Full faces of makeup, nice shirts and sweatpants can only mean one thing. The first rounds of online sorority recruitment have arrived at Villanova.
For freshmen and some sophomores, rush has been a long time coming in a year filled with obstacles to cultivating any sort of social life, and this past weekend marked the first rounds of meetings with the eight sororities on the University’s campus.
In the past, sorority recruitment has taken place in the Villanova Inn. Potential New Members, PNMs for short, are shuttled from campus to the Inn on school busses and spend all day going from room to room to listen to sorority chants, presentations and to participate in conversations. Now it is all done via Zoom, and potential new members have to meet sororities through the screen.
“Obviously it’s a long time on Zoom, but there’s a vibrant energy that comes across the screen,” freshman Meg Cowan said. “Plus you can do it all in the comfort of your sweatpants.”
Freshman Victoria Bruce also weighed in on the experience of recruitment online.
“Even though our conversations via Zoom are limited, I still feel like I am forming great connections,” Bruce said. “Rush has definitely been the highlight of my second semester so far.”
These positive feelings can also be seen in the members of the sororities themselves. Sophomore Kerry Pollock, member of Kappa Delta, weighed in on her first experience being on the other side of recruitment.
“I definitely think it has gone a lot better than we all expected, despite a few technical difficulties,” Pollock said. “I’ve had a great experience so far getting to know so many great girls.”
The positivity about the online recruitment experiences is something that could only have been achieved through the extensive work of the sorority recruitment teams who worked to transition the usually interactive recruitment process to an online basis. These teams had to get creative with how to present their respective sororities to PNMs in a way that was authentic and still mirrored the energy of an in-person event. The members of recruitment committees worked endlessly to create matching t-shirts, dances, presentations riddled with funny scripts and videos for recruitment.
“The biggest challenge this year, more so than non-COVID recruitment years, has been to stand out as a chapter from other chapters,” said sophomore Alice Ke, recruitment committee member for Alpha Chi Omega. “Virtually, there’s only so much we can do to make our social graphics and in round graphics stand out to engage PNMs. That being said, it’s been great to engage so purely with PNMs in conversation without so much attention to clothing and appearance and less worry on both ends about PNMs judging and comparing themselves to each other.”
Despite the challenges faced with creating an online recruitment strategy, sorority members have found that the process, though different, has been just as rewarding.
Senior Marlee Newman, member of Kappa Kappa Gamma, reflected on what it means to be able to have recruitment for her final year at Villanova.
“Recruitment as a senior makes it feel like time has flown by since we went through this process three years ago, which really makes you reflect on all of the valuable relationships you’ve made through Greek life at Villanova,” Newman said. “The online format of recruitment this year was daunting at first, but after the first weekend, it was reassuring to see that each chapter found a way to still connect with PNMs and share their values and different member personalities through a Zoom call.”
On Monday, the PNMs received their official bids and participated in an online “bid-day,” becoming officially welcomed into their new sororities.
It seems that, for all those involved, recruitment has been a source of much needed hope by connecting girls both to each other and the prospect of brighter days ahead.