches a PNM’s bid for her first selection to where they are ranked on each sorority’s list.  This streamlines the recruitment process.

Panhellinic is the governing board of all social sororities on a college campus.  The Executive Board (E-Board) of Panhellinic is comprised of chairs from each sorority.  Panhellinic oversees the recruitment process and plans all-sorority mixers and community service projects.

“It’s basically just a sorority made up of all the sororities,” said Sierra Travnichek, Panhellinic President.

Sororities hold Preference Nights to get to know each potential new member.  All PNMs attend the first Pref Night for all three sororities.  They may attend only one other Pref Night and possibly get a bid for rank from a certain sorority.

Ashley Filipelli, Activities Coordinator for AGD, was initiated in fall 2012.  She came to Western from Minnesota and did not know anybody.  Filipelli said she saw a formal recruitment poster and decided to attend since she was not doing anything that night.

“Before I knew it, I was going through formal recruitment, and I was in a sorority.” Filipelli said.  “It was the fastest way to meet people, and I have a ton of friends now.”

Filipelli said her favorite part of recruitment week was being able to talk with PNMs about their concerns after Pref Night.

“It was fun because I knew that they were going to be happy wherever they got placed,” Filipelli said.  “I love the fact that they were going to find their own home like I found mine.”

This year, Filipelli was one of 18 Rho Gammas who have the role of helping PNMs go through recruitment week.

“Since I went through formal recruitment last fall, I went right to helping people go through it; so, I could be a total unbiased opinion,” Filipelli said.

Rho Gams disaffiliated from their sororities at the beginning of August through the end of recruitment week.  This prevented Rho Gams from giving their opinions of PNMs and influencing sorority votes.

“What we see in the girls and what they see in the girls is just totally different,” Filipelli said.  “They can just be themselves around us.”

During recruitment week, all E-Board members were Rho Gams and randomly matched with PNMs.  Travnichek and two of the three vice presidents of the E-board did not lead a group of PNMs.  This freed them to move easily from party to party and assist PNMs as needed.

The last day of recruitment week was Bid Day.  Sunday morning, Collier, the Panhellinic Advisor, met with the three sorority recruitment advisors and discussed bid matching and any necessary changes.  Later that day, bids were handed out to new members.

Travnichek said her favorite memory of recruitment week was handing out bid cards and watching new members get excited about finding their new home.

“It’s really emotional,” Travnichek said.

At the tradition of Rho Gamma reveal, Rho Gams and the E-board wait at the clock tower for their sororities to come get them.

“As we’re standing there watching our sisters, who we haven’t been able to talk to, clap and cheer for us and waiting to be announced to go home — that was an emotional time,” Travnichek said.  “I was definitely crying.”

Travnichek said that new members usually do not yet have such strong emotional attachments to their sororities.  However, this fall, Tri Sig had two active members who each had a sister that was a potential new member.  Both made it into SSS.

“They were really emotional about it, and that was exciting,” Travnichek said.

Collier said that people often think that once they graduate college their friendships are done.

“That’s not the case,” Collier said.  “Once you join your fraternity or sorority, these are your brothers or sisters for life.”

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