On Jan. 18, buses will drop potential new members, or PNMs, off at each of the nine sorority houses on the Hill for spring sorority recruitment.
Lehigh’s Panhellenic Council has decided to hold the first round of recruitment in chapter houses on the Hill as opposed to various academic buildings around campus. In past years, each chapter was randomly assigned to a different academic building.
“I think it sort of became ‘Who can decorate this academic building better than this other person?’” said Jacy Herman, ’17, Panhel’s vice president of external recruitment. “You can’t control what space you were assigned to, so now it’s easier for recruitment chairs and chapters themselves to go back to the house and not worry about decorating a space that could potentially not be decorated.”
Some academic buildings were easier to decorate than others, taking attention away from the values and sisterhood of each chapter, and placing it on superficial embellishments. Stephanie Behrens, ’17, Panhel’s vice president of internal recruitment, said moving the first round of recruitment back into the chapter houses also eliminates the need for chapters to lug decorations, food and supplies to the academic buildings.
Behrens said transportation costs will be covered through the cost of registration for formal recruitment.
In addition to moving the first round of recruitment back onto the Hill, Panhel has also changed the number of houses PNMs will visit during each round.
“The maximum number of (houses) you can get invited back to is nine the first round, seven the second, five the third, and two the fourth, which is different from years past where it’s been nine, six, four, two,” Herman said.
Panhel created this change in hopes that visiting more houses each round will benefit the PNMs, giving them more chances to meet members in each chapter. It hopes it will also benefit chapter members by giving them more chances to meet PNMs.
There will no longer be a skit round in recruitment due to the elimination of skits by the National Panhellenic Council. Instead, chapters have been given suggestions to create videos, sing songs, recite poems, give house tours or give member testimonials.
“It’s really just trying to get away from the frills and really superficial things about recruitment,” Herman said.
Panhel’s recruitment team, which includes Behrens, Herman, Margaret Burnett, ’17, and Brigette Gardner, the assistant director of the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Affairs, developed a sisterhood statement.
“We got input from all of the Panhel delegates, presidents and Panhel recruitment chairs on what we wanted the sisterhood round to look like,” Behrens said. “All of the chapters have the choice to showcase their sisterhood in any way they want.”
Hayley Poll, ’18, the president of Alpha Phi, said her chapter was initially frustrated over the elimination of the skit.
“We thought it was something really fun, and it got rid of a little bit of talking for the PNMs for at least part of the round,” Poll said.
Poll said her chapter is disappointed it won’t have the fun bonding experience of practicing its skit during recruitment.
Although skits are eliminated, she hopes creating a video will show the PNMs how the sisters interact within the chapter and will be just as effective as a skit.
Behrens said Panhel is excited for the new changes to be implemented in January during formal recruitment.
Behrens said Panhel has gotten positive feedback from all of the nine chapters.
“I think the (PNMs) are going to be able to find a chapter that is a better fit for them,” Behrens said.
She said this will maximize the options for PNMs and maximize what they learn about the chapter during the formal recruitment process. The Panhel executive board hopes this will improve the recruitment process.
“I know all of these changes couldn’t make it worse,” Poll said. “I know they’re trying to make it more values-based, so hopefully all of these changes and less frills, not having the skit and being able to go back to more houses will hopefully make the (PNMs’) experiences better.”