The following is a guest post from Anna Katsis, a senior at Clemson University during the 2018-19 academic year.
I had the privilege of serving on our Panhellenic Executive Council for two years as a member of the Recruitment Team. I took on the role of vice president of Panhellenic recruitment for my second year on our Executive Council, which afforded me the responsibility of overseeing primary recruitment during fall 2018.
Throughout my time on the Recruitment Team, I had the opportunity to interact with many potential new members. As I transitioned into being the VP of recruitment, my advisor mentioned to me there was a new program available to educate potential new members (PNMs) prior to registration.
At Clemson, we always host a live orientation session for PNMs once they have arrived on campus for recruitment. Historically, this is the time where we educate PNMs about what the National Panhellenic Conference is, explain what membership in a sorority means, discuss key definitions, detail the recruitment process and talk about other councils on our campus.
A problem for us was that not only were we presenting all of this new information to them in one huge dose during the orientation session, but also these women were being thrown into a completely new environment, new school year and new experience as a whole. It was a lot to take in and we found the PNMs were not fully absorbing all of the information. Women going through recruitment still had many misconceptions about the recruitment process and what being a member of a sorority meant, even though we thought we had given them all the information we thought we possibly could. When the idea of the Potential New Member Orientation (PNMO) program was presented to us, we knew we had found our solution to this issue.
We believed PNMO would allow us to increase transparency about what the recruitment process entailed and what being part of our community meant before women even decided to officially participate. We customized our PNMO program by creating an introduction video. In this video, we specifically talked about our community, such as how many chapters are on our campus, what we call our recruitment counselors and our community's values. This ensured PNMs were educated about both general and specific information related to the Panhellenic experience.
By having women complete the PNMO modules prior to registration, we were able to answer much more specific questions from PNMs and their parents. Our belief was the modules made it very clear about what the recruitment process entailed and those thoughts were confirmed based on our interactions with PNMs. The women going through recruitment had a basis of knowledge that empowered them to ask better questions and gave them the ability to have more realistic expectations about joining a sorority. In addition, we were able to focus more on logistical information during our live PNM orientation sessions, which allowed for the women to be less overwhelmed during so many new experiences.
We are so glad we implemented Potential New Member Orientation into our recruitment registration process here at Clemson. By providing better recruitment education to PNMs, we empowered them. I highly recommend other colleges and universities take advantage of this program so their PNMs can be empowered, too!
About Potential New Member Orientation (PNMO)
The National Panhellenic Conference (NPC) has partnered with LaunchPoint to offer Potential New Member Orientation (PNMO), a program designed to improve a potential new member’s experience with joining a sorority. This online, self-paced educational tool provides consistent recruitment education and a continuing recruitment resource to potential new members as well as a time-saving opportunity for fraternity/sorority advisors. PNMO covers many topics, including an overview of fraternity and sorority life, terms and definitions, an explanation of Panhellenic recruitment, benefits of membership and the sorority experience and more. For more information, visit the LaunchPoint website or email firstname.lastname@example.org.