A few hundred Lehigh women will prepare to go through Panhellenic sorority recruitment this January. At a school where over, according to Admissions, over 40 percent of the population is Greek, recruitment becomes a time for potential new members to explore Greek houses with the hopes of finding a chapter that’s right for them.
Rho Gammas, or recruitment counselors, are useful assets for these potential members. These women are typically upperclassmen who decide to disaffiliate from their chapters for a semester to be an unbiased support system for girls going through the recruitment process.
Clara Howley, ‘16, said she decided to be a Rho Gamma because she enjoys talking to and helping people. In addition, she said the process of recruitment seemed overwhelming to her when she was a first year. She wasn’t too keen on the idea of joining a Greek chapter, and she hopes to help girls who feel the same way.
In the past, Rho Gammas were assigned to freshmen and upperclassmen residence halls before Panhellenic open houses. However, this year, Rho Gammas won’t be assigned until after open houses, a change prompted by the Panhellenic Council.
“I believe it was to better prepare the Rho Gammas for their conversations and interactions with potential new members,” said Panhellenic Council President Ellen Weich, ’16. “In order for them to do their job properly, and for them to feel most comfortable, we recognized the need for them to spend more time in training first before getting thrust into sometimes tricky situations.”
Rho Gammas are trained to deal with not only general recruitment questions that girls going through the process may have, but also the emotions and stress girls may experience before and during recruitment. Rho Gammas are there to counsel them through any situation that might arise, like being cut from a house.
Ronasia Scott, ’18, said her Rho Gammas informed her if something happened that may make her upset. She said she liked how they would inform her the night before so she wouldn’t find out in the morning and become uncomfortable about the process not going as planned.
Girls going through recruitment benefit from having a Rho Gamma because they they are able to open up to someone who went through exactly what they did and can provide insight from personal experiences.
”It gives them a contact of someone who’s in a sorority without feeling like they’re being pressured by that girl to join the sorority,” said Courtney Bell, ’16, vice president of membership for Pi Beta Phi.
Rho Gammas disaffiliate from their chapters to make potential members more comfortable. Scott said she believes this is important so potential members don’t feel persuaded to join the chapter their Rho Gamma is in just because they enjoy talking to and have a connection with her.
While potential members may feel pressured early on to make meaningful impressions on sorority members they meet, having a disaffiliated sorority member who they can talk to lessens that pressure.
Scott said from the side of the Rho Gammas, they are given the opportunity to focus on potential members having a smooth recruitment process.
With recent changes in the training of Rho Gammas, the Panhellenic Council hopes for success. Howley explained she wanted to be of service to girls going through the process despite the fact she had a different experience going through recruitment as a first year.
“To be honest, I was really intimidated by my Rho Gammas, and they were not helpful in my recruitment process,” Howley said. “I want to do the exact opposite of that and be an approachable person they know they can go to. I know all of the Rho Gammas this year feel the same way and will do their best to make recruitment as easy as possible for every girl.”