Joining a Greek community is a great way to make the most of college. But going to school in the north makes some question if Greek life is the right choice for them. As a northern (unhoused) sorority girl, I’m here to tell you how to make it through Recruitment when most Pinterest boards are referencing Southern Greek Life. At a northern school like UMass Amherst, Greek life is not as massive an establishment as it is down south. But that doesn’t mean that you can’t have a killer Greek experience at UMass! Here are some thoughts and tips to help you navigate the hectic week that is UMass Formal Recruitment.
1. Do not make yourself something you are not!
Don’t spend the summer before recruitment killing yourself at the gym to fit the image of what you think a sorority girl is (A sorority girl is simply a girl in a sorority, not a body or a personality type). You can go buy some cute new clothes for recruitment, as you definitely want to put your best foot forward, but by no means do you need to break the bank. First impressions matter, but a great personality and genuine conversation is significantly more important than whether or not you are wearing a name brand outfit. And show off your diversity of self! If there are a few different sides to your personality and wardrobe, let the chapters see that throughout the week! Give every chapter the best possible chance to see who you really are, even just in your style at UMass formal recruitment!
2. Never write off a chapter during (or before) recruitment.
In the UMass Amherst Greek Community, we have 8 sororities: 5 housed chapters, and 3 unhoused chapters. When going through recruitment, pay attention to the way you feel while talking to sisters at a certain chapter or the vibe you get from their sisterhood. You may have always told yourself you needed a sorority house, but the feeling you get at an unhoused chapter is just too good to pass up. You join a sorority for the sisterhood, not the house. If you fall in love with a housed chapter, that’s great! And if you don’t—don’t sweat it! You will still get unbeatable sisterhood and can totally still live with sisters in the future!
3. Don’t put too much stock into reputations.
Of course you can get a rough idea of a chapter from their reputation, but do not base your top choice off of it. Reputations are generally only partially true and even if a house is known for XYZ, which you might think is a negative, their sisters might know that that is not entirely true and they wouldn’t change their sisterhood for anything in the world. Rumors run wild during formal recruitment, so try not to listen to them all or at least take them with a grain of salt. And remember, the chapter you hear someone bashing might be the one that the girl next to her is in love with, so don’t make anyone feel bad about their dream chapter!
4. Be prepared.
The days are long, and the snacks at each chapter are minimal. Throw a protein bar or some goldfish in your purse to tide you over. When you visit the three unhoused chapters recruiting near or in the campus center, you can grab a snack at Blue Wall or Harvest, but that might not be until the end of the day. You never know what the weather will be like, so bring an umbrella and a sweater (even if you only wear it while standing outside of a house). If your shoes are uncomfortable, you might even want to bring a pair of flip flops to give your feet a rest. Heels are cute and fun most days, but if you are supposed to be touring four chapter houses on House Tours Day, you should stick to flats. Better to have semi-dazzling shoes than to trip walking up the stairs on your tour!
5. Talk to your Rho Gamma!
All of the girls helping you through the week and giving advice at the end of the night have been exactly where you are right now. They give up their letters for the week to help you find yours. They know the chapters all appear glamorous. If you go through UMass formal recruitment with a friend, and they are all about one sorority and you’re all about the other, talk to your Rho about it! As fun as it is to have old friends in your sorority, having your girl friend end up in another chapter helps you connect with the Greek community at large. Your Rho Gamma is your biggest resource during recruitment, so don’t let her go to waste!
All in all, every girl experiences formal recruitment a little differently. UMass formal Recruitment is the vehicle to get you to where you are meant to be. You will hear people telling you to “trust the system,” and girl, you should just do it. When you are waiting to walk into a recruitment party and the girl behind you in line says “I know I want to be in this sorority,” and you’re thinking to yourself that you aren’t too sure yet, just trust the system. At some point, not too far in the future, you will know where you belong. Some girls know what their home will be on Philanthropy Day or day one. Others don’t get that “aha!” moment until Preference Night when they find themselves crying because their future chapter’s ritual is so heartwarming. And others still don’t have that moment until a few weeks after recruitment, when they are sitting in a room with over 100 of their sisters (and closest friends), and the thought slowly creeps over them: “I am home.”