More than 1,000 women participate in week-long sorority recruitment

Selah Maya Zighelboim

Recruitment for University Panhellenic Council organizations will end Monday afternoon with Bid Day, when sororities offer memberships to students. The recruitment process, also known as Rush Week, lasts a week and includes a variety of activities for UPC’s 14 sororities to meet 1,200 potential members. 

About 80 percent of the 1,200 women will end up joining a sorority through this process, said Marilyn Russell, director of Sorority and Fraternity Life in the Office of the Dean of Students. In addition, there are another 14 sororities on campus not affiliated with UPC that have a different recruitment process.

According to Russell, there are many reasons why the other 20 percent doesn’t end up in a sorority through this process.

“We’ll have some that start the process and decide it’s really not for them, or they’ll have something come up and realize they don’t have the time,” Russell said. “For any number of reasons, they will make independent choices to withdraw or leave the process. It’s not that 20 percent were told they won’t be getting a bid. It’s that some of them make the decision to withdraw from this process. Truthfully, more often, that’s what’s happening.”

According to the UPC website, recruitment week includes activities such as two days of sorority open houses and multiple meetings with recruitment counselors, with specified attires. Every day is different, but activities can start as early as 8:30 a.m. and can end as late as midnight. In order to participate in this year's recruitment week, women must have filled out an online application by Aug. 6.

The National Panhellenic Council provides guidelines as to what activities UPC should put on for recruitment, said Russell. UT has a longer recruitment process than most other universities because of the large number of women who decide to participate in the UPC recruitment process.

“Most recruitments are either three or four rounds of recruitment events,” NPC Panhellenics Chairman Julie Johnson said in an email. “Depending upon the size of a Panhellenic’s recruitment (number of chapters and number of potential new members), some rounds may be split into two days. It is very common for recruitment on a campus the size of Texas, with the number of Panhellenic chapters, to last a week.”

According to the UPC website, UT uses a four-event system that includes an open house, philanthropy day, skit night and preference night. 

“Meeting 1,200 people is a lot of people to meet,” said Allison Young, UPC president and finance senior. “They have to be very organized on the chapter side in order to take in all of these women, and to meet them, and to have a conversation with them, and to provide food and drink for them. It’s a very difficult process for the chapters because of the number of women that come through.”

According to Young, the activities during recruitment week allow sororities members and potential members get to know each other and figure out who fits in best with what chapter. Young said her own experience going through UPC recruitment was both exciting and nerve-wracking.

“It’s a lot of emotions,” she said. “It forced me to get out of my comfort zone a little bit, which is the most important thing that we learn. Right off the bat, you’re learning how to talk and communicate with people you don’t know. For me, it was an intimidating process, but it was one that I look back on, and I learned a lot from.”