This past week, many students on campus could be seen frantically running around near the sorority and fraternity houses, some congregating in groups and chanting songs. These students participated in recruitment week, a rigorous process that determines who is given a bid to one of Colgate’s Greek letter organizations.
According to Colgate’s statistics, 30 percent of students are part of Greek life, with 40 percent of all qualified students getting involved. Students are not permitted to go through the recruitment process until their sophomore year at Colgate, setting Greek life here apart from the system at many other schools.
For most of the week, the potential new members (PNMs) have activities specific to each Greek letter organization. These activities can include interviews with the current members of the house and nighttime activities.
It is not just the PNMs who have a busy week – the students who are already members of each chapter have the responsibility of deciding whom they will admit into their house. Not everyone is able to be a part of Greek life. The number of people that are admitted into a sorority or fraternity varies, but new members tend to number between 15 and 30 for fraternities.
“A recruitment chair will read a name and then the brotherhood discusses the PNM: pros, cons, things that came up in a conversation with him, clubs and organizations the student is affiliated with, etc. When all points have been made, the brotherhood votes to give a preference, dinner invitation or bid (depending on where in the rush week process we are in),” President of Phi Delta Theta fraternity senior Micky Silverman said when asked about the recruitment process.
As President, Silverman has many jobs, from overseeing the recruitment process, philanthropy and social committees, to making sure that his fraternity is up to the University’s expectations. It is not easy to decide who gets in to each house and the decision-making process can be lengthy.
“We let people into our fraternity who we would be proud to call them our brothers,” Silverman said. “When I see them walking around campus, leading an organization, participating in class discussion, I want to smile and say that I am happy to be in the same fraternity that he is; I enjoy being around him; he makes me a better person.”
Silverman said that Greek life has played a major role in his life at Colgate and has made him feel like he belongs. Getting involved with Greek life at Colgate gives many students a deeper sense of community, which is why so many sophomores go through the recruitment process. Although there is a stigma that often surrounds Greek life in general, Silverman said that people often overlook the positive, philanthropic aspects of the organizations, believing instead the stereotypes the media portays as representative of Greek life.
“People remember the negatives; no one remembers the positives,” Silverman said. “In my opinion, it’s time for those who believe the stigma to separate individual incidents from the Greek population as a whole.”
One of Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority’s recruitment chairs, junior Amanda Ricca, commented on the overall outcome of this year’s recruitment.
“Recruitment was a big success this year,” Ricca said. “We are very excited about all of our new members and can’t wait to continue to get to know them.”
Sophomore Sofia Estay commented on the ups and downs of recruitment week.
“There was definitely some fear of the unknown going into the week, but once it got started, it was so fun just being yourself and getting to know the women in each house,” Estay said.
Contact Holly Mascolo at [email protected]