Greek recruitment does not need to be stressful
Most of the time, when The Tartan reports on matters involving Greek life at Carnegie Mellon, it is to cover controversial or monumental events on campus. Whether it’s the spray painting of chickens by pledges, a look into the successes of a Panhellenic charity event, or simply the results of the annual Greek Sing event, unbiased objectivity is key in the creation of these articles. There are, however, certain article topics which the paper often avoids, and sorority and fraternity recruitment has more or less always been considered one of these topics.
From a critical point of view, there is much to be said about Greek recruitment. Most students involved in Greek life would argue that the experience is a positive one, but it’s hard to tell the difference between honesty and partiality. There is, notably, a large population of students that openly combats the Greek recruitment process and is not afraid to voice its opinions. While it has been said that many new students find the undying positive energy of those donning “Go Greek!” T-shirts to be a tad insincere, how are those who see Greek life in a positive light supposed to make a candid argument for themselves? The greater problem boils down to finding an honest and unaffiliated review of the Greek recruitment process.
As a first-year looking into Greek life during the first couple of weeks of the school year, I found myself in this exact position. While the easiest solution may have been to seek the advice of upperclassmen who had been through Formal Membership Recruitment (FMR) or rush week and were unaffiliated with the recruitment process, I hadn’t exactly made any upperclass best friends, let alone met any individuals with such specific experiences. The other women around me also considering Greek Life were just as clueless as I was. I found that because the Greek recruitment process happened so early in the school year, my opinion of all matters Greek was largely determined by the few guiding voices around me. To make things even more complicated, those peers — mainly my resident assistant and Orientation counselors — had been directed to keep their affiliations and opinions a secret. Overall, when it came to considering going Greek, I felt largely alone in the process.
It is necessary to state that this is not a fault of our Greek community, but more or less a fault of the system itself. If we are completely honest with ourselves, it’s impossible to imagine a system where this is avoidable.
There are two paths for individuals who find themselves in similar positions that I would like to suggest. Firstly, you can just jump right into it. While it’s true that you run the risk of hating and regretting the experience with every fiber in your body, you lose little except for a small application fee. Sure, there is a chance that you might become Greek and then decide later in your career here at Carnegie Mellon that it wasn’t the right decision, but this is fairly common and easy to fix. The other solution, which I found to be the best option, is simply to wait. Your first year is not your only chance to go Greek. Fraternities recruit at the beginning of every semester and sororities recruit at the beginning of every school year. If you are unsure whether or not to go Greek, simply waiting to get a better feel for what Greek organizations on campus are really like may be the best solution.
I am not Greek, and this article is certainly not an attempt to recruit the Tartan readership into Greek organizations. I am merely a person whose opinions of Greek life on campus were changed. When I arrived on campus as a first-year, my understanding of Greek organizations was based largely on my sister’s experiences in her sorority at the University of New Hampshire. Honestly, after hearing the stories of her recruitment process and four-year experience, I wasn’t sure that going Greek was anything close to what I wanted from my college experience. However, it’s true what they say — Greek life at Carnegie Mellon truly is a different experience.
I am so glad that I took the time to think through my decision and get a clearer opinion of what it means to be Greek. Greeks are leaders on campus and in philanthropy, and I found through my experience as a first-year that going Greek might just be the thing for me. Now in the first semester of my sophomore year, I have chosen to register for Greek recruitment. While it is true that you may join a fraternity or sorority as a first-year and know right off the bat that Greek life is for you, that is not the right choice for everyone. It’s important throughout the Greek recruitment process to know that you’re not alone, and if you do choose to take the time to get better acquainted with Greek life, you may find that your decision is that much more assured.