There’s obviously no way to appease every type of person when it comes to a national organization. However, it seems like the only type of person to which sororities market themselves is… me: upper-middle class and white. We have all seen the glittering recruitment videos full of beautiful, giggling women, all smiling and hugging each other as if it is the best day of their lives.
After watching the recruitment videos shared onto the Southern Miss College Panhellenic Council Facebook Page, I was left with one lingering thought, “all of these girls look the same.”
I certainly do not think this is done purposefully, nor am I under the impression that there is zero diversity in each chapter. I am aware that there are women of color, members who have different body types and people who come from radically different backgrounds. As a whole though, I do not believe the minority is who the sororities aim to recruit.
I should preface this by saying I do not have any sort of personal vendetta against sororities or sorority recruitment. I have never, and will never participate in the recruitment process, but not because I think sororities are “bad”. On the contrary, I believe sororities have the capability to create a rich environment of diverse, successful women- as long as every woman is given a fair chance.
Sororities offer a strong group of women who pride themselves on uplifting each other, the opportunity to help one’s own community via philanthropy and lifelong advantages of networking. I often hear stories from women who believe their decision to pledge a sorority was the best decision of their lives. I wholeheartedly believe these women, but it makes me think about the fact that, prior to recruitment, some potential new members (PNMs) are already at a disadvantage due to their appearance or financial situations.
Each sorority has different values it claims to uphold. Most of them say they support individuality, but it seems like each year, every PNM is forced into this group-think mentality of dressing the same, acting the same and thinking the same. I know this is not the case for every member of every sorority at USM, but I think in order to get rid of the stereotype of “skinny white sorority girl”, the sororities should aim to get rid of the videos full of bubbles and glitter and focus on sharing their ideologies and diversity.
Luckily, recruitment has positively changed in recent years. According to two anonymous USM students who were previously involved in Greek life, the recruitment process has taken on a more “no frills” approach. Instead of doing “skit days” where the members are essentially bombarding the PNMs with the glitz and glam of each sorority, they are doing “sisterhood day”, which, according to the Southern Miss CPC website, allows the PNMs to learn about the friendships and personalities in each chapter. Even some of the recruitment videos include members talking about what makes their sorority unique and inclusive.
The recruitment system is not inherently a bad one, but in my opinion, it simply needs to be updated. More emphasis on the values of each chapter, along with testimonies from members with diverse backgrounds would likely make it easier for PNMs to truly feel welcome.