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Spring 2011 Women’s Sorority Recruitment FAQ

This week, Wake Forest women (mostly first-year students and sophomores) are registering for sorority recruitment, which will take place in January. The Parent Programs office sat down with Steve Hirst, Director of Student Leadership and Organizations, to talk about the women’s sorority recruitment process and answer questions parents might have.

What are key dates for spring 2011 sorority recruitment?
The largest recruitment process is held in January, about a week before classes begin. This year’s women’s recruitment will be held January 4-9, 2011. Pre-recruitment events are being held November 1-4, and recruitment applications are due by November 5.  Students should visit the Greek Life events page for more information.

How do women navigate sorority recruitment (rush)?
Women are assigned to a Gamma Rho Chi (Greek Recruitment Counselor) group. The Gamma Rho Chi acts as an advisor during the recruitment process, to answer her group’s questions and help make them comfortable with the activities. Gamma Rho Chis are members of a sorority, but they have disaffiliated during the fall semester and recruitment process so that there are no conflicts with her assigned women and her sorority.

How does the January 2011 sorority recruitment process work at Wake Forest?
Day 1 – Women go with their GRC group to each sorority’s party (8 sororities are projected to host parties in January, 2011).  Every GRC group goes to every sorority party (even if a woman does not think she is interested in a group).  At the end of Day 1, sororities choose which women they would like to invite back for Day 2 parties, and the women select the chapters they are most interested in returning to the next day. Women can select up to six sororities that still interest them. At any time in the recruitment process, women are free to withdraw from recruitment.

Day 2 – Women are invited back to up to six sorority events. At the end of Day 2, sororities choose which women they would like to invite back for Day 3 parties, and the women select the chapters they are most interested in returning to the next day. Women can select up to four sororities that still interest them.

Day 3 – Women are invited back to up to four sorority parties. At the end of Day 3, sororities choose which women they would like to invite back for Day 4 parties, and the women select the chapters they are most interested in returning to the next day. Women can select up to two sororities that still interest them.

Day 4 – Women are invited back to up to two sorority parties. Day 4 is considered Pref Night, where the women being recruited rank their preference order of the group(s) to which they are still eligible. The sororities also select their potential new members.

Day 5 – Bid Day: women are notified of their placement.

Do all women who are potential new members receive sorority bids?
No. However, the vast majority of women who do not receive bids elect to withdraw from the recruitment process before it is completed. Often it is because they have their heart set on a particular sorority, and if they don’t get invited back to the next party, they feel like they don’t want to pursue any other groups. There are regrettably a very small number of women who go through the entire process but do not receive a bid on Bid Day.

What support mechanisms are in place for women who don’t get invites back or don’t get bids? There’s bound to be disappointment and hurt feelings.
Each woman’s Gamma Rho Chi (GRC) is there to help support her during the process.  The GRC meets with her group daily. When there is a woman who is very upset about the process, the GRC will reach out to her, and often also asks the RA to offer support as well. There are activities planned in the evening for any woman participating in the recruitment process.

What’s your best advice to potential new members?
Keep your options open! Even if your ‘favorite’ group does not invite you back, stick with the process and go to the parties that are available to you. I have known amazing, remarkable women in every single sorority on campus – from the oldest ones to the newest groups. Each group can offer students sisterhood, service, philanthropy and fellowship – and women can make lifelong friends no matter which organization they choose.

Is sorority membership required to have a full social life on campus?
I hear some women say it is, but I do not believe that to be true. There are over 170 student organizations and many, many places that students can belong to find their niche. It does not have to be Greek life for everyone. There are many students with active social lives who are not Greek.

What should students consider before joining a sorority?
Each student should look inward and be very self aware. Every student should know their preferences and limitations. For example, if time management is a struggle for a student, they need to be aware that sorority membership does bring mandatory service and other events – and they should have a plan in place to manage all their commitments.

How long is the pledge period?
Six weeks.  It begins on bid day and sorority initiation is to be six weeks later.

Parents often ask about hazing – does it happen, and what does the University do about it?
The University has a strict policy against hazing, which is outlined in the Student Handbook. Hazing has occurred on most college campuses at some time. At Wake Forest, if an organization is found guilty of hazing its pledges, they are held accountable as an organization.  There is a hazing hotline at -336-758-HAZE (4293) for members of the Wake Forest community who wish to report anonymously any student behavior which may be of a hazing nature.  If parents encounter behavior they think could be hazing, they are encouraged to report specifics to the Dean of Student Services’ office at 336.758.5226
or deanstud@wfu.edu. Parents and students can request (and will be given) anonymity, but the University does need some specifics (name of organization, activity the student faced, etc.) to be able to investigate a charge of hazing.

How much does it cost to be in a sorority?
Average new member dues are $615, with subsequent semesters at an average of $335. The costs cover national chapter dues, housing fees and sorority activities.

What are some of the benefits of sorority membership in your opinion?
The obvious benefit is making friends and having a group to which the women feel they belong; it gives fellowship and camaraderie.  But recruitment and Greek life teach valuable skills like networking and being comfortable meeting new people, which is a plus for most people’s professional lives. There is a chance to take on a leadership role in a large organization, which will teach students how to accomplish major tasks and mobilize a large group toward a common goal. Each sorority has a service or philanthropic component to, so the women are giving back to the local or national community.

Where can parents go for more information?
The Greek life page of the Wake Forest web site has more information, or contact:

Peyton Risley, Associate Director of Campus Life, at risleype@wfu.edu

Steve Hirst, Director of Student Leadership and Organizations, at hirstsr@wfu.edu