Yesterday I spent over an hour on the phone talking a very frantic mom off the proverbial “ledge”!  I’m not sure what sparked her moments of sheer terror and insanity…but by the time she called me on the phone she was in serious need of a stress ball, a glass of wine and a hot bath.

The phone call started off with ramblings about recruitment and she doesn’t have recs for all of the houses on the campus her daughter is going to go to and she had gotten on Pinterest to see if some one had a board of possible recruitment clothes and there wasn’t one and… you get the idea. She kept going on and on about what if no one liked her daughter?  What is she got cut by every house?  She ramble on about how the sororities had all the control and she felt like she none and she didn’t like that position.  Every time I think about the hysteria in her voice my head spins!!!

I advised her to take a few deep breaths, settle down and listen….just sit quietly and listen. So here goes my “Talking you off the ledge” speech….are you ready?  I am a little worried that some of you guys might need this speech too!

Here’s the big secret…You have way more power than you think when it comes to recruitment.  Seriously….you really do!!! You want to know how?  Well I’m going to tell you!  See here’s the deal.  Each year the local Panhellenics at universities and colleges across the US tell each house on campus how many girls they can take during recruitment.  It’s called “quota”.  The only campus that I am aware of that doesn’t use this exact method is Indiana..they simply bid according to how many beds are available in each house (don’t get me started on this because it is terrible and recruitment is awful there). Sororities WANT to make quota.  No they NEED/HAVE TO make quota.  Remember a sorority is a business.  They have rent to pay.  The rent is EXPENSIVE!!!  On top of that most sororities that have houses also have a House Mom to pay.  They also need to pay for social activities, up keep of the house, things like electricity, water, cable, furniture.  Then there’s the cooks and the housekeepers and security and the groundskeepers. This all adds up to lots of moolah!!!! How do they get that $$$$$…well they have to fill up their house with girls who pay parlor fees and dues.  The more girls the more $$$$ to pay the bills with.  The more girls the less that each has to pay.

So lets say that Panhellenic says that during this particular hypothetical recruitment house XYZ can bid 72 girls.  That’s their quota.  Panhellenic likes to reward houses that make quota but letting them have a few extra girls (usually 3 to 7 or so).  Remember that each house is going to graduate seniors and ultimately some of the girls they pledge won’t get initiated  (I know you are saying “REALLY” yep it happens a lot) so they need a few “extras” just to cover themselves.  The house needs to be basically “full” to take care of its financial obligations.  So how does a house stay full you ask?  Well…..they have to have a good recruitment!

A good recruitment means making quota….making quota means making sure that the girls who walk through that sororities’ door WANT to return the next day!  LADIES….think about this…….they want YOU just as bad as you want THEM.  Now…who has the power.  I know that right now you all are just panicking on what you are going to wear, conversations you are going to have and impressions you are going to make.  The girls who you meet in  their various sororities are also having the exact same anxiety.  They are worried you won’t like them..  Worse yet they are worried you are going to walk out THEIR door and tell other PNM’s you don’t like them.  It’s a well know fact that one bad pledge class can be a killer for a sorority.  REALLY….I am telling you the truth!!!!

There is a particular sorority on the campus where our youngest attends college.  About 4 years ago they had a poor recruitment and ended up with a not so great pledge class.  They have now become the “house” no one wants.  When my daughter went to preview weekend she wouldn’t look at their table. When I asked her why she said “oh mom..that’s *** if that’s the only bid I gt then I will drop out”.  We had a serious talk about that comment but I couldn’t sway her opinion.  It’s interesting because she now sees what happened to that house and she says..”oh *** isn’t bad..they just got a bad pledge class a few years ago.  I feel bad for them because the girls that they have who are sophomores and freshmen are really nice”.  See she gets it.

I want you to realize that when you walk out the doors of the sororities on your campus ,there are going to be members of those houses who are going to gush..yes I said gush over YOU.  They will tell their sisters about the great conversation you had and when the list comes in the morning that says who’s coming back that day …that particular sorority girl will scour it for your name.  You will be the girl who she will want to “pref”, the girl she will want for her “bid day buddy”, the girl she fights to get as her “little sis”. WE call this a “RUSH CRUSH”….and yes YOU will be one.

So when you get panicky and your stomach hurts and every outfit yo try on looks wrong..remember what you read here.   Remember that the power is yours….