Before I upset you, I want to let you know I have been an initiated member of my sorority for over three decades. I volunteer, I donate money, and I value my experience. I also have a dream job and get to travel to colleges and universities speaking about topics of well-being, safety, and relationships…all the things many of you would capture as making your daughter “happy.”
As I speak on campuses to the potential new members (PNMs) and observe various parent Facebook groups, I wanted to offer some advice, some of the same advice I offer to your brave, intelligent, and amazing daughters, and some advice just for you!
9 things a potential new member of a sorority (and her parents) need to know
1. Words matter
It’s called Recruitment, not Rush. I know when I joined, I did so in Rush process. The name has changed, and so should we. By definition, “rush” means “to move with urgent haste,” and this process, while it might only be a week, has long moments where it feels like the PNMs wait.
Recruitment is defined as “the action of finding new people to join an organization or support a cause.” AND that is exactly what the process is. Changing terms might help you change how you support your daughter.
2. Pronouns matter
“She” is your daughter. “We” assumes you are participating in Recruitment, and you are NOT, nor should you. When I see comments on social media that this has been the most stressful week for “us,” I wonder if parents need to step back.
3. Every sorority is a good sorority
If you take none of my advice, please take this one. There are no “good sororities” and no “bad sororities.” When outside forces refer to women’s organizations in this capacity, we tell young women that not all women are GOOD.
Girls have enough issues growing up, and the last message young women need to hear from rational grown adults is that a group of women are “bad” or aren’t “top tier.”
4. Yes, she will get released
The old term is “cut,” and the current terminology is “released,” and it’s a nice way to say that. She won’t always be picked during a mutual selection process like a job interview or college application process. This has happened her WHOLE life, but it is statistically going to happen during recruitment, so understanding that and supporting her in those moments can be useful to your daughter.
5. This isn’t a “blood bath” (as one parent told me)
The Release Figure Method (RFM) is built and executed by the National Panhellenic Conference (NPC). College Panhellenics are placing over 90% during recruitment (which is a vast improvement from the 1980s and 1990s). If you want to know more, seek out the information from the NPC website or the College Panhellenic site because the information will be accurate and consistent with the information your daughter is receiving.
6. It is her first interview
Your daughter will submit resumes for internships and jobs in a few years. Companies will recruit (recognize the word?) her, she will interview, and she might be turned down (kind of like being released). Remove some drama and treat Recruitment like it is her first interview.
7. She’s got this!
For 18 years, she has had hopes, dreams, and aspirations. This is her time to shine and be herself. If the outside world is coaching her on what to say, what to wear, how to sit, how to smile, and how to breathe, she might show up on Bid Day to a group of women who do not know who she is. She might even forget who she is. It is her time to find her voice and minimize the outside voices (yes, sometimes that is you, inaccurate information, outside “Rush” experts, etc.).
8. Remember when you left home for the first time…
Remember how you didn’t want your parents around all the time? Remember that? She wants and needs her space, too.
9. After Bid Day
This is when the real work begins showing up, paying dues, contributing to philanthropy and service, and getting to know people. People do not realize that Recruitment may feel stiff, but the hard work of contributing to the organization is where she will get the real value!
More Great Reading: