Across the country this month and next, new students arrive on campuses eagerly anticipating the launch of their college experiences. A significant number of those female students -- 158,566 in 2015-16 -- will participate in sorority membership recruitment. Sorority chapters are afforded the opportunity and privilege to engage with these women during recruitment. With privilege comes the responsibility of providing an experience grounded in the shared values of the 26 National Panhellenic Conference (NPC) member organizations.
In fall 2015, NPC reaffirmed a collective commitment to values-based membership recruiting. What is values-based recruitment? It starts with the rich words found in the NPC creed: "We, as fraternity women, stand for service through the development of character inspired by the close contact and deep friendship of individual fraternity and Panhellenic life. The opportunity for wide and wise human service, through mutual respect and helpfulness, is the tenet by which we strive to live."
Centering the recruitment process for both the sorority member and the potential new member on the rich core values of each inter/national women's organization helps ensure a rich experience for all who participate.
How recruitment looks and how it is executed varies from campus to campus. Panhellenic communities are challenged to visit old practices and reshape how the process of recruitment benefits all involved. Reflecting on personal values and key values of an organization, and wrapping those around the benefits of sorority membership, should shape conversations during recruitment. These types of conversations give a young woman seeking sorority membership the opportunity to assess her own values and determine whether they're congruent with an organization's. And likewise, this offers sorority chapters the same opportunity of assessment through the mutual selection process.
As a College Panhellenic community navigates through creating positive change and a better understanding of why and how a values-based recruitment experience impacts the community both internally and externally, NPC offers resources: Resolved to Educate and three values and ethics workshops. In addition, numerous volunteers and campus-based professionals will devote countless hours to providing assistance to Panhellenic communities this academic year as they execute the membership recruitment process. NPC says "thank you" for your gift of time, support and commitment to advancing the sorority experience.
Donna C. King