There are many ways to navigate through recruitment but one of the most invaluable is your “sorority recruitment counselor” also known as a Rho Chi, Phi Chi, Rho Gamm, Gamma Chi or SRC.  What is this you ask?  It’s a young woman who is a member of a sorority on the campus you will be going through recruitment at who basically is your tour guide, camp counselor and emotional blanket for the week of recruitment.

A Rho Chi is chosen through an interview process by members of Panhellenic.  She is judged on her ability to herd large groups of 18 years old from house to house without losing any .  Okay I’m kidding but that is ONE of her responsibilities.  She is actually chosen because she is kind, caring and compassionate.  She’s a good listener.  Most importantly she portrays the personality and attitude of someone you can talk to…kind of like a big sister or a mom.

You will first “meet” your Rho Chi at the information session the night/day before recruitment starts.  In my daughter’s case the young woman actually called her about a week before recruitment just to “check in” and make sure she was ready and finally to ask if she had any questions.  I knew this girl was special right from the beginning.  She didn’t prove me wrong.  She was exactly what my daughter needed every moment of recruitment .

Rho Chis are asked to disaffiliate about a month before recruitment begins.  What that means is that she goes through any social media she’s involved in and takes anything off that shows association to her sorority.  She doesn’t wear ANYTHING with her letters on it and finally she makes her Facebook page and any other social media “PRIVATE”.  If she lives with sisters in a house or apartment she moves out.  Many campuses put their Rho Chis up in hotels for the week of recruitment. She will be there each day to lead you from house to house and give you your daily schedule.  She’s also there to help you with your feelings and emotions during recruitment.

And so the burning question then becomes… there any way that this Rho Chi can influence her sorority one way or the other about a PNM in her group?  The answer is technically “NO” but………?????  These young women are supposed to promote “Greek Life” not their own house.  They are to remain impartial.

I have always told my daughters and I will now share with you that they should treat their Rho Chi like she was a member of the house they liked the least.  They should be sensitive in their words and comments around her. In addition I have suggested that they treat her as f she would go running back to her house and share everything she hears (we know this isn’t the case).

Remember Rho Chis talk to each other and even if your Rho Chi  is following protocol perhaps the girl she’s talking with might not be.  If you are whining and complaining about a certain chapter or lamenting that one chapter is”the only” chapter for you  there is a possibility that his could “travel” back to that particular chapter.  In situations where chapters have to make BIG cuts this information can be very useful.  It’s just like the advice I have given about Facebook, Twitter and any other social media.  If your profile pick is of you standing outside of the Zeta house what message does that send every other house on campus?  Yup…this girl wants to go Zeta. so…when cuts come around they are going to say, “let’s cut Suzy PNM because we all know she’s going to go Zeta”.  I was a perfectly innocent pic and maybe you just “loved” the huge white columns but it still send s message.

Back to Rho Chis.

If you bond with your Rho Chi (and many young women do), then you most likely will have a burning desire to “KNOW” what house she belongs to.  This is another reason for disaffiliation.  Panhellenic doesn’t want a relationship that has occurred due to recruitment to sway a PNM’s decision on which house is right for her.  I have always said if you have bonded with your Rho Chi then chances are you have made connections to her house and sisters as well.

This proved true for my youngest.  She bonded immediately with her Rho Chi.  When we would chat on the phone I heard Mia’s name A LOT!  My daughter had a good recruitment but fell victim to the deep cuts that traditionally occur after the second round of parties.  Instead of being invited back to the maximum 7 house she received only 4 invites and was cut by “The house” she loved!!  Mia was wonderful…she listened, hugged and helped my daughter through a very tough morning (I so wish she had been here for me but thank goodness I have fantastic friends).  Her advice, “to take a good look at the houses that had invited my daughter back” was great….and one of them was Mia’s chapter.  Did she want my daughter as “her” sister?  I have to believe the answer is yes.  Did she impact her decision to ultimately really “look” at that house a little more closely…ummmm maybe????

While attending the parties that day my daughter’s eyes were opened to this house (her Rho Chis house) for the first time.  When she called that night  it was all she could talk about!  When she asked me how she had missed how special this house was I told her most likely is was because she had been so focused on the other house that she just hadn’t given this house a chance.

Okay….lesson here…don’t focus on one house….be open minded about ALL of the houses!!!!  It’s REALLY hard but do yourself a favor and try!!!

She went back to this house for Preference along with two others (one being her legacy chapter…my house that I am a member of) and at the end of the day she put that house first on her list.  when I showed up in her room later that night she apologized.  I told her not to..she needed to go where “her” home was.  She then secretly told me that after “sleuthing” she had discovered that Mia was a member of “the house”.  I begged her not to “out” Mia and I would give you all the same advice.  If you do find out either on purpose or by mistake what house your Rho Chi is affiliated with don’t out her.  Help her keep her anonymity.

My daughter called her Rho Chi and asked if she would come to her room. She did, and I was lucky enough to meet the sweet angel that had shepherded my daughter through this stressful week. I immediately saw the connection they had and it was apparent that Mia knew that my daughter knew her house affiliation.  We actually kind of danced around the subject but she let i be know that my daughter would end up in the hose that was the best “fit” for her.  I have to tell you I kind of think that Mia knew that her house would be bidding my daughter.  Did she come out and say it… no and maybe I was just hoping, but by the way she spoke and her hug at the end of our time together along with the reassuring words, “I know you will find your letters where you belong”, I was pretty sure my daughter would be wearing those letters.

Guess what??? Yep..she did receive a bid from her Rho Chi’s house and now they are sisters!!!!  I always wanted to ask Mia if she had said anything to her house that week.  I know that she was not supposed to talk with them but sometimes I wonder.  Mia and my daughter became very close and are still great friends and sisters to this day.  Our families are friends and Mia is actually moving to our city to begin her first job in the fall.  And just all started because our last name began with a certain letter and Mia had that part of the alphabet.

One other little tid bit….my second daughter ended up being a Rho Chi her senior year.  We now have lived through both sides of the process.  I am hoping she will guest blog about her experiences from the inside looking out….should be an interesting read :).