By Stephanie Bauer, News Editor
Although only about 40% of Furman women participate in Greek Life, it has a noticeable presence on campus. Recruitment is a nerve-racking but exciting time of year for many. This year, many changes altered the recruitment experience for the hundreds of girls going through it.
One of the biggest differences this year in recruitment is the role of Panhellenic Councilors (Pi Chis). In past years, the Pi Chis, or Alpha Zetas as they were previously called, served as a guide through the recruitment process. This year, however, the Pi Chis role as a “counselor” is being emphasized.
To prepare for the job, the Pi Chis had to go through a full day of training on Sunday, Dec. 6. They learned counseling skills and how to handle various situations they may be put in during recruitment.
Another way the Panhellenic Councilors will be better prepared to handle the girls’ reactions is with recruitment journals given to the girls. The girls were recommended to take notes in their journals after visiting each sorority. This way, they can keep track of their feelings for each sorority.
The Pi Chis also read the journals after each round. The notes that girls wrote down help Pi Chis to see how each girl feels about each sorority.
This way they know to prepare for if the girl will be disappointed if she got cut from a sorority she really liked. The Pi Chis can also write notes back to the girls in the journals.
“The individual attention is very characteristic of Furman. It makes it more personal,” said Cameron Smith, director of Greek Life.
These changes came from having resources to pay attention to greater details she said.
Another change this year is Bid Day. In previous years, all the girls going through recruitment received their bids from their Panhellenic Counselors in one big room. Girls cheered, cried, and took pictures holding their bid cards together.
The Panhellenic presentation and Pi Chi reveal was held in the same room, after which the girls left to go to individual Bid Day celebrations with their new chapters.
This year, things will be handled much differently. Girls will have appointments with one of their Pi Chis in a Furman Hall classroom to individually receive their bids.
After receiving her bid, the girl will be able to talk to the Pi Chi about how she’s feeling before accepting her bid and going to the Bid Day celebration.
Her Pi Chi will then walk her upstairs to a Furman Classroom where her new sisters are waiting to greet her. Because the rooms are small, only a few members of each chapter will be able to be in the room to greet the new members.
Each sorority can decide what they do in the Furman Hall room. The new members will come in individually, over a span of three hours.
After this, girls will walk over to McAlister with their new sisters for a short Panhellenic ceremony. The Pi Chi reveal will take place during this time.
“This [gathering] gives all Panhellenic women a chance to come together in one space,” said Smith.
Smith said she wanted to stress the idea that while you are joining separate organizations, you are also joining a Greek community. Having the opportunity for entire chapters to be in McAlister with their new member classes welcomes the new girls not only to their chapters but also to the larger Greek community.
Sorority reactions to these changes have been mixed. While some traditions may have to be altered, there is also excitement about the good things the changes will bring.
“It’s a change. It impacts chapters differently,” said Smith. “Traditions can change.”
Smith said she hopes that these changes will make recruitment easier for the girls going through it.
“We all remember what [going through recruitment] was like,” said Smith.