This January, more than 700 women went through recruitment this year, marking an 11 percent increase in comparison to about 630 who registered last year, which was the first year of spring sorority recruitment.
Dean of Students Jerry Price told The Panther in 2015 that spring recruitment was introduced to help moderate the growth of sororities and encourage freshmen to get involved in other campus activities before rushing.
“I always felt that deferred recruitment was better than early fall (because students were better) acclimated to the campus,” Price told The Panther in a Feb. 2 interview.
The number of new members could have been a result of the large number of students in this year’s freshman class, he said.
This year, Chapman’s freshman class size increased by about 11 percent after the university exceeded its enrollment goal. About 1,700 students enrolled this year, compared to about 1,500 in 2016.
Price said that administrators hoped moving recruitment to spring would help students find friends through other activities – like clubs and classes – before joining a sorority.
“(The administrators) thought that moving to spring would help women find some other way of engagement on campus and might help keep the numbers down,” he said. “September was too rushed (and the) chapters were growing so fast (that I) was concerned that it might affect the quality of sisterhood.”
Although deferred recruitment was initially supposed to decrease – or at least stabilize – the number of potential new members, it may have led to even more people trying to join.
Freshman political science major Madison Mercer decided to register a week before rush kicked off.
“(The large number of girls) made it better,” Mercer said. “I was able to make so many friends just when we would stand in line waiting to go talk to the sororities. Every single girl was so helpful with mints, perfume or safety pins. (Everyone) was trying to help every other girl out.”
Haley Knapp, a freshman business administration major, said that the large number of girls made recruitment “exciting” – although it complicated some aspects of the process.
“It did become difficult when you only had a short amount of time to get to your next house and you have to plow your way through a huge congregation of girls,” she said.
As the number of girls in recruitment reached record heights, more Rho Gamma groups had to be added to accommodate them all. Rho Gamma leaders are sorority members who cannot reveal their sorority affiliations as they lead groups of girls through the recruitment process.
Senior strategic and corporate communication major Lauren McClendon, a Rho Gamma from Alpha Phi, said that a few potential new members (PNMs) asked her about the large number of women going through recruitment. About 520 women accepted bids this year, meaning that about 180 either didn’t receive bids or didn’t accept the bids they received.
“I would reassure them that it was not a competition among PNMs and that there was room for everyone who was rushing,” McClendon said.
by Alya Hijazi and Janice Kim
*Originally published in the Panther on 2/4/18*