by Allison Trout
Being an upperclassman in a sorority, I have had the ability of seeing and experiencing Millsaps’ recruitment from three different perspectives. I have experienced it as a freshman, an active member, and a recruitment counselor. Not that I consider myself an expert, but I have witnessed how much effort, time and even tears (emotions run high) that are poured into recruiting girls into Greek life by the four amazing chapters and the disaffiliated recruitment counselors. Over the years, we have seen spikes in the number of girls who choose to go through recruitment, and the blame has been put on everyone from the sororities themselves to the recruitment counselors. However, I want to offer some other explanations for the low number of girls that went through this school year.
One explanation is the media. We cannot throw the media under the bus for everything, but when publicity is bad it affects people (consciously or subconsciously.) In recent years Greek life has not been received well. Unfortunately, some of the reports are due to our own mistakes, and while the consequences may seem unfair at times we as Greek participants must acknowledge that we are our own public relations. We wear our letters, throw signs in photos that make their way around every social media outlet, and every item we own is covered in letters and symbols endorsing our sorority. Maybe what we do not realize is that association between our actions and our letters is sometimes harmful to the promotion of Greek life.
Another reason we may have seen low numbers is the fact that Greek life is not the only thing vying for these girls’ attention. Here at Millsaps we have clubs, groups, and organizations that offer other valuable experiences. I am sure some girls did not believe they could handle one more addition to their schedule, and that is perfectly fine. However, I do want to offer this to the freshmen: Whether you are apart of a sorority or not, I know that Greek women will always be there to offer help and support whenever you may need it.
One last thing that should be addressed: it has been said by many that girls we not aware of recruitment and felt that information was lacking. This was shocking to me as a recruitment counselor; how did all the information and effort never reach these girls? However, if these girls said they did not know then we must take that at face value. Therefore I offer not an explanation, but a plan of action. If the information was not transmitted, then we must find new ways to ways to connect and perfect what did not work this year. Though, I believe it is too easy to simply chalk it up to a lack of effort made by the sororities, because the fact is, it is untrue. The same system has been in place for years, and it has obviously worked given the fact that in 2014 we had double the number of freshmen go through recruitment last year.
At Millsaps, we pride ourselves on the sense of community that exists at our small liberal arts school, and it is hard to imagine that information about recruitment never reached the freshmen. Unfortunately, it has been said.
So, I offer this as my last remark: be aware of how you present yourself; you are always wearing your letters. Greek life is not for everyone and this class of freshmen may have just not have had the interest. Greek life is not the only way to join the community at Millsaps, and those who chose to opt out will be just fine.