By Max Hampel
Eight Stanford fraternities and sororities are conducting informal virtual recruitment events for current sophomores, juniors and seniors this quarter.
The process will be similar to informal recruitment programs traditionally offered for upperclassmen on campus, according to Assistant Dean and Director of Fraternity and Sorority Life Amanda Rodriguez.
The Office of Student Engagement is waiting for more information about fall quarter before planning a structured recruitment period, which would typically occur in spring, Rodriguez said.
Chapters are allowed to follow their own national organization’s guidelines and choose what programs they will implement and when, if they choose to opt-in. As such, the details of informal recruitment vary by organization, beyond a set of recruitment expectations from Stanford’s Fraternity and Sorority Life Office.
Within the Interfraternity Council; Alpha Epsilon Pi, Kappa Sigma, Phi Kappa Psi, Sigma Phi Epsilon and Theta Delta Chi are all conducting informal recruitment. Alpha Chi Omega, Alpha Phi and Chi Omega are the three Inter-Sorority Council organizations that are conducting informal recruitment.
Kappa Sigma, Phi Kappa Psi, Theta Delta Chi and Chi Omega will be housed for the 2020-21 academic year.
Phi Kappa Psi President Ben Hoskins ’22 said his organization is still finalizing the details of the process, but he said it is important to ensure that each potential new member (PNM) is able to connect with as many current members as possible.
To do so, Phi Kappa Psi will be using virtual small group sessions to pair PNMs up with active members who have similar interests, rather than large group sessions, which Hoskins feels may be intimidating. The priority, he said, is “finding a balance between ensuring that PNMs meet enough of [their] community and also making the size of each session comfortable.”
“We want to make sure that each PNM can make an informed decision about whether our organization fits their values,” Hoskins said. “At the same time we also want to ensure that we only offer bids to PNMs who also fit our values and will engage with our community.”
Recruiting virtually will be a challenge, he said. But because many people are currently searching for a sense of community that Greek organizations can provide, it will be a worthwhile one, he added.
“We don’t expect there to be an overly large number of PNMs, so we will be able to work around accessibility issues on a person-by-person basis,” Hoskins said. “We can always recruit over the phone or via text if absolutely necessary.”
Hoskins said Phi Kappa Psi intends to take on a smaller recruitment class in spring, with hopes that it will be able to recruit a full class from current freshmen in fall.
Alpha Chi Omega President Noor Fakih ’22 said her sorority’s recruitment process will closely mirror the in-person version. The majority of its sisterhood events will be open to the public, including activities such as weekly workout sessions, “cooking shows” hosted by members, game nights and Netflix screenings. Other activities include a “presentation night” where each sister has the opportunity to present on whatever she wants, trivia night, a treasure hunt and even tarot card reading.
Through this process, Fakih said, “the potential new member can become our friend before having to decide if they want to be our sister.”
According to Fakih, on-campus informal recruitment has always been a great opportunity for sophomores and juniors who may feel as if they missed their opportunity to rush freshman year and are now discouraged from attempting formal recruitment among the vast majority of current freshmen.
“Informal recruitment takes away those doubts and provides a low-stress environment to explore, away from the momentum and rush of formal recruitment,” she said. “People who never thought they would want to be in a sorority might realize that they do, and others who always thought they would be in one might realize that they don’t.”