September 28, 2017

Recruitment. Whether it appears in August or January, formal recruitment is one of the most highly anticipated times for many Greek campus leaders. As a former Vice President of Recruitment for my own chapter, I remember meticulously planning every detail. From each round to when my next coffee run was, every task was written down and carefully placed on my clipboard. During a time where every minute was planned out, it was easy to get lost in the chaos.

However, this recruitment was different than years prior. In the months leading up to the long weekend in January, our Panhellenic community challenged us to remember what qualities encompass a values-based recruitment. First, what does that even look like? Were our Panhellenic women prepared to discuss their organizations’ values or even their own values? Have our potential new members reflected on their values?

It would seem like talking about our values would be easy. After all, those values are the things that help shape our character. Our values guide our actions every day – they tell us to study for the upcoming midterm or call our mom on her birthday, but are those values easy to talk about? As it turns out, they’re not. As I began to prepare my own chapter for formal recruitment, I realized there needed to be some reflection of our own organization’s values and how a values-based recruitment can lead to a successful recruitment and more committed members.

When a community as a whole commits to having a values-based formal recruitment, organizations will get members that are aligned with their organization’s values and new members will run home to an organization that will truly feel like home. Having these values-based expectations of our new members tells our community that we hold all of our sisters accountable to those expectations. New members who meet those expectations will become committed members will attend chapter events, become supportive Big and Little sisters, or even grow to be the leaders of your chapter.

After realizing all this, I knew that our chapter would have to adapt to successfully have a values-based recruitment. I began with an honest conversation with my own sisters about their personal values and our organization’s values. We shared a lot of the same answers – love, integrity, and authenticity. I realized that our recruitment needed to work in such a way that reflected those characteristics. If we failed to do this, then we would be contradicting those same things we say we hold dear.

I encouraged our sisters to engage in conversations that related to those values. While it’s always easier to talk about majors and hometowns, those superficial discussions will leave you with no real understanding of who that potential new member is. It is much harder to ask a potential new member where their passions lie, but they will reveal so much more of themselves when you do. These disclosures will reveal their character, whether that fits within your own organizational values or not.

This change didn’t come about easily. It was not achieved in a single Saturday morning workshop but over the course of a semester. As someone who struggles with confronting conflict, it reminded me to remain committed to my cause, despite any tension over the change. After all, progress is impossible without change.

About Emily Olyha:
Emily is a senior studying business marketing at Christopher Newport University in Newport News, Virginia. She currently serves as Panhellenic President for her council but has also worked as Vice President of Recruitment for her chapter. She looks forward to working with the Coalition for Collegiate Women’s Leadership to empower Panhellenic women from all over the country.