Sorority recruitment: Trusting a process that isn’t perfect

McLain Hymer, sophomore in family studies and human services and psychology, is a member of Pi Beta Phi.

If a random passerby walked into the Kansas State Student Union on Friday evening, Aug. 19, they most likely would’ve been taken aback by the outpouring of chants and excited chatter being produced by the entire sorority community gathered in one building.

Eagerly awaiting the reward of a brand new pledge class after a long and exhausting week of recruitment, each of the 13 chapters on campus were huddled into groups bearing matching shirts and signs with the names of their soon-to-be new members. The atmosphere could be described as nothing less than electric, with chants repeatedly echoing across the building.

The intense happiness on each woman’s face was obvious as the new members flung themselves into the arms of the group of the girls they would now call sisters. However, what couldn’t be observed during this were the flaws in the system that led to this excitement.

I personally have had a great experience with greek life and believe that it has had an incredibly positive impact on my life and the lives of many others. That being said, going through recruitment for the first time as an active member this year has opened my eyes to the fact that sorority life and the process one must go through to be a part of it, even on a campus as inclusive and supportive as K-State, is less than perfect.

The greek community on our campus makes a pointed effort to make sure that any woman who completes the process of recruitment will receive an invitation to join a chapter, which is a privilege that women at many other schools are not lucky enough to have. However, the fact of the matter is, not everyone finds their home in the greek community after going through recruitment, and this can happen for various reasons.

The unfortunate truth about sorority recruitment is that each chapter can only offer a certain number of spots for its new pledge class. Because of this, hearts are continuously broken throughout the week when a potential new member thought she would fit in well after her conversations at a chapter during a round, and then finds out the next day when she receives her schedule that those feelings were not reciprocated. Going through this process as an active member who helps make these tough decisions made this issue so much more relevant to me.

Through my chapter, I have found a place where I am supported and loved unconditionally, and I want every woman who is going through recruitment to find a place that treats them the same way. It is difficult to accept the reality that every year, there are women who go through this process and don’t find what I have found in the greek community.

So now that I’ve acknowledged the inherent imperfections of the sorority recruitment process, how can I continue to preach that this system should be trusted by anyone participating in it?

I guess it all comes back to my belief that everything happens for a reason. No matter what organization or group you are a part of, whether it be greek or not, you are lucky to be on a campus that feels like home to so many.

So, even if you went through recruitment this year and didn’t find the forever home you were expecting, I truly believe that if you look hard enough, you will find the people that you are supposed to be surrounded by here at K-State.

McLain Hymer is a sophomore in family studies and human services and psychology and a member of Pi Beta Phi.