Coming into my freshman year at Central Michigan University I knew I wanted to become involved in Greek Life. So in the fall I went through formal recruitment. This process was two weekends long and was one of the most unique experiences I have ever had.
I knew I wanted to join Greek Life for many reasons. First off, my dad is an alumni of the Sigma Chi chapter at CMU and I grew up hearing about how being a member of a greek organization was the best part of his college career. There is a saying often used in Greek Life, “It is not FOUR years, it is FOR life”. My dad clearly exemplified this idea though his continual contributions to his chapter, and the close friendships he still holds with fraternity men and sorority women he met in college that he still holds today. Secondly, a large aspect of fraternities and sororities is philanthropy, service has always been a value of mine and I wanted to be connected to something that shares the same value. And finally, I wanted to be a part of a group that I could call home. I wanted to be a part of a sisterhood where I could be unapologetically myself. Recruitment is meant to ensure you find the chapter that is perfect for you, with this, I knew I would find a home where I could be surrounded by women who hold the same values as myself and will push me to BE better everyday.
The week started off with being placed in a Gamma Chi group. Which consisted of about 10-15 girls going through the recruitment process and one “Gamma Chi”, a woman who had disaffiliated with her chapter to be a part of the recruitment process from the outside. At the beginning of recruitment there were over 500 girls, in the end almost 300 were placed in a chapter.
There are eleven sorority chapters on campus, each with different philanthropies, core values, and traditions. On the first day of recruitment we met with each chapter during sessions called “parties”. During the parties you had casual conversations with sisters of each chapter. These conversations were a time for you to get a sense of the chapter and for them to get to know you. After each party, the sister who you spoke with would rate or grade you on a system that is unknown to the girls going though recruitment. At the beginning of the first day I was eager and excited about all the possibilities for me. I found chapters that I loved and have several top choices. At the end of the day, I had the task of ranking the chapters so that an online system could create my schedule of parties for the following day.
This excitement quickly went away when the second day of parties I lost several of my top picks and only leaving a few I felt enthusiastic about. I was devastated and hurt when chapters I thought I connected well with were not on my schedule of parties. This is where the phrase “trust the process” was suppose to come in play. But in this moment I just felt a loss of confidence and really began to introspect on myself and my values.
This happened to many girls, being “dropped” by chapters they had fallen in love with. And then those girls would choose to “drop” from recruitment. Despite my blow in confidence I chose to continue on with the process. Each day chapters were dropped to from my schedule and my list began to narrow down.
One of the days of recruitment focused on the chapters’ sisterhoods. This is the day I believe made the greatest impact on me and my decision to “jump” Alpha Sigma Tau. During this party, I spoke with a sister named Emily. We chatted about the sisterhood of AST and as cliche as it sounds, I felt like I could open up to her. Later on during the party, sisters read letters to each other about the impact they have made on their lives. Looking around the room I really began to see myself fitting into this chapter and I could see the ways it could impact me. That day I left knowing where I wanted to call home.
The last night, we attended what is called preference parties. This final night each girl only visits two chapters. During these parties, the chapters involve the girls going through recruitment in a personal ritual, so that they can get a new perspective of the chapter and the love for it the sisters have. When I left Alpha Sigma Tau’s party I was anxious for the day ahead, bid day.
Bid day is the day the girls who have finished recruitment receive a bid, or invitation, from a single chapter to join their sorority. After opening their bid, we participate in “Jump”. I was ecstatic to open my bid and read the words Alpha Sigma Tau. I knew that “trusting the process” had worked in my favor despite the roller coaster of emotions it brought.
At jump I ran around the room of the other 250+ girls who had found their home to find my future sisters. Once creating a group of about five of us we walked up on stage, announced our names, and announced that we were jumping Alpha Sigma Tau. Then all together we jumped of the stage and were instantly being hugged and picked up and spun around by the active sisters of AST. In this moment I knew none of their names but knew I was where I belonged.
Following this exciting day I became a “New Member” of the AST Beta chapter. During this six week process I committed myself to learning the history, values, and traditions of AST. This period was stressful and demanding. But in the end was so rewarding when I received my LAS mentor Ali, as my big and became an initiated member of the chapter.
I am so excited to continue to grow closer and form new relationships with my sisters throughout these next four years, and my life. I am anchored to my sisterhood and am excited to be serving my chapter as the parliamentarian for this coming year.