Another great mom was kind enough to share her recruitment story with me.  Elizabeth reached out for help last Spring. her daughter Brantley was planning on attending The University of Washington and wanted to go through recruitment.  This lovely family is from a suburb of Atlanta and was used to the intense SEC recruitments but had no idea what a West Coast non SEC recruitment would be like.  I hope you enjoy their story :). (Sorry for the delay it came in parts…wanted to post the whole thing at one time).

When my daughter told us that she was planning on applying to The University of Washington I thought her Daddy was going to fall out of his chair!  Brantley is our baby girl and all of our other children had attended/are attending schools near home.  Her brother graduated from The University of Alabama last Spring.  He was a member of Beta Theta Pi Fraternity, which happens to be the same fraternity as his Daddy and his Great-Grand Daddy, and at the same school!  Her sister attends The University of Georgia and is a Zeta.  We just never thought that Brantley would consider going so far away. We are a close-knit family and love to go to all the football games and tailgate so yes, we were shocked when she came up with this scheme.

I will share with y’all that Brantley is our outdoors child.  While her sister was doing Barbie’s hair, Brantley was burning up ants with a spyglass!  She always had skinned knees and was a hot sweaty mess most of the time!  Brantley has always loved the sea and so it made sense she would want to major in Marine Biology and well as she said where else to go the The University of Washington.  So..before I knew it she had applied, been accepted and was buying rain boots, rain gear, umbrellas to match it all and of course was so excited for sorority recruitment.

Now we knew nothing about recruitment at a non-SEC school so I had to do some research and talk to some folks.  The biggest question for us was did Brantley need recommendations to each house on campus and if so how many.  After a very stressful phone call to the UW Panhellenic I finally decided that we would get recommendations for Brantley.  What I could tell from talking to the very nice girl in the Panhellenic Office was that although not required that being from out-of-state, recommendations would help introduce Brantley to the sororities on campus.

Brantley had asked that we not share she was a Zeta legacy.  I felt like she should put it on her recruitment registration form.  It couldn’t hurt and I was very nervous about Brantley going through recruitment in such a foreign environment than what we were used to.  I worried that he “southern” upbringing and ways would make her stand out and not in a good way.  After going round and round (let’s just say that Brantley is a little strong-willed), I called the Panhellenic Office again. Different girl this time but just a sweet and she was kind enough to tell us that if Brantley put her Zeta legacy status on her recruitment registration that it would be shared with the Zeta house and not the other 16 sororities.  I am not sure that other campuses do this but I was pleased that this was in practice at UW.

I am so sympathetic to those of you who have to search for recommendations. We were very blessed that between the ladies in my Junior League, Brantley’s friends parents, friend from church, neighbors and acquaintances we easily secured one and in some cases 2 recommendations for each sorority. We really agonized whether to do the traditional SEC recruitment packet or to “West coast” it.  In the end and after chatting with the women who were going to write Brantley’s recs I decided that we would make the rec packets our way since southern ladies were going to write them.  Now I know that y’all are thinking I am over analyzing everything but I wanted Brantley to be happy and well-adjusted and to love sorority life-like her sister and so as her momma I wasn’t going to leave any rock unturned.

So many different things to absorb.  School didn’t start at UW, oh we were calling it The University of Washington but Brantley informed us that just as we called The University of Alabama…Bama, that we should call The University of Washington..UW.  Another thing is that school doesn’t start until almost the end of September and recruitment wasn’t until September 8th.

We received good new though…they had a Greek Preview Day.  Bad news…it was at the beginning of May and was actually the Saturday of Brantley’s Senior Prom…oh and it gets better..she was up for Prom Queen.  Remember I told y’all that Brantley was our strong-willed child? So it won’t surprise you to find out that she choose Greek Preview over Prom (I still don’t think the dear boy whom she had dated for 2 years will ever get over it…poor boy).

We flew into Sea-Tac airport for the second time (we had visited her junior year). It was a beautiful May day…you could see the mountains and the water. The UW campus was in full bloom with Rhododendrons and Azaleas. The Greek part of campus hosts beautiful houses.  The event was well staffed and the girls were welcoming and warm.  Brantley got a t-shirt…oversized of course 🙂 (some things you just can’t change) and began to socialize the minute we entered the room for orientation.  Brantley is very outgoing and friendly.  The girls she met were mesmerized with her southern drawl.  Brantley was given a schedule and put with her group.  WE agreed to meet at 7 pm.  I went to a very informational parent meeting where there was a panel of young Greek women who were patient with all the “momma questions”.  I am not nearly as a social as Brantley but I made friends with a lovely woman who was a local.  She was so kind and by the end of our time together (ended up having a bite of supper together) I had all of her contact information and her promise that if Brantley needed anything she would treat her and help her as if she were her own.

When I met back up with Brantley she talked non-stop all the way to the hotel and late into the night.  There were a lot of “oh mommas” as she gushed about her new friends an each sorority.  She loved them all…all except Zetas. She said she just didn’t like the girls at all and she said she felt like they were staring at her. I told I was pretty sure they didn’t know who she was but she was adamant that she wanted nothing to do with them and that she didn’t want to put her legacy status on her recruitment registration form(we hadn’t registered yet).  I suggested she think about it and we revisit this later…(I secretly hoped that once we got home and her sister came home for the summer we could talk some sense into her.)

Summer went very quickly. I confirmed that Brantley’s rec had been sent.  It is very interesting that pledges live in the sorority house…something we are not used to. Brantley had to register for housing incase she decided not to pledge but we were informed that it was only temporary.  It was also suggested that Brantley bring only what she needed for recruitment.  Well that wasn’t just going to work and so after a lot of deliberation and phone calls to my new friend in Seattle it was decided that I would drive to Seattle with Brantley,all her stuff and would stay with Susie (new friend!) while the girls were going through recruitment.

And so….after spending the summer shopping for clothes…she needed some dresses but all in all it seemed a little more casual than what we were used to.  For the Open House Rounds the girls were told to wear jeans, capris, or jean shorts (Jorts..really??) and well Brantley packed a pair of jorts as well as two pairs of very cute J Crew shorts.  For House Tour days she had a cute casual J Crew skirt and a causal dress.  We were told to pack rain boots and umbrella. Brantley left anything Lilly and flowered at home. She brought a couple of great cocktail dresses for Preference and several other dresses for Philanthropy ….she had accessories and great shoes….she had the cutest dress that had aqua blue trim and we got these great Tory Burch shoes to match!

Ah..I we arrived..moved Brantley into her “temporary ” home….Imoved into my home for the week and the next day it all began. In two days Brantley visited all17 houses.  As I said before she basically loved them all except Zeta.  So it’s no surprise that she put them last when listing her houses.  The next round of parties she could go back to 13 houses and she was invited back to all of her favorites sans 1 and in its place was Zeta’s.  Brantley called and announced she would not attend that party. I asked if she had discussed it with er recruitment counselor and she said yes…and she told her to go but being the strong-willed young woman she is Brantley didn’t attend the party. She realized that if she was dropped by all of the other houses and because she did not list all of the houses she was invited back to that there was a possibility she might not receive a bid.  She said she didn’t care…she trusted the process and that if it was meant to work out that it would.

Well..let me tell you I was a nervous nelly the whole week.  Brantley visited her 12 houses..listed her top 8 and we held our breaths..what would the next morning hold…would we get the dreaded phone call??

Brantley’s party card had 8 houses!!!  We were ecstatic!! She loved all 8 and was so excited to see their philanthropy days held.  She looked so sweet that day…she had a great grey lace dress and these terrific Kate Spade shoes.  I of course know this because she sent me a great pic from her camera. I had promised Brantley’s daddy that just because I was in Seattle I would not infringe on her recruitment and I am proud to say that I didn’t although I have got to share it was NOT easy!!

I bet y’all are wondering how Brantley’s sister took the fact that she had nothing to do with Zetas.  Well at first things were a little tense….especially during the summer.  When Brantley refused to go to the party Kathleen about imploded.  She called and tried to reason with Brantley but there was no changing her mind. She threatened to call the recruitment chair..she begged for Brantley to reconsider. At the end of the day she came around as sisters who love each other do.  She told Brantley that she loved her and that she supported her in her decision and ..wait for it…that if Brantley wasn’t going to go Zeta that Kathleen had done some checking and she thought that Tri-Delts would be a good fit…LOL!!!  It’s interesting that Tri-Delts were Brantley’s favorite house but she didn’t breathe a word of this to her sister or to me until the whole process was over.

Preference brought another day of stress.  Brantley was invited to 3 parties.  All three houses were ones she liked but as you guessed she was preferential to Tri-delts.  She again tried to not go to the two other parties (I thankfully didn’t know this until after Pref day) but her recruitment counselor convinced her to go.  Ahhh but that didn’t stop her from only writing down Tri-delts….yes she suicided.  When she told that evening she had done this I had to refrain from telling her a thing or two.  I hugged my sweet daughter and prayed this would all turn out well.

Bid Day….one word…nerve wracking….I could hardly drink my Starbucks coffee…and then the text came…..TRi-delt!!! Wooo Hooo!!!  My prayers were answered.  I called everyone to share the good news.

At the UW the week after recruitment is reserved for move in to the sorority.   It’s called “Dawg Days and there are lots of different activities and parties all week. Brantley’s sister all helped her move into the Tri-delt house  They are lovely girls and I am pleased…despite the drama Brantley found her letters and home her way.

Ok so a totally different story and when this dear mom contacted me right in the middle of the drama..well it was a very stressful week.  Hope you enjoyed Brantleys recruitment story.